Minister Chagger opens first BDC boot camp in Montréal

News release

July 11, 2018, Montréal, Quebec

The Government of Canada recognizes the vital role that entrepreneurship and small businesses play in improving women’s economic security and in strengthening the middle class. Women entrepreneurs face barriers when it comes to starting a business, raising capital, expanding and exporting. The Government of Canada understands this and, through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, is making important investments to drive meaningful change and create the proper ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to thrive.

This was the message delivered by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, as she kicked off the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) first Women in Technology Boot Camp in Montréal.

The boot camp, taking place as part of the 8th annual Startupfest, brought together women entrepreneurs from across Canada to hear from experienced business leaders and learn how to reach for, and achieve, their entrepreneurial dreams. Similar boot camps will be held across the country throughout the rest of 2018. These boot camps are a key part of Canada’s first Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $2-billion plan to support women entrepreneurs’ participation in the economy.

While at the boot camp, the Minister announced a key initiative under the Strategy.

The Government of Canada is launching a competitive process to establish an independent, third party-led Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. The Hub will collect, compile and share information on women’s entrepreneurship for a variety of stakeholders, with the goal of adding to the limited data and research in Canada on women entrepreneurs. The deadline to reply to the request for proposals is September 7, 2018. More information is available at


“Our government recognizes that women entrepreneurs face unique challenges as they move through the phases of business development. We are committed to creating a more equal, inclusive economy that works for everyone and creates good middle-class jobs. The BDC boot camps will help women entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast meet mentors, share stories and learn from one another. This is so important for women looking to start and grow their business but, unfortunately, is something that many women have not had access to up to now. We also recognize that there is a lack of good information on women’s entrepreneurship. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will help fill that gap by providing a wealth of information to better equip women business leaders and the organizations supporting them, including governments and financial institutions.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“Our WE initiative focuses not only on financing but also on bringing all players together to provide the right tools, advice and networking opportunities so women entrepreneurs can really tap into their potential. The WE Talk Business boot camps are an excellent way to start! BDC is a proud partner in Canada’s first Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.”
– Michael Denham, President and Chief Executive Officer, BDC

Quick facts

  • The boot camp was held as part of Startupfest, a five-day annual event in Montréal that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to explore the challenges of being a startup in Canada and to develop recommendations on how to successfully start and grow a business.

  • Less than 16 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprises are majority owned by women.

  • Budget 2018 committed nearly $2 billion toward the development of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

  • Budget 2018 announced that the BDC will increase its Women in Technology Fund by $130 million. The fund, which was launched in November 2016, started at $50 million. In 2017, it was increased by a further $20 million. The fund is now $200 million and is the largest VC fund for women in Canada and the second largest in the world.

  • Through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, the Government of Canada is working to double the number of women-led businesses by 2025.

  • There are hundreds of programs and services to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. The new Innovation Canada platform helps to match businesses with the most fitting programs and services they need in about two minutes.

Associated links


Follow Minister Chagger on social media.
Twitter: @MinofSBT
Instagram: minofsbt

Sandra Aubé
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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