The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise (PARO)


The PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise course offerings:

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise (PARO) will support the development of early-stage, high-growth social enterprises by offering social entrepreneurs educational and support programs to help launch and grow their businesses. Through providing individualized services, and connecting social enterprises with training programs and workshops, mentorship, networking events and marketing opportunities, social entrepreneurs will increase their business acumen and be able to confidently  move their enterprise to the next level.

  • Through Accelerated Access, PARO will individualize services for the participants who receive the vouchers to ensure that any areas of weakness are addressed through our services provided. One way PARO will do this is to connect each social enterprise to partners and community supporters who have expertise in specific target markets and can assist the new social entrepreneurs in breaking into a new market, and promoting their products or service to new customers.
  • PARO is well connected in the economic development community and has contacts/partners who can further assist the social enterprises in developing knowledge and skills specific to their market. In addition, PARO’s extensive network of partners includes RBC, BDC and Copperfin Credit Union, all of which are a part of the SENO Costarter for Change review committee and have committed  to assist social enterprises who work with PARO to access additional funds. Through fundraising initiatives, PARO plans on continuing to seek out additional funds to be able to further support social enterprises in applying for additional funding opportunities.
  • Through connecting them with training programs and workshops, mentorship, networking events and marketing opportunities social enterprises will increase their business acumen and confidently be able to move into the next level.

Social Impact Voucher Programming:



Increase financial literacy

  • Support in business plan creation
  • Support in cash flow projection
  • Knowledge of accounting processes and software
  • Knowledge of tax processes and legislation

Access to new networks

  • Mentor matching
  • Social enterprise roundtables
  • One event to educate the community on Social Entrepreneurship
  • One networking/marketing opportunity to connect entrepreneurs and promote the social enterprises
  • Connections to PARO network of business experts and partners. Including financial institutions and potential investors.

Increased business acumen

  • Knowledge of legal structure and implications
  • Broader understanding of various business models and how to implement them successfully
  • Knowledge of human resource management
  • Creation of marketing/sales strategy

Increased access to capital

  • Support in researching/applying for funding through PARO and other financing programs.
  • Connections to PARO partners including financial institutions and potential partners/investors


Course Content:


Expected Outcome


1st intake

Intake aligns with the third intake of PARO’s SENO program and outreach can be targeted to Social Entrepreneurs who were not able to receive funding and supports through the program.

ONE Members will already be similar with these ventures from their applications to the SENO program, and are dedicated to helping support these entrepreneurs who are in pre-incubation.

Sept. 2016

2nd intake

Intake aligns with the final SENO intake and program supports can be expanded to SEs which are not approved for funding.

Jan. 2017

3rd intake

3rd intake date allows for full range of program delivery participants before the end of the OSIV program. Also allows for services to be redeemed prior to graduation from program.

April 2017

Program delivery: workshops and training programs

Training opportunities and workshops will be provided to social entrepreneurs throughout the program.

Sept. 2016 – Aug. 2017


Participants matched with mentors

Participants will be matched with appropriate mentors once endorsement from ONE member and after orientation and needs assessment is complete. This will align with the intake dates for the OSIV program.

Sept. 2016, Jan. 2017,
April 2017


Marketing and networking events will be held during the course of the project and will be scheduled as per the availability of the program participants.

Sept. 2016 -Aug. 2017


Participants completing the OSIV program will take part in a graduation event to celebrate their success and market the Enterprises involved at the end of the program.

Aug. 2017

Data Collected  Using evaluation/tracking system

Participants will complete evaluations as part of an ongoing review of the services  provided by PARO through the OSIV program. This will ensure that we provide the most relevant, and tailored services to the Social Enterprises involved.


If you are interested in receiving the training/services from the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, please contact:

Aleksa Shermack
Program Manager
Social Enterprise for Northern Ontario’s CoStarter for Change Program
PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise
110-105 N. May St.
Thunder Bay, ON  P7C 3N9
(807) 625-0328