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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.

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  • Saturday, June 22, 2024 5:18 PM | Anonymous

    It’s been a busy year for OWIT-Toronto board members who participated as speakers and guests at a number of trade events organized by our partners and raised our profile.  These included:

    CAN-CHAM Monterrey (Mexico) Annual Women’s Forum in March Women in Today’s World:  Powerful Journeys featured a stellar panel of accomplished businesswomen from Canada and Mexico who shared their secrets to success and how they navigated the bumps along the way. As a result of a Collaboration Agreement signed with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce—Monterrey, Mexico—in March 2023, OWIT-Toronto was directly involved in selecting topics and recruiting two Canadian speakers for the forum. The messages delivered by Canadian entrepreneur Sahiza Hossenbaccus and  by Clare Barnett,  Director of Economic Development for the City of Brampton and OWIT-Toronto Board Member,  motivated and kept the Mexican and Canadian audiences engaged.  We will continue this successful collaboration in the coming Women Forums.


    Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub’s March International Women’s Day event: Attended by some OWIT members, who participated in a roundtable on exporting and heard inspiring remarks from guest speaker Minister of  Small Business Rechie Valdez.

    Casa Foundation for International Development Annual Women Inspire Forum in March:  In honour of this year’s International Women’s Day, Casa hosted this 5th edition of the forum as a celebration of women in business and leadership. OWIT Board Member Clare Barnett was invited to speak on a panel discussion - Presenting Case Studies of Women Entrepreneurs in Canada - Stories of Rising Entrepreneurs.

    Supporting Women in International Trade event in April:  Presented by the Delegation of the European Union in Canada and hosted by Dentons,  this roundtable discussed trade promotion policies and instruments and shared best practices that support women’s participation in international trade under the CETA free trade agreement between Canada and the EU.  OWIT VP International Susan Baka participated in a moderated panel Q & A on inclusive trade in action.


    Belgian-Canadian Business Chamber’s Awards Gala in April.  Several OWIT-Toronto members, including Justine Namara, Sue Rauth and KC Goundiam, attended this high-energy annual gala as part of our partnership with BCBC.

    GroYourBiz EXCELerate2024 conference in Vancouver also in April.  OWIT-Toronto President Audrey Ross  joined fellow OWIT-International members for  a panel on Going Global: The Road to Globalization.  

    City of Toronto May Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum 2024: Women Shaping Global Business. Anita Agrawal, a Past President of OWIT-Toronto and owner of Best Bargains Jewellery, participated in a panel on Growing Your Business Globally.  She shared why she joined OWIT, not only because she is an exporter, but membership has also allowed her to gain trade knowledge, be introduced to experts to help transfer knowledge, and to find a ‘hype women’ who lifts her up and connects her with valuable contacts.

  • Thursday, June 20, 2024 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    What a view! 

    Thank you to our attendees for joining us on Wednesday, June 12 to network, connect and converse.  We enjoyed the summer weather and Toronto skyline view at stylish Lavelle. 

    OWIT Toronto President Audrey Ross and Board Members Myra Sable, Jessica Horwitz, Susan Baka and Cathy Williamson were on hand to welcome guests and share our passion for being part of OWIT. 

    As new guests arrived they were greeted by an O

    WIT Board member and quickly folded into introductions and conversations.   With the invitation for Members to bring a friend we welcomed many new faces. 

    With attendees representing private business traders, federal and municipal governments, chambers of commerce and some well known names in accounting and law it was a dynamic group.  As per usual in Toronto, conversations were multi-lingual with a good portion of the group joining in discussion in Spanish. 

    Guests enjoyed the poolside views, nibbles including signature wagyu sliders, sushi, karaage chicken and Hawaiian inspired veggie nachos. The theme was hydration in the humid Toronto heat so water first, followed by guests favourites or Lavelle signatures.  The Pomegranate & Apricot sangria and Passion Fruit Mimosa's seemed most popular.  Your OWIT President enjoyed a server recommended non-alcoholic mix of pineapple, cranberry & soda water to stay cool.  

