PARO Centre for Women Enterprise

PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise provides programs and services to women across Northern, Northeastern, Eastern, South Eastern, and Central Ontario (excluding the Greater Toronto Area) who are ready to startgrow or build new opportunities.

Seeks to empower women within their communities, strengthen small business and promote community economic development (CED) through integrated and women-centered program delivery. From training and business coaching, to networking events and peer lending circles, all of their innovative programs and services are designed to increase the self-sufficiency and success of women, families and communities in the North.

Every month, they offer a series of free workshops on Wednesdays, all available at a distance. PARO is located in Thunder Bay, but the workshops are available to residents by using the Contact North network. They are open to both men and women.  In Parry Sound, there are currently two Paro Circles to learn more speak with Sonya Felsman

Getting Started

Help for new entrepreneurs and businesses

Helping women to start their own businesses is what PARO does best. Our main office is located in Thunder Bay but our programs take us across Northern and Eastern Ontario (all except the Greater Toronto Area) and includes service delivery to vulnerable populations, Francophone, Indigenous, and Immigrant women and communities.

At PARO, we help women turn their business ideas into reality through business development programs, advisory services and technical resources. We also work to encourage more women and youth to pursue enterprising activities, to improve access to business and social enterprise development training, and to increase economic security for women and youth.

PARO can support any and every woman to start a new business so what are you waiting for?

Start-up programs include:

1. PAROBiz

PAROBiz is an innovative and comprehensive women-focused economic security program that will focus on building sustainable livelihoods for diverse low income women by starting and growing their businesses.  PAROBiz provides women with the counselling, skill development, experiential learning, networking and formalized mentoring opportunities, and financial support that they need to build their enterprises and, ultimately, lead to economic security. 

Circles & Clusters

PARO on Wheels

PARO Presents Gift Shop

 2. Making A Difference

Investing in Women’s Futures: offers business and employment development services to women at PARO Centre or through PARO on Wheels throughout Northern Ontario. The program offers business counselling, weekly workshops, on-line workshops, access to financing, and tele-sessions.

After women start their business through the Making a Difference program, PARO offers them the ‘Accelerated Placement Agency’ to assist women entrepreneurs who wish to hire staff, to teach them what they need to know about regulations and the ‘step by steps’ of hiring, and to help them grow their business to the next level.

3. Breaking Barriers – Building Bridges

Breaking Barriers-Building Bridges offers women and men with disabilities and/or on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), or Canadian Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) essential support to develop a business on their own terms. Eligible individuals may qualify for:

  • Start-up Grants for their businesses
  • Business development assistance- coaching, and counselling
  • Income supports
  • Employment supports

This program is for individuals, both men and women, who feel that working independently through self-employment will help them reach their goals for success.  This project is funded in part by ODSP.


Follow these links for other Getting Started programs and services.

Content was provided by the Paro Centre, see their website for more details.

Translate »