BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley

The Cause

The Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce (BVCC), located in Canmore, AB, is a non-profit, membership driven association that advocates on behalf of the business community in which it serves. BVCC programs and events are guided by the needs of the people they serve and helps connect and grow the business community through networking events, educational seminars, and member only programs and offerings.

Through the BVCC’s Coffee Connector morning events and via a poll conducted through the Chambers various social media platforms, local women entrepreneurs expressed great need and interest in establishing a networking resource led by women, for women and all who self-identify as a woman. From this need grew the idea of the BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley, an all-inclusive women-only gender equality event to support diverse women entrepreneurs of the Bow Valley.

The intent of the BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley is a pilot project, the first of an ongoing series offered 3 times each year, exclusive to women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur of the Bow Valley. The event will build and grow an inclusive community for women from diverse backgrounds to provide opportunities to have their voices heard, empower one another through learning and mentorship, and to network with their peers to build lasting connections. The two-part program will consist of 1) a speakers panel of business contemporaries from diverse sectors and moderator leading discussions on business topics important to participants - the learnings of which they can grow their businesses for business success, followed by 2) an informal social gathering for participants to connect and socialize with one another.
The evening event will be held at artsPlace in Canmore, AB, a community gathering space that celebrates uniqueness, diversity, equity and inclusion, on Friday, March 8, 2024, in honour of International Women’s Day, a global event that recognizes the achievements of women, raises awareness of ongoing challenges, and encourages all people to participate in a more inclusive society

BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley will provide an inclusive, safe community for women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur, to connect with their peers and build a support network that provides mentorship, and new insights and knowledge to grow and succeed in their prospective businesses.

Who Will it Benefit?

The BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley event was born out of a recognized gap of gender-equality opportunities for women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur of the Bow Valley, and is intended to build community connections for new and existing women-led business chamber members. Women-led businesses of the BVCC make up approximately 40% of total BVCC members – a significant number. The idea will benefit the 50 participants with the opportunity to connect with their peers, to establish collaborative networks, and to grow their business, with those who will benefit from this one event, extending far beyond the participants only.

Women business leaders will share their new learnings with their staff, who will gain a new sense of purpose, insight and knowledge to help grow the business and better support their clientele; organizations who support the business, such as product suppliers, and marketing teams, will tailor their services to better meet the needs of the business and thus enable these partner companies to grow and prosper as well. Businesses that thrive help to create strong communities and long-term sustainability between sectors. The long-term benefits for participants, business sectors, and the economic growth within a unique mountain community extends far beyond the geographic borders of the Bow Valley, across local, national and international communities. BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley will strengthen individual businesses to grow and prosper within the broader economic tourism region of the Bow Valley, to better support a diverse local, national, and international client base. Through the advocacy of the BVCC to support the unique needs of women entrepreneurs, the BVCC will attract more women and those who self-identify as a woman to establish new businesses in the Bow Valley.

BVCC Women in Business: Voices of the Valley event is intended to be the first of many women-only events to support women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur. It is the intent of BVCC to offer the Women in Business series 3 times each year, with the format of each event reflective of the feedback received by participants of the pilot project. Their feedback will drive the strategy and process to ensure success of future events.

Attached photographs courtesy of Alexis McKeown, a Canadian photographer residing in Canmore, Alberta. Alexis is a member of the BVCC and was voted Canmore’s Best Photographer in 2022.