Encouraging women entrepreneurship in Quebec for a stronger economy

News release

Ministers Mélanie Joly and Mary Ng announce over $10 million in investments to support women entrepreneurs

Montréal, Quebec, September 2, 2020Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadian businesses in their diversity, which is key to a successful economic recovery that is strong and inclusive in the context of a pandemic. Only 16% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women. Yet studies show that by advancing women’s participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP. The full and equal contribution of women to economic development is desirable and essential for the country’s competitiveness; it is not just the right thing to do, but also the most profitable.

However, women entrepreneurs are confronted with obstacles as they move forward on their path—and the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are bringing up new challenges for them to face. As their presence expands in a range of economic sectors, whether it be agri-food, manufacturing, metal products, life sciences or textiles, the Government of Canada is making sure to provide them with adequate support to strengthen their economic power through direct assistance or by making it easier to access the resources and capital they need.

Support tailored to women entrepreneurs

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, are announcing federal investments of over $10 million to help women entrepreneurs in Quebec to access the resources they need to affirm their presence and ensure the strong, sustainable growth of their businesses. This funding, granted by CED, will boost 38 promising projects that will enable businesses to grow, innovate, develop and create jobs.

Among the projects supported, seven associations and organizations currently benefiting from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund will receive additional assistance totalling $3,146,000 to help women entrepreneurs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s announcement is proof once again of the Government of Canada’s commitment to women entrepreneurs and the importance it places on the growth of their businesses. This investment attests to a genuine willingness to create a diverse, inclusive economy that promotes prosperity and better quality of life for all. The Government of Canada recognizes the value in having women participate in the economy, which is essential for the country’s competitiveness and prosperity. They are also playing a major role in Canada’s economic recovery.

Additional information on the projects is provided in a related backgrounder.


“We have made concrete commitments to enable women to participate fully in the economy: we are here to help them gain easier access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to grow their businesses. We are more determined than ever to prove that economic growth comes through equal opportunities for both sexes. Our government has set itself the mission to boost the growth of Canadian businesses and the economic diversification of communities, and this can only be done with the key support of our women entrepreneurs.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

“We understand the challenges businesses are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those challenges can be amplified for women entrepreneurs. Today’s investments will help women entrepreneurs in communities across Quebec get access to the targeted support they need now, and on the road to recovery.”

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

“Canadian small businesses from coast to coast to coast are the heart of our communities, and we are committed to helping them rebound as we come out of the pandemic. Many of these small businesses are owned by women entrepreneurs, and we have adapted our support to ensure more Canadian businesses get the help they need. We will continue to do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe and our economy strong.”

Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for Outremont and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED.

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development. With its 12 regional business offices, CED is accompanying businesses, supporting organizations and all regions across Quebec into tomorrow’s economy.

  • The funding announced today comes under the WES Ecosystem Fund, the Canadian Experiences Fund and CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

  • The Government of Canada is advancing women's economic empowerment with the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $5-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.


Media Relations
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Stay connected

Follow CED on social media
Consult CED’s news

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: