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United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.


OWIT-Toronto wants to provide you with current and valuable news and resources on a regular bases. We do this through our site as well as through our monthly newsletter. Sign up today to receive these in your inbox.

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2023 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    A special OWIT International Women’s Day panel highlighted the voices of OWIT leaders and Chapter Presidents from Africa, the Americas and Europe. The panelists shared their perspectives and experiences on the theme of this year's International Women's Day in the context of their work in international trade and business.


    Panel discussed:

    - Shared experiences of women in international trade and business in your region in alignment with the IWD theme.
    - Proposed strategies for adoption by Governments and policy makers in your region and explore ways in which the international trade landscape could be made level so as to create a more equitable space for women to trade and do business.
    - Amplified the voices of women leaders in international trade.
    - Showcased the contribution of OWIT Chapters


    Moderator was Kyesubire Greigg, Vice President of OWIT International and the Panel included: Audrey Ross, Co-President of OWIT Toronto, Achu Blessing Ebere, Vice President OWIT Nigeria and Noreen Burroughes Cesareo, President of OWIT UK.

  • Wednesday, March 15, 2023 7:18 AM | Anonymous

    To mark International Women’s Day, OWIT Toronto Board Member Susan Baka participated in a Roundtable with Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development with Isabel Hudon, President of the Business Development Bank of Canada, in Ottawa.  

    Also on March 8th, Minister Ng announced the recipients of funding under the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Nearly $7 billion is to help remove systemic barriers women face in accessing the financing, resources and networks they need to start up, scale up and reach international markets.

    Above:  Isabel Hudon BDBC, Nathalie Bradbury, OWIT Ottawa President, Susan Baka, Jenna Stubbs, MP Kanata-Carleton, Parliamentary Secretary for Women, Gender Equality and Youth.

  • Tuesday, March 14, 2023 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    In honour and celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, Casa Foundation hosted the 4th edition of Women in Business and Leadership Women Inspire Forum.

    This Annual Forum was created to support women-owned businesses while empowering women to run businesses through connecting resources (social, capital, human) to ideas. The theme of this year’s edition was “Embrace Equity: Enabling aspiring leaders for the future”.

    Attending OWIT Board Members Aliaa Alsafarjlani, Priti Ruparel, and Casa Foundation’s Olutoyin Oyelade.

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    In recognition of International Women's Day, Canada's Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, the Honourable Mary Ng, will lead a women-focused Canada Trade Mission to the United Kingdom, March 13-16, 2023. 

    The United Kingdom is Canada’s largest export market in Europe, founded on a broad and extensive relationship built on shared history, values and strong economic ties. In March 2022, Canada and the UK announced the launch of negotiations towards a Canada-UK free trade agreement (FTA) that is inclusive and sustainable and ensures that everyone benefits from trade, including women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized entrepreneurs, 2SLGBTQIA+ and youth.  

    Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service is seeking women-owned and women-led businesses in technology-based sectors to join the business delegation.  If you are a women-owned or women-led business in the technology space looking to expand in the United Kingdom, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

    Date:  March 13-16, 2023

    Market:  United Kingdom

    Sectors: Technology-based sectors – Clean technologies, ICT, Life Sciences

    Target audience:  Women in technology


    • While the FTA is being negotiated, Canadian exporters continue to have preferential access to the UK market through the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA). The TCA preserves the main benefits of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), including the elimination of tariffs on 98% of products exported to the United Kingdom.
    • The United Kingdom is Canada’s most important science, technology and innovation (STI) partner in Europe. This importance is underscored in the comprehensive Canada-UK Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate further bilateral STI cooperation. 
    • Technology (ICT) businesses are at the heart of the UK economy with a turnover of $312.8 billion while sustaining 1.6 million jobs. There are significant opportunities for Canadian exporters, especially for innovations in: artificial intelligence; internet of things; enterprise software; e-commerce; cloud/edge computing technologies; cybersecurity; and health technologies.
    • The U.K. ranked second globally for start-up investments in the first half of 2022, after the U.S.  During that period, the U.K. had raised double the funding of any other European market. 


  • Monday, January 09, 2023 3:11 PM | Helen Hemmingsen (Administrator)

    As of January 4, 2023, WEConnect International is offering a 3-year certification, from 1 year, to bring added value to women business owners in Canada who wish to make connections with corporate buyers and/or take advantage of their globally recognized women owned logo For all the details see their global Announcement.

    In addition to the above, WEConnect International has lowered the certification price point for small businesses with annual revenue under $1M. Women business owners interested in learning more are welcome to attend one of the January WECommunity Chat sessions, offered every Tuesday at 12pm ET.

    Sign up here or start their 3-Year Certification Application HERE.

    Join WEConnect at International Day in 2023 in Nashville.

    For more information, email Stephanie Lafontaine, Regional Director for Canada and the US, at sfontaine@weconnectinternational.org 

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2022 2:05 PM | Anonymous

    OWIT-Toronto participated in a roundtable in December organized by the Vietnam Trade Office in Canada and the Canada-Vietnam Trade Council.  Guest speaker, the Hon. Jean Charest, Partner with McCarthy Tétrault and Honorary Chair of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, highlighted the long-term relationship between Canada and Vietnam and  said the country offers many opportunities for Canadian  companies, particularly with the new Indo-Pacific Strategy.

