Minister Ng announces investments in women entrepreneurs in Vancouver

News release

Government of Canada investing $16.1 million to support women entrepreneurs in Vancouver and communities across Canada

June 5, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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.

Yesterday, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, joined local women entrepreneurs at SFU VentureLabs to celebrate women’s entrepreneurship in Canada and share how the federal government is helping women entrepreneurs succeed.

Minister Ng announced an investment of nearly $1.5 million in 15 women-led companies in the Vancouver area through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF). The successful recipients are each receiving an investment of up to $100,000, which will help them innovate, grow, and access new markets.

In response to the high volume of WEF applicants, Minister Ng announced the Government’s commitment to investing an additional $10 million to bolster the Fund, supporting 100 more projects from among the impressive proposals received during the competitive process that took place in fall 2018. Of that investment, $2.5 million will be dedicated to project proposals submitted by Indigenous women.

Minister Ng also announced an investment of up to $4.6 million in three women-led organizations in B.C. through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, which will help them close existing gaps in the women entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality. These efforts 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

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the full and equal participation of women in our economy and society. This is why we created the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses in Canada in the next six years. Today’s investments will help women-led businesses across British Columbia innovate, grow and export to new markets.”
– The Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre

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 child care.

  • 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 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.

Associated links


Corinne Havard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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