Minister Ng announces Women Entrepreneurship Strategy investment

News release

Government of Canada investing $1.7 million to support women entrepreneurs in York Region                                                                            

August 7, 2019 – Markham, Ontario

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.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced an investment of $1.7 million in ventureLAB, a local tech incubator. This investment will enable ventureLAB to help a greater number of women-led tech companies that build software- or hardware-enabled solutions for priority growth sectors. These include digital health, advanced manufacturing and digital media. This funding is administered through FedDev Ontario.

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.

Quotes

“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. VentureLAB has a track record of success in York Region, which is why this is such a smart investment with economic and social returns.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“We are excited to launch Tech Undivided. This initiative will support women working in tech by bridging gender and diversity gaps and creating equity in tech, a sector in which women have been historically under-represented. By leveraging the expertise of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and executives of all genders, Tech Undivided will strengthen not only Canada’s global competitiveness but also the talent pipeline of both women entrepreneurs and women working in tech.”
– Melissa Chee, President and CEO, ventureLAB

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 WES Ecosystem Fund was allocated $85 million to help non-profit, third-party organizations deliver support for women entrepreneurs and address gaps in the ecosystem.

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

  • WES complements 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.

  • Just 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.

  • Final funding is subject to negotiation of contribution agreements.

Associated links

Contacts

Corinne Havard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion
Corinne.havard@canada.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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