Thinking about starting your own business? As any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you starting a new business is not always easy. From testing the market to accessing capital, there are many roadblocks you may encounter along the way. The Kwe-Biz Startup accelerator is designed to provide you with a fundamental overview of what it takes to start a business.
We Are Passionate About Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship
Kwe-Biz provides Indigenous-led online and in-person business training and mentorship for Indigenous women entrepreneurs. Whether you are in the startup phase or have an existing business you would like to grow, Kwe-Biz provides ongoing support through unique programming.
Surround yourself with Indigenous women entrepreneurs who are building incredible businesses. Kwe-Biz accelerators are cohort-based so you can have the support of your peers while you grow.
Explore e-business, digital marketing, sales, funding, global market, procurement and more with our expert advisors through community workshops and networking events
Want a mentor who feels like a part of your business team? Kwe-Biz mentors help you think strategically so you can reach your goals and objectives.
From business basics to advanced topics, our accelerator is Indigenous-led and is customized to meet the unique business needs of the cohort. Below are examples of topics that are covered in our accelerator program.
Applications for the Kwe-Biz Accelerator are now closed.
(September – November 2022)
Kwe-Biz Business Workshops
Designed for Indigenous women entrepreneurs, the workshop series prepares you to take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey.
One of the main goals for Kwe-Biz is to build a community of Indigenous women entrepreneurs. Our workshops and programs provide the opportunity to network, learn new business skills, and to work on your business goals. Our approach to facilitation includes western business methods and Kahnien’kehàka (Mohawk) and Anishinaabe cultural values. We purposely keep our workshop class sizes small to create a safe and inclusive environment where participants can work at their own pace and feel comfortable participating. The workshops cover foundational business topics and specialized topics. Some examples may include (but are not limited to): marketing and sales, business pitching, financial literacy, strategies for accessing startup capital, and more.
Looking for a Business Mentor?
Kwe-Biz offers access to confidential, no-cost professional business mentorship for Indigenous women entrepreneurs and business owners who want to grow their business. Our professional business consultants have the knowledge and tools to help emerging and growing businesses design growth strategies and make better business decisions to realize goals and growth. Kwe-Biz offers mentorship services to Indigenous women residing in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Kingston.
We are currently accepting applications for the mentorship program!
Whether you’re new to running a business or a seasoned business owner, a mentor can help you refine your business strategy, map out the direction that your business should be taking and assist in setting goals for your business to succeed.
Applications now open for the Mentorship Program
(April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2022)
The Business Accelerator Program is designed to help up-to 12 Indigenous women entrepreneurs get their products or services in front of customers in the best way possible. Through our business accelerator, we’ll help you answer questions, build confidence and create a scalable growth plan for your business.
Apply to the Kwe-Biz Accelerator beginning September 2022.
(September to November, 2022).
The workshop series is designed for Indigenous women entrepreneurs and covers a wide range of business topics. What makes the Kwe-Biz workshop series unique is that we regularly engage our local Indigenous business communities to create customized workshops that meet the needs of the local business community.
Kwe-Biz Workshop series
(April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023)
Kwe-Biz is situated on the traditional territories of the Kahnien’kehàka (Mohawk) and Mississauga Anishinaabe peoples in southeastern Ontario. The Kwe-Biz name and identity is unique to the land and its original peoples; we keep this in our minds and in our hearts when we work with local Indigenous communities and urban centres.
The Kwe-Biz program was designed by Okwaho Equal Source, a 100% Indigenous owned and operated business, proudly headquartered in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario. Our co-founders are Kahnien’kehàka and Anishinaabe.
Our team of dedicated business professionals brings decades of experience in social innovation, social enterprise, finance, and procurement. We are honoured and privileged to work with First Nations and Indigenous peoples all across Turtle Island and around the world.
For us at Kwe-Biz, we are very proud to be working with Indigenous women entrepreneurs in the Dish with One Spoon territory.
Kwe-Biz Partners & Support
We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Nous reconncaissons l’appui du governement du Canada à travers l’Agence fédèrale de développementéconomique pour le Sud de l’Ontario.
Queen’s University is receiving federal funding from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, which helps to address gaps and build capacity in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for women. The mission for the Queen’s University project, called WE-CAN, is to inspire and empower existing and aspiring women entrepreneurs by providing them with tools, resources, expert mentors, networks and community building to expand existing businesses and to launch new ventures. Okwaho Equal Source has been contracted by Queen’s University, with funding from the WE-CAN Project, to design and deliver Kwe-Biz in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Kingston.
Has COVID-19 Affected Your Business?
Below are some helpful resources:
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation and program dates and delivery methods (i.e. in-person or online) are subject to change. Please check this website frequently for updates.
An accomplished Indigenous business woman, Shyra Barberstock is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Okwaho Equal Source, an Indigenous social purpose corporation with headquarters in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario. Shyra and her team brings over 15+ years of executive level experience in Indigenous tech, business development, social finance and procurement and has been featured in many regional and national media outlets on her company and success.
An academic and entrepreneur at heart, Shyra is a strong advocate for Indigenous entrepreneurship and is a highly regarded business facilitator and trainer. Her academic studies in Indigenous economic development and social innovation have been influential in advancing First Nations community economic development.
Shyra received formal executive training at the Rotman School of Management in Design Thinking and the Playing-to-Win framework used by Fortune 500 companies world-wide. Of notable interest, Shyra was the first Indigenous Innovator-in-Residence at the former Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Lab in Ottawa and is recognized by the Government of Canada as a lead Indigenous social purpose business expert.
Shyra is Anishinaabe and a proud member of Kebaowek First Nation in Kipawa, Quebec.