July 10, 2019 – Montréal, Quebec
The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness because when women succeed, everyone succeeds.
The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, joined local women entrepreneurs, business leaders and representatives of the École des entrepreneurs du Québec to celebrate women’s entrepreneurship in Canada and share how the federal government is helping women succeed.
Minister Ng announced an investment, through the WES Ecosystem Fund, of up to $3.2 million in the École des entrepreneurs du Québec, an organization that develops entrepreneurial skills by providing an accessible, innovative and collaborative learning environment.
The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality. These efforts include addressing pay equity, introducing 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
“We are committed to supporting women in business and ensuring their full and equal participation in our economy. That is why the Government of Canada created the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which aims to double the number of women-owned businesses in Canada within six years. Today’s investments will help women-owned and women-led businesses here in Montréal and all across Quebec grow, innovate and export to new markets.”
– Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for Outremont
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 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 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.