Minister Champagne announces investment in women entrepreneurs

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

July 3, 2019 – Baie-Comeau, Quebec

The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, has been touring the Côte-Nord region and meeting with local woman entrepreneurs and business leaders to celebrate women’s entrepreneurship in Canada and share how the federal government is helping women succeed.

Today, during his visit to Baie-Comeau, Minister Champagne, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced an investment, through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF), of up to $100,000 in Granijem Inc., a woman-owned and -led company that specializes in the production of high-quality granite. This investment will help the company increase its production capacity and improve productivity through the construction of a new building and the acquisition of new production equipment.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality. These include addressing pay equity, providing more affordable child care and putting an end to gender-based violence.

“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do; it’s good for the bottom line. That’s why we launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a strategy that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by increasing their access to financing, networks and advice. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“The women entrepreneurs and business leaders of the Côte-Nord region play a major role in our economy and our communities every day. I am proud to be part of a government that is serious about the economic empowerment of women. From pay equity to improved parental leave, the government is taking the actions required to improve gender equality. This is good for Canada and for Côte-Nord. When women succeed, everyone succeeds.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • 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 Women Entrepreneurship Fund was allocated $20 million. Following the call for applications held in fall 2018, over 3,000 applications were received and over 200 projects were funded. The Government of Canada is pleased to be able to support approximately 100 more projects by investing an additional $10 million in the Women Entrepreneurship Fund. With this new 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 programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to help women, including 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.

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