    Special Thanks to:

    Glen, Kaye, Roman & Cody of Lavelle for being wonderful and attentive hosts. 

    Our Board, volunteers and members for their continued support. 

    Photo Credits: Audrey Ross, Maria Marchyshyn

  • Tuesday, June 04, 2024 10:30 PM | Anonymous

    3rd CUSMA SME Dialogue hosted by Global Affairs Canada in Montreal in May.  The event brought together SMEs and stakeholders from Canada, the US, and Mexico to delve into regional trade dynamics under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Themes like SMEs in value chains, inclusive trade, customs procedures, and more sparked dynamic discussions, fostering a full exchange of ideas among participants. Some key take-aways:
    - Nearshoring: This represents a competitive advantage for SMEs.
    - Shift Towards Services Exports: Notably, the trend towards service exports is gaining momentum, reshaping global trade landscapes.
    - Empowering Underrepresented Group: There's a critical need to reimagine support structures for underrepresented groups, including women, youth, Indigenous communities, and minorities, to facilitate their participation in global trade.
    - Awareness Gap on Available Resources: Many SMEs remain unaware of the abundance of resources at their disposal, such as the valuable support provided by organizations like our Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT)), which I represented at the Dialogue.
    - Demand for Simplified Access to Resources: SMEs consistently express a desire for a centralized platform to access trade resources seamlessly, recognizing the complexities of navigating the market.

    OWIT-Toronto’s VP of International Trade Susan Baka participated in a panel on Inclusive Trade, moderated by Claire Ehmann of the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Kudos to Export Development Canada | Exportation et développement Canada for sponsoring the post-Dialogue reception hosted by OWIT-Ottawa and OWIT-Toronto and to Global Affairs Canada for its support.  A terrific collaborative effort! “OWIT added a great dynamic to the CUSMA Dialogue and it certainly created a better wrap-up to the day to have a reception,” says Joanne Tognarelli  EDC’s VP of Global Business Development, who welcomed reception guests on behalf of EDC.  “It provided an opportunity for some final connections to be made.” 

  • Monday, May 13, 2024 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Applications are now open for Board Member Roles and a variety of Committee roles: 

    Board Member vacancies 

    • 1 x Membership
    • 1 x Events
    • 1 x Communications

    Apply by completing the nomination form by Wednesday May 22

    Email completed form and supplemental documents to: info@owit-toronto.ca


    Committee Director / Co-Directors

    • Events
    • Social Media
    • Newsletter
    • Partnerships
    • Trade Policy
    • Volunteer Coordination
    • Etc. 

    General volunteers for events, social media, newsletter, partnerships, memberships, trade policy etc. 

    Apply for Committee Director / Co-Director / General Volunteers by sending an email with your area(s) of interest in subject to info@owit-toronto.ca

    *Nominees MUST be members of OWIT Toronto.



    Job desc-VP Membership 2024.pdf

    Job desc-VP Events 2024.pdf

    Job desc-VP Communications 2024.pdf

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024 6:55 PM | Anonymous

    Shamira Jaffer, CEO of Signifi Solutions an OWIT Export Award winner in 2017 for Woman Exporter of the Year, clinched the 2023 RBC Innovation Award  at the 2023 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur. Awards.

    OWIT-Toronto Past President and 2012 OWIT Exporter of the Year, Anita Agrawal, CEO, Best Bargains Jewellery/Jewels 4 Ever has been selected as one of the 2023 top 100 most powerful women in Canada."

  • Wednesday, January 24, 2024 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    In January 2024, we will be looking for new members to join our board.

    This is an exciting opportunity to develop board governance skills for non-profit organizations. New board members will draw on a range of experience, talents and a keen interest in international trade and/or women's economic empowerment. No previous experience needed. 

    There are currently three vacancies including VP Events and  VP Membership.

    You will develop new skills: board management, organizing and hosting virtual/hybrid events, trade policy development, and communications (website design and newsletters).

