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Export Through a Gender Lens: Financing & Access to Capital for Exporting

Alpana Sharma, PhD, is the Export Business Advisor with the Women’s Enterprise Centre in British Columbia. Sharma works directly with women business owners to provide one-on-one complimentary business guidance and supports clients who plan to export or import and grow their business internationally. 

Alpana Sharma

Women business owners who are new to export face many barriers in bringing their products or services to global markets. Depending on the client’s needs — whether it be finding out how to start exporting or expanding their existing export business— my goal is to help entrepreneurs get export ready at every stage of their journey. 

It is common for entrepreneurs to feel overwhelmed, so it is important to provide the right tools and resources to help them build confidence. We provide many resources to women exporters including helping them understand exporting rules and regulations, international market intelligence, and access the right funding programs for their exports.  

We also help women exporters prepare for trade missions so they can maximize opportunities during such events. We work closely with many partners including the Trade Commissioner Service , WEConnect InternationalWBE Canada, and Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business to help women entrepreneurs export successfully.  

It is so encouraging to see women business owners use the programs available to them and scale their business globally. I enjoy supporting them throughout their export journeys. 

The most important message I share with my clients is to use programs and services available to them. There are many organizations that provide excellent export resources. So, make sure to ask for help and advice.