Business Sisters-Consoeurs en Affaires has received $100,000 from Desjardins Ontario Credit Union’s Community Development Fund to launch a new centre for Rural Women Entrepreneurs in Alexandria, which will deliver entrepreneurial training, mentorship and events in both official languages in the five counties of Eastern Ontario.

“We are delighted to work with the Desjardins team in making this innovative project a reality for our region,” saidd Doreen Ashton Wagner, Founder and Executive Director of Business Sisters-Consoeurs en Affaires. “Women and women-owned businesses have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. Desjardins’ contribution from their Community Development Fund helps us significantly reduce, and even eliminate, the barriers for women to start and grow a business. This will create much needed business activity in our villages and small towns throughout the region.”

“Creating this hub for women brings together aspects of entrepreneurship and the development of our local and regional economy. Therefore, investing in this project came as a very natural fit for Desjardins and we are thrilled to be part of this journey,” said Karine Foster, Desjardins Regional Vice-President, Eastern Ontario.

The centre will be based in Alexandria. Events will happen throughout Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, and Russell. The funding will support activities over the next five years.

Founded in 2018, Business Sisters-Consoeurs en Affaires is a bilingual social enterprise dedicated to building happy, resilient rural communities by connecting women business owners, so they can learn and thrive. It connects more than 400 women business owners in Eastern Ontario with live and online events, plus a growing list of learning and mentorship activities. For more information, please consult