The YWCA welcomes the s’Entreprendre program created by the Lise Watier Foundation
Interview with Marie-Lise Andrade, Executive Director of the Lise Watier Foundation
December 12, 2017 – A first winter storm hits Montreal. The gust of snow and the cold weather do not slow us down. Wrapped up in our winter wear, we head towards the Lise Watier Foundation office, where we are welcomed by Marie-Lise Andrade, Executive Director of the Foundation. The interview that was originally structured as an interview took on a more casual twist. We spoke for nearly an hour about a new project put in place by the Lise Watier Foundation, a new collaboration with the YWCA Montreal and its successful future.
The program s’Entreprendre of the Lise Watier Foundation will take off in March 2018 at the YWCA Montreal. This initiative perfectly complements the services offered at the YWCA. We are proud to welcome the program and excited to witness its development and its future impact on the well-being of women and girls.
Lise Watier has always worked with women and for women. Coming from a less privileged background, she realizes and understands from a young age the many difficulties that women face in their lives. That’s why she created the Lise Watier Foundation to give back to women in need.
The Foundation, which has been active since 2009, closely relates to the mission of the YWCA Montreal. Together, they help build a better future for women and girls in need. With this mission at the core of all its actions, the Foundation launched in 2017 its own program of intervention – the program s’Entreprendre.
The many observations and knowledge acquired by the Foundation in recent years have led to the realization that there is little help available for women wishing to take their place in the world of entrepreneurship. During the interview, Marie-Lise Andrade talked about some of the difficulties that women in poverty face: isolation, lack of self-confidence and recognition. When a woman is ready to make a change in her life, return to the job market, go back to school or start her own business, she is often left on her own sourceless and often lacks self-confidence, which restrains her accomplishment and fulfillment.
There are many employability programs in Quebec; however, many of them are limited. That is the reason why the program s’Entreprendre was created: to help women in need who are ready to take their lives in their own hands. This flexible, unique and complementary program to other services in communities aims to:
- Train, support and financially support women who are ready to start their own businesses,
- Perfect their post-secondary education,
- Return to the job market.
What makes the program so unique is the fact that entrepreneurship is used as a tool to lift women out of poverty.
Through personal coaching, networking, mentoring and training, the S’Entreprendre program takes women out of isolation and boosts their self-confidence. The program also offers microcredit, an innovative approach that allows women to raise up to $ 10,000 in funding to realize their dream. This amount of money serves as leverage to develop their own entrepreneurship project.
In March 2018, the YWCA of Montreal will join the other two service points (Quebec city and the Laurentians) to host the program s’Entreprendre. Forty women in total already benefit from the program in the Quebec city and the Laurentians. Marie-Lise Andrade mentions that the main goal would be to offer the program to 500 women (50 women / 10 regions) across Quebec over the next five years. Each service point will have a s’Entreprendre counselor; the program will be offered at the ten different locations and registration will be on site.
The Lise Watier Foundation provides the budget, the material and the training to support the counselor. That being said, the new counselor who started to work for the YWCA Montreal at the beginning of January will receive her training in the next few weeks. The YWCA is planning to welcome the first cohort of participants of the s’Entreprendre program in March 2018.
The process of selecting the service points is done in a synergistic way. The Foundation and the organizations choose each other through their shared vision and mission. According to Marie-Lise Andrade, the YWCA Montreal is a pillar in the Montreal community. It is an organization that provides high quality services and has well-recognized programs in the community. It is also a very reliable resource for women in precarious situations. In the same vein, she goes on to say, “we are not the only one who has chosen the Y, I think the Y chose us as well to offer our program because it saw an added value to its organisation.” The program s’Entreprendre will therefore complement the employability services of the YWCA of Montreal starting next March.
Just like the YWCA of Montreal, the Lise Watier Foundation is inspired by a vision of a society where women have the power and the opportunity to reach their full potential, both professionally and personally. Through women’s entrepreneurship and education in Quebec, this program will help lift women out of poverty. Even if the program is still young, through the long-term collaboration with the YWCA Montreal and its many service points, it will undoubtedly have a great impact on the Quebec society in the coming years. We can’t wait to witness the outcome…