Chilliwack immigrants pool talents for Women of the World Fair

The Chilliwack Women of the World Fair will feature several businesses run by new Canadians.

A business fair being held in Chilliwack is an opportunity to showcase several of the community’s small businesses owned and operated by immigrants.

The first annual Women of the World Fair is on Friday, Feb. 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 Sutton Business Centre on the corner of Young Rd. and Princess Ave.

Several small businesses, ranging from Mexican import products, catering, mural painting, jewelry, henna art, local pork and pepperoni, Dutch cheeses, and more will be promoting their products and services.

Twenty one businesses will be represented.

“We have some really creative immigrant businesses in Chilliwack and this is an opportunity for the exhibitors to showcase their businesses,” said Janet Les, co-founder of Chilliwack’s Women of the World.

Women of the World is a social network for immigrant women that was started in 2008 by Les, whose parents were immigrants and who works with immigrants through Chilliwack Community Services, and her cousin Doutzen Hofstede.

Hofstede had been attending a similar group in Abbotsford and noticed that several other immigrant women from Chilliwack were also attending. She felt Chilliwack needed a Chilliwack specific club.

Every month, on the last Friday of the month, the group gathers to socialize, discuss different topics, and meet new people.

“A lot of woman arrive in Chilliwack and sometimes they don’t know anyone,” said Les. “And it’s not always easy making friends. But at these meetings, it is very easy.”

Last month, the event had 20 women in attendance representing 14 countries, including Iran, Netherlands, Romania, Sudan, Jamaica, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, South Korea and Canada.

“We are a diverse group,” said Les. “For some women, a major incentive to come to WoW is to practice their English conversation skills. WoW is for people who are interested in multiculturalism, and in learning from one another.”

For more information, contact Janet Les at