  • Thursday, December 15, 2022 2:21 PM | Anonymous


    International welcomes Ghana as the newest chapter to join the international network.  In the pipeline are Tijuana, Eswatini and Tanzania….Happy Her Hour is a casual bi-monthly virtual event held during the noon hour that provides an opportunity for OWIT members to network with others from chapters around the world. Check www.owit.org for the next one.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 2:00 PM | Helen Hemmingsen (Administrator)

    Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade, founder of Invcap Corporation and Casa Foundation, and Debra Steger, retired Emeritus Professor of International Trade at the University of Ottawa, tied to receive this year’s prestigious Excellence in Leadership in International Trade award presented at the Organization of Women in International Trade – Toronto Chapter (OWIT-Toronto) – Export Awards Luncheon, held at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre on December 1, 2022. This award recognizes outstanding women who, through their business and personal networks, act as a trade advocate and mentor for women, fostering opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs or professionals in achieving success in international business. 


    Dr. Oyelade provides financing support, mentorship, and partnerships to women-owned businesses through Invcap Corporation & Casa Foundation. Since 2015, Dr Oyelade’s Invcap has continued to support women with their capital-raising ventures and strategies. Over 200 businesses received pitch training during the pandemic. In 2018, she helped establish EntrepreneursPoint, an incubator for women, youth, and start-ups, that facilitates partnerships and new connections for growing women-owned businesses across Canada and internationally, with a focus on Africa. 


    Ms. Steger has mentored more young female international trade law students and lawyers at the University of Ottawa than can be counted. She is on the Gender and Trade Advisory Committee of Global Affairs Canada, and the Advisory Board of TradeExperettes, a network of women trade experts that seek to highlight the voices of women in international trade. She has supervised trade and gender projects including the drafting of the model trade and gender provisions for free trade agreements. Debra has also written numerous articles on gender and trade while being a tireless advocate for women’s voices in business and in law. 


    Yvonne Robertson, CEO of Matrix Power Services Ltd. and Sahara & Co, clinched the Woman Exporter of the Year Award. Her company, Matrix Power Services Ltd., distributes power products to business customers in the aerospace, telecom, utilities, and subsea industries. Under her strategic leadership, the company has expanded its export model to supply its products to North and Central America and other markets. 


    The winner of the Student of International Trade Award is Natalie Jiang of Centennial College who has successfully led several projects in international finance. The former Lufthansa employee has completed her Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association Certificate and is passionate about working in the FinTech industry. 


    Other highlights of the Awards’ afternoon included an engaging fireside chat with the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada and Executive Advisor, International at Deloitte Canada, and a congratulatory message from Charmaine A. Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, Ontario. Mr. Pettigrew reinforced the significance of the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the importance of enhancing trade with Asia. He strongly commended Canada’s reputation in international trade as excellent, highlighting how we punch above our weight in trade”. Ms. Williams congratulated the winners and nominees of this year’s awards and reiterated the importance of uplifting women in international business and women’s economic empowerment. 


    The successful, sold-out OWIT-Toronto Awards Luncheon 2022 was sponsored by Borden Ladner GervaisBennett JonesUPSWomen’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge HubBMOCity of TorontoKPMGJewels 4 EverTrade Facilitation Office (TFO) Canada, and Orchard Custom Beauty.


    About OWIT

    The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) is an international non-profit professional organization, with chapters around the world (www.owit.org), dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women. There are two active Canadian chapters: Toronto (www.owit-toronto.ca) and Ottawa (www.owit-ottawa.ca).


  • Monday, November 28, 2022 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy identifies 5 interconnected strategic objectives including expanding trade, investment, and supply-chain resilience.To foster open, rules-based trade and support Canada’s economic prosperity with the Indo-Pacific region, Canada will invest $244.6 million. 

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2022 11:02 PM | Arsheen Kaur (Administrator)

    OWIT-Toronto (Organization of Women in International Trade) is pleased to announce and introduce its two new Co-Presidents for the 2022-23 year: Justine Namara and Audrey Ross.

    Justine is currently a Special Advisor, Economic Cooperation, in the Pan-Africa Affairs Bureau at Global Affairs Canada. An international trade and development expert, with over 15 years' experience working on impact from the grassroots through to global policy change, Justine is a passionate advocate for inclusive trade. Previously, Justine was a Director at the Africa Trade Desk, and formerly Associate Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Skills for Change. She has also managed partnerships, outreach and advocacy in Switzerland at the World Trade Organization’s trade program for least developed countries, and was the lead on gender and trade. In Uganda, she has worked as a legal trade and development specialist.

    Justine is a Board Advisor at the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee and also serves as OWIT-Toronto’s VP of Strategic Partnerships. She holds an LL.M. in International Trade and Investment Law (University of Western Cape, South Africa), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (BAR COURSE) and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (Hons).

    Currently the Import & Export Compliance Manager at Orchard Custom Beauty, Audrey Ross is an in-house expert tasked with managing the cross-border activities and compliance of a global supply chain in over 16 countries.   A self-described #TradeGeek, she is experienced in multi-modal shipping, supply chain operations, customs compliance, free trade agreements and international tax. She is recognized as a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP® | FIBP®) by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) and is a frequent panelist/interviewee on webinars, podcasts and conferences. She is a regular guest on “Thoughts & Coffee” with Let’s Talk Supply Chain where she discusses hot topics in the global supply chain. Audrey is a founding member of the Blended Pledge (a grant initiative to foster next gen/diverse voices at industry events), a member of the TradeExperettes and will also continue in her role as VP-Secretary on the International Board for OWIT.

    “We are pleased to welcome Justine and Audrey into their shared role,” says outgoing President Helen Hemmingsen. “With their impressive backgrounds and solid experience in trade, they are well positioned to build on the strengths of OWIT-Toronto. Justine’s sharp strategic sense has already played a valuable role on our Board, and we are also excited about how Audrey’s involvement in OWIT International will broaden our chapter’s connection with the mother organization and increase the value of membership.”

    About OWIT-Toronto

    OWIT-Toronto (The Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto; www.owit-toronto.ca) is part of an international, non-profit professional organization with chapters around the world (www.owit.org), dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women.

organization of women in international trade-toronto

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