Invest WindsorEssex funds women-led businesses through FedDev Ontario RE3: Rebuild, Reopen, Revive

Invest WindsorEssex funds hundreds of women-led businesses through FedDev Ontario RE3: Rebuild, Reopen, Revive program


The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre, a division of Invest WindsorEssex, in collaboration with regional partners, has supported 379 southern Ontario women-led SMEs to rebuild, reopen and revive their businesses by positioning them for rapid and positive post-pandemic economic recovery.

Windsor-Essex, ON – The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre (SBEC) at Invest WindsorEssex has successfully concluded the RE3: Rebuild, Reopen, Revive program, delivering nearly $1.8 million in funding to 379 women-led small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario. These contributions assisted businesses in maintaining 2,428 jobs and creating an additional 479 jobs since the program launch in May 2020.

Women-led businesses often face unique challenges, which have been amplified by the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. RE3 provided businesses in SBEC’s service area, from Windsor to Toronto, with the support necessary to sustain and grow their operations during these uncertain times.

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) delivered $2 million in funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), with SBEC providing non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to help eligible women-led businesses with key re-opening expenditures, including:

  • Acquisition of reusable personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Reconfiguration of workspaces to accommodate social distancing impacts; and
  • Enhancing online capacity to improve accessibility and client service.

Most of the businesses who received support from RE3 were in key sectors such as manufacturing, health care, retail, food services, professional services, personal care services and education.


“We are pleased we were able to step up and work alongside the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation to make available the RE3 Program. It’s an initiative that has supported and strengthened women-led businesses across southern Ontario during this unprecedented economic crisis and effectively positioned them for a positive post-pandemic economic recovery.”

– Sabrina DeMarco, Executive Director, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre, Invest WindsorEssex

“The Government of Canada is proud to support Invest WindsorEssex and the RE3 initiative. This investment is helping 379 women-led businesses to weather the pandemic storm, ensuring these businesses are able to remain operational and protecting over 2,400 jobs in the region. Together we will continue to work to ensure women entrepreneurs in southern Ontario are well-positioned to build back better.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The businesses, workers and organizations in Windsor-Essex and across southern Ontario’s are source of strength for our region’s economy. We know all businesses – and women-led businesses in particular – have faced challenges as a result of the pandemic. We are proud to support Invest WindsorEssex in delivering funding that is making a difference for many local businesses.”
– Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh

“Never in my entire life would I have predicted my ability to navigate through and adapt to every situation that has been thrown at us. Despite this uphill battle, we have increased our online revenue and regained the same amount of clients we had prior to the initial shut down! We also increased our revenue overall. Thank you very much for launching this program. It has been a tremendous help.”

– Sawyer Telegdy, Shred Shop (Windsor, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

“The most incredible part of this project was the knowingness that we had support, back up and acknowledgement as an important contributing member of society. In our industry, with our women-led business, we are often forgotten when it comes to announcements, projects, government communication, etc., and having this recognition meant a lot to us. It was very helpful in keeping our energy up and contributing to the persistence we needed to demonstrate in order to keep our business alive and running as successfully as possible through this pandemic. Thank you for acknowledging women-led businesses!”

– Erin McFadden, Tandem Studios (Toronto, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

“Our RE3 project was to upgrade our website to be able to take and fulfill orders for individual ready-to-enjoy prepared meals. It helped strengthen our web presence … and we were able to resolve some minor issues that could have turned out to be major detractors for customers to order our food online. Thank you for giving small businesses like ours the opportunity to improve and upgrade our business, especially in these trying times. Because of the funding, we were able to allocate funds to hiring more people, too.”
– Amisha Moorjani, The Food Quotient Inc. (Brampton, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

“We have always relied on our retail store and wholesale market for our business. By innovating and offering home delivery, we have explored a new market. Offering a safe way to shop online has been important for our customer base. The biggest success of this project has been watching the growth: this growth does not just affect our family business, but over 48 independently owned businesses we work with. It has been such a joy helping share their stories and offer great products to the communities we deliver to. This [online] platform will be a permanent platform for many to continue to sell their products.”
– Marianne Edward, Sheldon Creek Dairy (Loretto, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

“The shop is now set up with air purifiers, hand sanitizing stations, a plexiglass screen at the cash desk and a safe waiting area at the entrance. And having new hardware and current software has provided me with ability to open an online store and a whole new revenue stream without the cash outlay for new inventory. I can’t express my gratitude enough for this program and for all the help I have been given along the way.”

– Monique Doepel, James Street Bookseller (Hamilton, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

“The arts and education industries have been hit harder than many during the COVID-19 crisis, and our business sits at the intersection of these two areas. Having the unique opportunity to expand the footprint and scope of our business will be a benefit that we feel for years to come …. We’ve heard more than once that the proactive steps and messaging that we implemented over the summer (of 2020) were directly responsible for new registrations — many families who opted to keep children in virtual learning or homeschool still enrolled in our programming because of the safety protocols we put in place. [RE3] was not only helped financially, but it also served as encouragement for our entire team during a difficult time. It gave us a project and goals to undertake that helped us move proactively toward expansion of our business and the safe reopening of our studio.”

– Rachel Schwarz, Brio Academy Inc. (Chatham, Ont.), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre RE3 Recipient

Quick Facts
  • Since 1992, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre has provided thousands of entrepreneurs with the training and support necessary to start and grow successful businesses in Windsor and Essex County. We offer guidance and complimentary professional advice from ideation and concept, through start-up and operation, to the early growth and expansion stages of business.
  • Invest WindsorEssex is a not-for-profit organization supported by the City of Windsor and County of Essex. We are responsible for advancing economic development to grow and sustain prosperity in the region.
  • Invest WindsorEssex (for southern Ontario) and Northumberland CFDC (for Eastern Ontario), in collaboration with regional partners, delivered the RE3: Rebuild, Reopen, Revive initiative to support women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural and urban communities across Ontario. Both organizations received $2 million to provide non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to help eligible women-led businesses. Over 700 women-led businesses were supported through this initiative.

Sabrina DeMarco
Executive Director
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre, Invest WindsorEssex

519-253-6900 ext. 2232