Supporting Rural Women in Business: An Interview with the Founders of The Rural Collective

What is the Rural Collective? 

Started by Jan and Erin Johnson, “ The Rural Collective is a member-based community where enterprising rural Canadian women can come together for mutual support, ideas and to network with potential collaborative business partners, all with the aim to build and grow sustainable, successful businesses. We have women who are makers, farmers, producers, ranchers, specialty product and service businesses in our community… and a whole lot more. Rural women are creative and innovative in the ways they choose to grow their entrepreneurial ideas and we love seeing all the ways they show up in the marketplace.”   

“Alone, women have power… collectively, they have impact.”

How and why did you create the Rural Collective? 

“We have been working with enterprising women in a lot of ways over the years – from developing and delivering workshops and courses, to writing books and working one-on-one to build websites and develop branding. Helping enterprising rural women is a niche that slowly developed for us over time and we absolutely love helping women get grounded in and grow successful businesses. Launching The Rural Collective in the middle of a pandemic is not something we could have predicted, but it has proved to be the best timing as it has brought women together from across Canada to connect and be in community with each other in a time when disconnection and separation have dominated our lives.” 

What are some next steps for the Rural Collective? 

“The Rural Collective Membership currently includes a directory listing, peer learning sessions, an online group and member profiles on our social media. We’ll soon be launching The Rural Collective Mastermind – a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting that will sharpen a woman’s business and personal skills – and The Rural Collective Marketplace – an online multi-vendor platform where rural women can set up storefronts to sell their products. Everything we do is geared to help women grow and succeed in their businesses with the tools, mindset and resources to help them do that.”

What is the importance of mental wellness in your lives? 

Mental wellness is something we talk about and think about often. We have been juggling a lot of business projects in the past year and often we feel stretched and sometimes overwhelmed. Stepping away from our business roles to do other enjoyable things, talking with our team about how we are all doing with the large number of tasks and responsibilities on our plates, and having open conversations and supporting our members are a few of the things we do. We also partner with other businesses and organizations to share and promote mental wellness for rural women and their families.”

To visit the The Rural Collective website, go to

Check out the Stigma-Free Society’s latest article on rural women entrepreneurs:  “Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Communities: Their Challenges and Successes