A local business camp helps increase women’s native businesses

The Farrow Center for Women’s Organizations hosts a 15-week BIZCamp pilot to support Indigenous women in building their businesses.

As industries related to industries like mining, forestry, construction and power grow in the North, the PARO Center for Women Enterprise supports local women-born businesses with the tools and resources needed to grow their businesses in these industries.

“So many opportunities are popping up in these sectors in northern Ontario and we want to bring local women-owned businesses into a position where they can take advantage of those opportunities; to get the piece of cake, so to speak,” says Melissa Cook, PARO’s program director.

Historically developed

In its 27th year, PARO uses a one-on-one approach to meet women where they are in their business and Muqam Kaveh is no exception.

Through its 15-week online BIZcamp, Mookam Kwe will support women-owned businesses to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities offered by sectors in northern Ontario with in-depth training and insight.

“The goal of this BizCamp is to bring together local women-owned power plants to provide networking and peer support; give them amazing information they need from amazing facilitators across Canada and give them the support and empowerment they need to really take their business to the next level,” says Cook.

Mooka’am Kwe

Paro’s Native Women’s Initiative Program (EIW) began as a conversation between Nuront’s vice president and PARO CEO Rosalind Lockiere. Cook says they talked about the need for an organization like PARO to build a milestone for businesses owned by native women to take advantage of opportunities in northern Ontario. Mookam ‘am Kwe is a key element in this program, and will serve as a “stopping point” for native women looking to grow or expand their businesses.

PARO will partner with three organizations to conduct this BIZCamp. The Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO), a national organization that supports the first nations in building their entrepreneurial and business ventures, will discuss how to discover where opportunities in the field of mining are; The Go Forte Institute will offer participants access to the online learning system they provide to entrepreneurs, and will provide them with an abundance of ongoing knowledge; And seniors from the Blue Sky Healing Center.

“This is a point-to-point support system, from marketing to pricing to business planning throughout the launch lifecycle and where to increase and identify where these opportunities are in traditionally male-dominated sectors,” says Cook.

Cook hopes this gives indigenous-owned businesses not only the connections but also the knowledge they need to succeed in male-dominated sectors.


As he discusses the sound line, Cook looks forward to the opportunity to connect with a multifaceted group of women with no geography standing in her way. Because distance learning and learning is a norm that everyone is used to now, Cook thinks it brings up the benefit of working with women to grow their business because this geographic constraint no longer exists.

“When we work remotely we have very little restraint with who works with whom.”

Cook believes this is a step in the right direction in keeping businesses, especially women-owned companies, afloat at times that can be treacherous.

Mookam’am Kwe is proving to be an exciting 15-week dive into successful entrepreneurial opportunities and PARO enables local women-born factories and businesses to succeed in northern Ontario and Canada.

“we want [women] Knowing that they can achieve their dreams, that the lofty goal that worried them when they started their business is achievable. “