Minister Ng announces investment in women entrepreneurs

News release

Government of Canada invests in national ecosystems of support to help more women entrepreneurs succeed

April 15, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness because when women succeed, everyone succeeds.

The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, participated in an even hosted by SheEO and members of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.

Minister Ng announced an up to $2.5-million WES Ecosystem Fund investment in SheEO, an organization that invests in women-led ventures.

After the announcement, Minister Ng participated in a panel alongside Dr. Wendy Cukier, Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Ted Rogers School of Management; Nadia Hamilton, Founder of Magnusmode; and Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO. The panellists discussed ways to use data as a tool to advance women’s entrepreneurship.

To end the day, Minister Ng joined Nate Erskine-Smith, Member of Parliament for Beaches–East York, and Julie Dabrusin, Member of Parliament for Toronto–Danforth, to announce an up to $100,000 investment through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund in Little Robot Friends Inc., a local woman-led business that creates toys that teach children to code.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality through addressing pay equity, introducing 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

“The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy is a key part of our government’s plan to strengthen and grow the economy. The WES Ecosystem Fund will provide non-profit organizations with resources to support women entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses and create good middle-class jobs.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“This government’s new approach to funding organizations building strong ecosystems to grow women entrepreneurs’ impact is not only unique and perfectly timed; it’s a model for the rest of the world. We are excited to be part of their strategy and inspired by Minister Ng’s vision to grow Canada’s economy and export Canadian women’s innovations around the world.”
– Vicki Saunders, Founder, SheEO

“Today’s investment by the Government of Canada in SheEO will contribute to removing the barriers women entrepreneurs report facing and accelerate the growth of women-led enterprises. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with SheEO through the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub as we identify, develop and leverage research and build a network of networks to bolster diverse women entrepreneurship in Canada and build an inclusive innovation ecosystem.”
– Wendy Cukier, Founder, Diversity Institute, and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Ryerson University

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 our government achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.

  • WES programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to help women, including 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.

  • Fewer than 16% of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned.

  • Only 8.4% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.8% 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


Mallory Clyne
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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