The Government of Canada has announced increased funding and action around female entrepreneurship. Titled the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, this comprehensive plan will help women grow their business through increased access to financing, talent, networks and mentorship.
The Benefits of a Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
Despite recent advances, gender inequality is still an issue in the world of entrepreneurship. Just 16 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada are majority owned by females. Women face barriers in accessing capital, are less likely to seek debt and equity financing, and are more likely to be rejected or receive less money. The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s future competitiveness and prosperity.
This is why the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy formed a central pillar of Budget 2018. This $2 billion investment seeks to double the number of female-owned and female-led businesses by 2025. This complements the government’s broader initiatives to help women, including measures of pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable childcare.
Key Action Areas
The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy focuses on four key action areas to address the challenges female entrepreneurs face.
Helping Women-Led Businesses Grow
Through an investment in areas such as mentoring, skills development and networking, the Government of Canada will help these businesses grow and increase participation in federal procurement and export.
Increasing Access to Capital
Alongside partners, the Government of Canada will make additional capital available to help companies grow and access new markets.
Improving Access to Federal Business Innovation Programming
Reforms in federal business innovation programming will focus on improving the participation of under-represented groups, including women entrepreneurs.
Enhancing Data and Knowledge
The Government of Canada will fund the creation of an independent Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, to gather and share information, data and best practices for women entrepreneurs.
Best for Business
“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do; it’s good for the bottom line, says The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion.
“That’s why we launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a strategy that seeks to double the number of women-owned and women-led businesses by increasing their access to financing, networks and advice. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return. I’m thrilled that the WES Ecosystem Fund will help foster women entrepreneurship from coast to coast to coast.”
Applications for the Women Entrepreneurship Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund can be made through the federal government’s website at canada.ca/women-entrepreneurship.
Here to Help
No matter what stage of business, or what problem you face, Small Business BC offers a range of seminars and one-on-one advisory sessions to suit any business.