The Women Entrepreneurship Fund will provide direct funding to women-owned and women-led businesses
The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness because when women succeed, everyone succeeds.
That’s why in Budget 2018, the federal government launched the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, who were joined by women entrepreneurs and leaders, announced the launch of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund and participated in a panel on women entrepreneurship.
The fund will invest $20 million over two years to help women-owned and women-led businesses grow and reach export markets. It will provide successful applicants with up to $100,000 in funding (non-repayable contribution) they can use to grow their existing businesses.
The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements Government of Canada efforts to advance gender equality, which include addressing pay equity, introducing more affordable childcare and putting an end to gender-based violence.
- The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) will help women start and grow their businesses by improving access to financing, talent, networks and expertise through an investment of nearly $2 billion.
- The strategy will help our government achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.
- WES programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to help women, including measures on pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable childcare.
- Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
- Fewer than 16% of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned.
- Only 8.4% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.8% of majority male-owned SMEs.
- The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada 2015/16 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship indicated that in 2016 Canada had the highest percentage of women participating in early-stage activity (13.3%) and the fifth highest in terms of female ownership of established businesses among comparable innovation-based economies.