Welcome to Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada’s Business Mentorship Program
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada welcomes your participation as a mentor or mentee in the business mentorship program. Pauktuutit has received numerous requests over the years to develop a gender-specific business mentorship program to support Inuit women to start and grow businesses. In response to these requests, Pauktuutit received three-year project funding from Status of Women Canada to produce a mentorship project model.
In the first year of the project, Pauktuutit focused primarily on engaging partners, conducting a needs assessment and developing a model mentorship program adapted to the needs of each Inuit region. The second year involved piloting the mentorship program in one community in each of the four Inuit regions. The communities selected were Nain, Inukjuak, Rankin Inlet and Inuvik. The final third year focused on finalizing the mentorship model, as well as producing and distributing the final mentorship program materials to partners and stakeholders across the North.
The Pauktuutit Business Mentorship program connects women in earlier stages of business development with women with significant business experience. Matches between mentors and mentees have been made according to shared business interests, objectives and expertise. The program includes one-on-one mentoring, group mentorship, networking events, and connections to business development resources. Mentees and mentors are required to commit to the program for at least three months.
Pauktuutit created this training program to guide you through your mentoring relationship. Included within this are PowerPoints which give an overview of how to start a mentorship group, how to conduct meetings, and goal setting, as well as resources that will be helpful when starting or expanding a business.
Thank you for being a part of the program.
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is the national organization representing and promoting the rights and interests of Inuit women. Since it was created in 1984, Pauktuutit has made improving the participation of Inuit women in the Canadian economy a priority. In particular, Pauktuutit works to help women achieve independence by advancing economic development through the promotion of entrepreneurship.
To help identify the needs and priorities of Inuit women starting and operating their own businesses, Pauktuutit undertook a study in 2012 that identified several barriers and challenges facing Inuit women as they began to explore starting small businesses. These barriers and challenges included:
- lack of business counselling services;
- lack of support networks for women in small business;
- lack of access to information about small business development; and
- difficulties getting start-up credit and capital.
As a direct result of this study, the Inuit Women in Business Network (IWBN) was created. The IWBN brought together Inuit women and interested parties that were involved in economic development to address the barriers and challenges facing Inuit women entrepreneurs. This 2012 study also found there were very few mentoring programs in Canada that were focused on Indigenous women and none that had Inuit women as their focus. The creation of a mentoring program specifically designed for Inuit women interested in starting a new business was then made a priority.
In 2016, Pauktuutit did some research that allowed it to better understand how a mentorship program should be developed, including the design, structure and materials. Interviews were conducted across Inuit Nunangatwith Inuit businesswomen, economic development officers, business support agencies, regional Inuit associations and advisory committee members. Other research looked at the potential to adapt a mentorship model for the workplace for Inuit women in business. Pauktuutit used the information collected to compare the similarities and differences in needs across the Inuit regions and between different types and stages of businesses.
Pauktuutit found that Inuit women who were starting or growing a business were more likely to be successful when they had a contact or mentor who was also in business. Pauktuutit sought funding to develop a mentorship model that took into consideration the needs and priorities of Inuit women entrepreneurs, as well as the economic, social and cultural realities of Inuit women. The project’s purpose was to create a mentorship model that would support the development of mentor/mentee relationships. The aim was to connect participants with individuals with expertise and experience in their business area of interest to help them increase their access to business skills, technology, networks and finance.
This model was developed over three years with help from an advisory committee made up of professional and entrepreneurial women, partners and stakeholders in the Inuit regions of Canada. The mentorship model supported Inuit women through increased access to training, stronger professional development and more opportunities for peer support.
Under the guidance of the advisory committee, the three-year project had the following stages:
- Year one focused on establishing the advisory committee and forming partnerships, conducting a needs assessment for an Inuit mentorship model and developing a model mentorship program adapted to the needs of each Inuit region.
- The second year involved further refining the model and piloting the mentorship program in two Inuit communities.
- The final year focused on conducting two additional pilot workshops, completing the mentorship model, as well as producing and distributing the final program materials to partners and stakeholders across the North.
Inuit Nunangat is a term used to describe the Inuit homeland comprised of the four land claims regions – Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and Inuvialuit.
What is Group Mentorship?
Mentorship is a powerful tool used by groups, businesses and individuals to grow a project or idea by drawing on the support and experience of others. Group mentorship is when many Inuit businesswomen come together to share their business challenges and successes, ask questions and seek help when stuck. Everyone in group mentorship is there to listen and speak, so everyone is supported. The more you give to your group, the more you can learn from your group.
Pauktuutit’s Business Mentorship program can be used by businesswomen at any stage of business. If you’re already an established Inuk businesswoman, this program can give you a space to share your expertise, experiences, and lessons you’ve learned, along with the opportunity to network with other businesswomen.
If you’re brand new to business, you’ll be connected to other Inuit businesswomen at various stages of their business journey. You can give and receive guidance, advice, support and encouragement in a relaxed setting on a regular basis. You can also expect to further develop your skills, confidence and business know-how through this program.