Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN)


Time Period: 2019-2023 

Geography: Canada-wide 

Sector: Gender equality, Cross-sector 


  • Together, we reached over 700 women and gender-nonbinary social entrepreneurs and people supporting them across 120 Ontario communities. Collectively those who were preparing for investment raised $8.5M across 16 founders.  
  • SVX designed and delivered over 16 different accelerator and entrepreneurship programs ranging from ideation support to investment readiness programs since 2020, providing assistance to over 200 entrepreneurs across Ontario.

Stage: Complete

Client and/or Partners: Lean 4 Flourishing

Wosen Colored LOGO - Social Venture Exchange SVX
Pillar LOGO - Social Venture Exchange SVX

The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) is an Ontario-wide collaborative led by Pillar Nonprofit Network, alongside SVX, the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and NORDIK Institute’s Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE). Through its programs, WOSEN sought to address the gaps in the current systems that support entrepreneurs, and adapt these systems to create a more inclusive economy that promotes prosperity for all. WOSEN partners aim to redesign how business supports are provided so female and non-binary social entrepreneurs can build the skills, make the connections, and receive the coaching needed to achieve their missions and raise impact capital. 

WOSEN Testimonials: 

“WOSEN is one of the most powerful programs I have participated in, and I wish I had joined earlier. Their program, Investment Readiness, is suitable for entrepreneurs in the beginning and middle stages of their business, and it really helped me to get focused on where my business needed to focus. I was able to level up as a founder, lead my team better, and position myself ready for pitching to investors, partners, and funders.” 

– SVX WOSEN participant 

Startups face challenges at every stage, from building a team to raising sufficient funds, from developing an effective product to successfully bringing it to market and generating revenue. WOSEN has been there for us every step of the way. Above all, they never stopped believing in us. When surrounded by such strong and resilient mentors, it’s impossible to give up or fail!” 

– SVX WOSEN participant 

‘I never knew a business course could be so moving’!’ 

”I found my tribe of people I have been looking for my whole life.” 

”Li and Paula created a space where we could come be ourselves, however imperfect, and as a perfectionist that is very unusual thing for me to be able to do.” 

”When I joined the program I felt like I was coming home.”

‘’From the financial literacy perspective, I have such a better grasp of things now, that is a big win for me.’’ 

“I got so much more than structure from this program, I don’t think I would have been ready to tackle all the pressure and what was on my plate without this program, I have so much more confidence to scale”. 

”Paula and Li, the people that WOSEN gather, that you gathered, are the most impressive entrepreneurs I have ever known. Everyone is so committed, heart-felt and smart.” 

“GROW was my lifeline in the last few months, I came out of my cocoon and my business that I have been working on for 7 years has really launched in this time span.” 

“Deep listening, unconditional love, acceptance, compassion…this program was a gift, I feel fortunate to be a part of it.”