MP Arseneault announces federal investment of $2.2 million in CBDC Restigouche’s national project to help women entrepreneurs 

News release

July 4, 2019 – Campbellton, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

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, René Arseneault, Member of Parliament for Madawaska—Restigouche, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced a $2.2 million investment over four years in CBDC Restigouche through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy’s Ecosystem Fund. This will support the launch of a pan-Canadian, bilingual project building the capacity of loan agents who work regularly with women entrepreneurs by developing and disseminating web-based tools to add value to existing resources. It will help address barriers women entrepreneurs face in accessing financing.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy compliments the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality. These efforts include addressing pay equity, providing more affordable childcare 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

“If we want Canada’s economy to run on all cylinders, everyone must have the opportunity to succeed. Our government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy will help business women reach their highest potential and provide their full contribution to our economy by supporting them with the tools they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.” 

-       The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

"The women entrepreneurs and business leaders of Campbellton make incredible contributions to our economy and community every day. I’m proud to be a part of a government that takes women’s economic empowerment seriously. From tackling pay equity to modernizing parental leave, this government is taking action on gender equality because when women succeed, we all succeed.”

-       René Arseneault, Member of Parliament for Madawaska—Restigouche

"Becoming an entrepreneur is an excellent way for women to achieve financial independence. Still, in many cases, women are more likely than men to be refused financing.  This project will address the barriers women face when they submit an application for financing, by improving access to financing, and ensuring better access to resources, programs, and support systems.”

-       Michel Guitard, Director General, CBDC Restigouche

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 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. Following a call for applications held in fall 2018 and which resulted in over 3,000 applications received, 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 advance gender equality. These initiatives include measures on pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable childcare.

  • 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. 

Associated links


Bronwen Mosher
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Michel Guitard
Director General
CBDC Restigouche

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