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WEConnect International, and by extension WEConnect Canada, has its origins in a program initiated by the Women Business Enterprise National Council in the United States 13 years ago.

WEConnect Canada was established in March, 2009. It is guided by a corporate board of directors and financed by government, including grants from Status of Women Canada, corporate sponsorships, and annual fees from members ($750 a year).

Female entrepreneurs wanting to join the WEConnect Canada program must prove that:

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• Their company is headquartered in Canada.

• It is at least 51 per cent owned by women.

• Women manage and control the business.

• The company is established, successful and growth-oriented, and can supply products or services in any sector.

• The company has the capacity to sell to large corporations.

• It is a business-to-business operation, rather than business-to-consumer.

• As well as being able to access corporate and government contracts, WEConnect members can also trade among themselves.

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• Members are audited annually to ensure they comply with these standards.

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