MP Darren Fisher announces federal investment in Dartmouth's Made with Local

News release

Snack food company gets a share of Government of Canada fund to support women entrepreneurs

August 29, 2019 – Dartmouth, NS

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, Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, announced a $100,000 investment in Made with Local Snack Food Inc., a Dartmouth business led by CEO, Sheena Russell. This funding will help the company purchase automated processing equipment to increase production, meet the growing demand for its products as well as explore new export markets.

Made with Local is a sustainable snack food company that partners with social enterprises, farmers and producers in Nova Scotia. The company's products are distributed in 750 stores across Canada.

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

“Made with Local is a true Dartmouth success story. Sheena Russell and her team have worked hard to produce a great product in an ethical and socially responsible way. By partnering with social enterprises like DASC Industries, Made with Local has ensured that their success helps cut down barriers by providing individuals at DASC with opportunities to learn and develop skills through its vocational training programs. Sheena showcases the incredible contributions women entrepreneurs make to our economy and community every day.”

     – Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour

“We’re social innovators. Creating foods at this scale, with a focus on optimizing community impact is something you don’t see happening elsewhere in Canada. Every Real Food Bar purchased has a positive ripple effect outwards into our economy and community. When you’re choosing products that are made with a greater purpose behind them, it’s an act of love. It’s an active choice to make change and vote with your dollars, and putting your money where your values lie. And it’s what the world needs right now.”

     – Sheena Russell, CEO, Made with Local

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.

  • 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 supporting 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 the Government of Canada’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 gradually add $150 billion to the value of goods produced and services provided in Canada by 2026.

  • Just 16% of small and medium-sized enterprises (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.


Megan Blumenthal
Office of Darren Fisher, MP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour

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