Minister Ng announces Women Entrepreneurship Strategy investments

News release

Government of Canada investing over $4.2 million to support women entrepreneurs in southwestern Ontario

August 9, 2019 – London, Ontario

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, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, joined Kate Young, Member of Parliament for London West, and Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, to announce an investment of over $4.2 million in women entrepreneurs and organizations supporting women entrepreneurs in London and other communities in southwestern Ontario. This program is administered through FedDev Ontario.

The following women-owned or -led businesses will receive up to $100,000 through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to help them grow their business and reach new export markets:

  • Shaw’s Ice Cream, located in St. Thomas, which will launch new products, set up an innovation lab for product development, and create six new jobs
  • Borm Capital, located in Aylmer, in collaboration with ETBO Tool & Die, also located in Aylmer, which will acquire a power generator, improve production processes, expand exports to the European Union, and create 10 new jobs
  • Stiris Research, located in London, which will expand the company’s clinical trial management software, accelerate sales to the United States, and create six new jobs
  • A Couple of Squares, located in London, which will purchase equipment to automate the production process and expand to e-commerce platforms
  • Scribendi, located in Chatham, which will incorporate an artificial intelligence–based grammar error corrector into its platform; expand exports to the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom; and create two jobs
  • DOZR, located in Kitchener, which will use artificial intelligence to build an equipment management portal and create five jobs
  • Reko International Group, located in Windsor, which will create a new robotic automation system that will help the company increase its market globally

In addition, Minister Ng announced London-based Pillar Nonprofit Network as a WES Ecosystem Fund (Regional Stream) recipient. It will be receiving $3,585,303 to deliver the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network, which proposes to broaden and diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem supporting women, through inclusive design and Indigenous knowledge and practice. This will support 150 new women-led social enterprises and expand 75 existing ones, offer 10 women-centered innovation training sessions to 250 people in 12 communities, and provide access to $3.5 million in new capital through the Women Impact Investor Network.

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-owned and -led businesses across London and Ontario innovate, grow, and export to new markets.”
– Kate Young, Member of Parliament for London West

“The women entrepreneurs and business leaders of London and southwestern Ontario make incredible contributions to our economy and communities every day. I’m proud to be part of a government that takes women’s economic empowerment seriously. From tackling pay equity to modernizing parental leave, this government is taking action on gender equality, and that’s good for Canada and good for Ontario because when women succeed, we all succeed.”
– Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North 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 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


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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