    Board members will be elected at our AGM on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

    You'll need to be a member of OWIT-Toronto, and can join within ten days of being elected. See our membership page for benefits and rates.

    If you are interested in these roles, email Helen Hemmingsen (Past President) for more information.

    A listing of current board members and their roles can be viewed at: www.owit-toronto.ca/board_members

  • Wednesday, November 22, 2023 7:04 PM | Anonymous

    On November 17Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) and the Ontario government joined Cheryl Graden, of the TMX Group, to open the market and celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. 

    Held annually on November 19, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is a day on which the work of women entrepreneurs is celebrated. OWIT-Toronto Co-President, Audrey Ross, and Board Members, Jessica Horwitz and Susan Baka, attended. 

  • Friday, November 17, 2023 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    The full-house celebration at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre recognized and celebrated the achievements of women in international trade.

    Congratulations to our outstanding award winners and to all nominees for their continued dedicated work in international trade.

    Student of International Trade Award – Oluwayomi Dime

    Oluwayomi is a student at Centennial College, and works for a Nigerian manufacturing company. She has leveraged knowledge from international marketing and innovation lectures to enhance social channels. Oluwayomi has demonstrated a keen understanding of cultural diversity, beliefs, and values. She adapts to cultural norms such as respecting Chinese New Year and observing Islamic prayers in Turkey, for effective community and collaboration.

    Woman Exporter of the Year Award – Patra De Silva

    Patra is the President of NHV Natural Pet Products, and exports veterinarian-formulated herbal supplements to 55 countries. The company has achieved export revenues of over ten million Canadian dollars. 

    Patra has established B2B partnerships with distributors in key markets such as the USA, Japan, UK, France, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. She is the BC Chapter president of the International Women’s Forum, contributing to women’s leadership globally. NHV Natural Pet Products is based in Vancouver.

    Excellence Award for Leadership in International Trade – Dr Wendy Cukier

    Wendy is the Founder and Director of the Diversity Institute Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub at Toronto Metropolitan University. Wendy is an advocate for women and equity-deserving groups in entrepreneurship, international business, and trade.  She is influential in raising awareness about the barriers faced by women in trade and advocating for inclusive trade practices. Wendy is amember of the Global Affairs Gender and Trade Advisory Group, working to include gender chapters in Canada's global trade agreements


    From left to right: Clare Barnett, Brampton Economic Development; Jessica Horwitz, Bennett Jones; Oluwayomi Dime, Centennial College; Patra De Silva, NHV Natural Pet Products; Dr. Wendy Cukier, WEKH; Shay Lowe, WEKH

    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 Canadian chapters: Toronto (www.owit-toronto.ca) and Ottawa (www.owit-ottawa.ca).

  • Friday, October 20, 2023 6:36 PM | Anonymous

    In support of Small Business Week, OWIT-Toronto hosted a Fall networking events in October 18th in partnership with Entrepreneurs Point for OWIT-Toronto members and non-members. Co-President Audrey Ross and VP Events Aliaa Al Safarjlani organized and attended the event with our hosts at Entrepreneurs Point.

  • Tuesday, October 03, 2023 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    OWIT-Toronto is proud to recognize the achievements of women who, through their careers and personal commitments, foster international trade and the advancement of women in business. 

    We are now accepting nominations for the 2023 Export Awards for:

    - Excellence Award for Leadership in International Trade

    - Woman Exporter of the Year

    - Student of International Trade

    Nominate your favourite leader, exporter and/or student here ! The deadline for nominations is Friday, November 3, 2023 at midnight.

    We are excited to be hosting our Export Awards in person on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre (OITC), 250 Yonge Street, Eaton Centre, Toronto, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm.

    Watch our Events Calendar for further details including our special guest speaker and registration.

    Registration details will be available soon.

    Please contact Helen Hemmingsen if you have any questions or need further information about the nominations for OWIT-Toronto's Export Awards.

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