The Government of Canada is advancing women‘s economic empowerment with the first ever WomenEntrepreneurship Strategy, a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced an investment of $1.7 million in ventureLAB, a local tech incubator. This investment will enable ventureLAB to help a greater number of women-led tech companies that build software- or hardware-enabled solutions for priority growth sectors. These include digital health, advanced manufacturing and digital media. This funding is administered through FedDev Ontario.
The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality. These efforts include addressing pay equity, providing more affordable child care 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.
- In Budget 2018, the WES Ecosystem Fund was allocated $85 million to help non-profit, third-party organizations deliver support for women entrepreneurs and address gaps in the ecosystem.
- In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada allocated $20 million to the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. Following the call for applications held in fall 2018, over 3,000 applications were received and over 200 projects were funded. The Government is pleased to be able to support approximately 100 more projects by investing an additional $10 million in the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. With this additional investment, the Government is providing a total of $30 million to women-owned and -led businesses across Canada to grow their businesses and reach new markets.
- WES complements our government’s broader initiatives to advance gender equality. These initiatives include measures on pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable child care.
- Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
- Just 16% of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned.
- Only 11.2% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.2% 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.
- Final funding is subject to negotiation of contribution agreements.