Minister Ng attended the Women Deliver Conference and announced investments in women entrepreneurs

News release

Government of Canada investing up to $16.1 million to help women entrepreneurs

June 5, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia

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.

This week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, participated in the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver and met with women entrepreneurs in Vancouver and Richmond to share how the Government of Canada is supporting them in starting up, scaling up, and accessing new markets.

On June 3, Minister Ng addressed the audience at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, speaking about how businesses can build workplaces that are more inclusive. Later, she delivered remarks on the importance of getting more women into politics. Minister Ng then met with women entrepreneurs at the Richmond Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the Government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy can support their success.

On June 4, Minister Ng participated in a panel discussion on advancing women in the economy and 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. Minister Ng also announced an investment of up to $4.6 million through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund to help Groundswell Education Society, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., and Women’s Enterprise Centre close existing gaps in the women entrepreneurship ecosystem.

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, which will bring the total to $30 million and support approximately 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 concluded her trip on June 5 at the Invest Canada Conference, where she announced the successful recipients of a $50-million investment under the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative that will support Canada’s clean tech industry. 


“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. These 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.

  • In Budget 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Fund was allocated $20 million. Following the call for applications held in fall 2018, over 3,000 applications were received and more than 200 projects were funded. The Government of Canada is pleased to be able to support approximately 100 more projects by investing an additional $10 million in the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to provide a total of $30 million to support women-owned and -led businesses across Canada in growing their businesses and reaching new markets.

  • WES programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to advance gender equality. These initiatives include 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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