Today, women-led businesses makes up 15% of total exports in Canada.

Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, BDC, and Export Development Canada (EDC) have partnered to publish research exploring the barriers women entrepreneurs face when exporting. The research will be published in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a Government of Canada initiative to serve as a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices for women entrepreneurs. 

“What we know is exporting leads to huge growth opportunities for Canadian women entrepreneurs and these women have global ambitions,” said Jennifer Cooke, EDC corporate lead for women in trade. “What if we could do more to help them? What would be possible then? The research findings will enable all of us to better understand the challenges women face so that we can better support them to take the export plunge and take on the world of opportunities.”

The research will be conducted by Clare Beckton, executive in residence at the Carleton University’s Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work, and Janice McDonald, founder of The Beacon Agency. It will include a national survey of women entrepreneurs across the country to understand why women export, the associated benefits and barriers to export, as well as identify helpful resources.

“At BDC, we believe women entrepreneurs have enormous untapped potential,” said Laura Didyk, national lead women entrepreneurs. “Through this partnership, we will better understand the challenges facing women in exporting, so we can best support them at every point in their journey.” In a 2018 report, the researchers revealed that innovation contributions from women entrepreneurs in Canada are under recognized as they often fall outside the tech sector. A 2016 report found they have difficulty securing funding from financial institutions because they’re mistakenly perceived as risk averse and unable to generate the same economic growth as men.

about the contributors

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification.