The Scotiabank Women Initiative

The Scotiabank Women Initiative has collaborated with Dr. Barbara Orser and Dr. Allan Riding of the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Together, they have created learning aids designed to assist with the development of your business.

Managing Your Social Capital explains the construction of your social network so you can identify and map out your own spheres of social capital. This learning aid will help you develop a strong social capital plan, which includes an inventory of social assets and a strategy to fill potential gaps. You’ll also be able to take inventory of your social assets and consider ways to develop “value added” relationships that can grow your business. 

Social capital is comprised of meaningful business relationships or ‘know-who.’ The foundation of social capital is trust, the glue that binds all relationships. Anchored in trust, social capital is comprised of three intangible elements:

1. Psycho-social or emotional support

  • Set business goals and expectations
  • Build your confidence, provide moral support
  • Identify relevant role models
  • Provide back-up (e.g., crises, when stretched)
  • Act as a sounding board

2. Information and advice

  • Mentor(s) with industry knowledge or experience growing an enterprise
  • Advisor(s) to provide professional advice (e.g. accountant, information systems or technology expert, financial consultant)

3. Access to different types of resources

  • Providers of financial capitals (e.g., banker), distribution networks (e.g., wholesalers/retailers), domestic or international business partners, lead customers
  • Facilitate introductions and referrals to enhance reputation and visibility

By mapping your social capital, you can develop a clear idea of where your assets reside, and where your social capital can be developed further.


Studies conducted at the Telfer School of Management have found that women entrepreneurs tend to rely more on family and friends than industry or professional contacts compared to men. Remember that industry or professional contacts can provide valuable sector specific intelligence, enhance your reputation, and may be potential customers, suppliers or investors.

If you’re a Canadian, woman-led entrepreneur, download the learning aid PDF to begin your assessment today.