July 3, 2019 – Vernon, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada
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.
Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister for Rural Economic Development, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced investments totaling $1,051,280 for two organizations in British Columbia:
- Community Futures of North Okanagan (CFNO): Funding of $575,000 from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy’s Ecosystem Fund for CFNO’s “MOMENTUM – Business Accelerator Program for Women,” a business scale-up program catering to women entrepreneurs in the North Okanagan region that will provide business development support, skills training, specialized services, and mentorship opportunities for 40 participants over four years.
- Community Futures of Shuswap (CFS): Funding of $476,280 from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy’s Ecosystem Fund for the “Tsuts’weye Project” that will support women entrepreneurs to increase their entrepreneurial skills to create, maintain, and operate a profitable, competitive business on a sustainable basis.
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.
“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
“A strong country is one where anyone has a chance to contribute, regardless of gender or where they reside. The funding we are announcing today will help women in rural communities develop their business and contribute to Canada’s overall prosperity.”
– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development
“Community Futures North Okanagan is committed to helping entrepreneurs reach their goals. We believe that supporting women to grow and accelerate their business through training, mentorship, access to professional services and connecting them to a network of peers will ensure strong, well-managed growth that will benefit the overall economy in the region.
– Leigha Horsfield, General Manager, Community Futures North Okanagan
“We know from experience that some business opportunities are never fulfilled because of a lack or resources to support the early stages of development. We also know that there are many aspiring women entrepreneurs who have been waiting for the right opportunity to launch their business ideas but were unsure of how to proceed. The funding we have received for the “Tsuts’weye Project” will enable the development of a strong support network to train, mentor and empower women entrepreneurs in the Shuswap and greatly enhance their chance of success.
– Rob Marshall, Executive Director, Community Futures Shuswap
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 the Government of Canada achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.
As a part of Budget 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Fund was allocated $20 million, resulting in funding for over 200 projects. The Government of Canada has since invested an additional $10 million to fund another 100 projects, for a total of $30 million and 300 projects.
Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
Just 16 per cent of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned. Only 11.2 per cent of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.2 per cent of majority male-owned SMEs.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada 2015/16 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship indicated that Canada had the highest percentage of women participating in early-stage activity (13.3 per cent) and the fifth highest in terms of female ownership of established businesses among comparable innovation-based economies in 2016.