What happens when we set women up for success? The Lise Watier Foundation has the answer.
Created by Lise Watier herself, the Foundation has been helping women become financially empowered in Quebec since 2009. And now it’s time for some of that professional development to come to women in Toronto.
What happens when we uplift women and give them the resources to thrive? The Lise Watier Foundation has been answering this call to action since its inauguration in 2009. Lise Watier of Lise Watier Cosmetics founded this organization shortly after she sold her brand. Having built her empire herself, she is a pioneer in women’s entrepreneurship in Quebec. With her personal mission at heart, the Lise Watier Foundation has helped financially empower hundreds of women—and they aren’t stopping anytime soon.
The Foundation officially touches down in Toronto this fall with the launch of its free, inclusive Let’s Start Up program, an innovative professional development initiative offered at the city’s YWCA Toronto. YWCA Toronto is a leader and collaborator in the provision of feminist, intersectional and transformative employment and training for women, girls and gender diverse people. “YWCA Toronto is thrilled to partner with the Lise Watier Foundation to launch the Let’s Start Up program this fall. This program will help our association provide training and individual coaching to aspiring entrepreneurs interested in establishing their own businesses. We are grateful for this partnership and excited to support our participants on their journey toward sustainable financial independence,” shared Heather M. McGregor, CEO of YWCA Toronto. Designed for women who want to invest in a better future, this program will empower them with the concrete tools and professional skills to reach financial autonomy—whether they choose to launch their own business, find a more rewarding job or further their education.
It aims to tackle a plight primarily faced by women in Canada, where 34 per cent of working women make less than $20,000 per year, and one out of every eight women and one of every four single mothers lives under the poverty line.
“Our innovative program supports women’s professional development to help them regain confidence in their capacities and reach financial independence,” said Marie-Lise Andrade, president and executive director, in a statement. “We strongly believe that teaming up with YWCA Toronto will make a significant difference in empowering women in the community.”
First launched in Quebec four years ago, the program has helped more than 500 women develop their skills through training, individual coaching and financial support. Their entrepreneurial spirits are fostered and encouraged to emerge, working as a team with other participants, program leaders and support systems. But it’s about so much more than business and money—it’s about building confidence in their capacities to build futures for themselves and their children. It’s about taking back their innate power.
While participants come to the program at different points of their lives and with varying levels of financial literacy, there’s one thing that binds them: The hugely positive impact this program has had on their lives.
For Roxann, joining the program as a participant in the entrepreneurship stream was the best decision of her life. One of the beauties of the Let’s Start Up program is the built-in community of women who learn to lean on each other for support.
“When in doubt, I was reassured. Faced with a lack of knowledge, I was taught. Exhausted, I was motivated. Ready to give up, I was inspired by other women, other entrepreneurs,” she says. “You are never alone, always surrounded by inspiring women.”
A bit of confidence and the encouragement to push for success was all Marie-Christine, a business-woman at heart, needed when she came to the program.
“I learned to master what I already had in me and to capitalize on my strengths,” she says. “By giving me access to a microloan, the Foundation also gave me the boost I needed to offer the best service to my customers.”
Overcoming financial barriers to higher education is a key component to the Foundation, one that Andrée-Anne benefitted from. “Thanks to this support, I have the tools I need to become professionally accomplished and to live again,” she says. “I am proud of where I am today and I know that my children are, too.”
“You can’t put a price on that.”
Click here to learn more about the Lise Watier Foundation. To further support the initiative, you can make a direct donation to change a life today.