Parliamentary Secretary Hébert announces investment in women entrepreneurship

News release

Government of Canada investing up to $910,000 in COlab—Innovation sociale et culture numérique

August 15, 2019 – Alma, Quebec

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, Richard Hébert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Jean, announced a non-repayable investment of up to $910,000 in COlab—Innovation sociale et culture numérique through the WES Ecosystem Fund (Regional Stream).

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality, which 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. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return.”  
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“The women entrepreneurs and business leaders of Quebec drive our economy forward and contribute to our communities every day. The economic empowerment of women is a priority. From supporting women in business to improving parental leave, our government has taken action on gender equality for an economy that works for everyone.”
– Richard Hébert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Jean

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 Women Entrepreneurship Fund was allocated $20 million. Following the call for applications held in fall 2018, over 3,000 applications received and over 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. 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 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.

  • 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

Allen Alexandre
Senior advisor and liaison to the Parliamentary Secretary.
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion
allen.alexandre@canada.ca

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

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