Minister Ng launches call for applications to deliver Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

As Canada works to finish the fight against COVID-19, the government is committed to ensuring a strong, inclusive economic recovery that addresses systemic gaps and empowers women in the economy.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the launch of a call for applications to deliver the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The loan fund is a key element of Budget 2021’s commitment to accelerate the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, helping more women entrepreneurs access the funding they need to start up, scale up and export to new markets.

The call for applications invites not-for-profit business support organizations with significant experience in the management and delivery of loans to apply to deliver the loan fund. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to assess business plans, fulfill and underwrite loans, and reach groups that have traditionally experienced greater difficulty in accessing financing, such as start-ups or individuals from under-represented communities.

Applicants will also be evaluated on the scope of their proposal in helping ensure that the loan fund has national reach, as well as their ability to provide additional wraparound services such as training or mentoring.

Once implemented, the loan fund will provide loans of up to $50,000 to women-led businesses in all sectors of the economy, including incorporated businesses, sole proprietorships, and for-profit co-operatives and social enterprises.

This progress builds on the historic investments the government has made since 2015 to support women-from integrating gender-based analysis into policy decisions, legislating pay equity and enhancing the Canada Child Benefit to providing special funding to support women entrepreneurs during the pandemic and working to make Canada-wide child care a reality through a $30-billion investment in Budget 2021.

Quotes

“As Canada continues on the road to recovery from COVID-19, our government knows that supporting women is the smartest thing we can do. I am thrilled to launch the call for applications to deliver the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The successful applicants will play a crucial role in providing direct access to capital so women-led businesses can start up, scale up and access new markets. It is investments like these that will ensure the gains made by women business owners in recent years are not lost to the pandemic.”

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

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a more than $6-billion investment to help increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. In the fall 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government committed to accelerating the work being done under the strategy, which has already helped women across Canada grow their businesses.

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund will provide loans of up to $50,000 to women business owners and entrepreneurs so they can start up, scale up and access new markets.

  • In spring 2020, the government provided an additional $15 million for the WES Ecosystem Fund, enabling existing recipient organizations to provide thousands of women entrepreneurs with access to urgent business support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Through a competitive process, the Government of Canada awarded Ryerson University in Toronto up to $8.62 million over three years to establish the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which is made up of 10 regional hubs that are working together to coordinate activities in different regions. Through Budget 2021, a further $5 million has been put toward enhancing the Hub.

  • Budget 2021 delivers more funding to help businesses make a strong recovery from the pandemic as the economy safely reopens. Highlights include:

  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

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