Minister Ng highlights support for women entrepreneurs during trip to Toronto

News release

March 22, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, travelled to Toronto on March 20 to visit local businesses, meet with the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA), participate in Elevate’s Women In Tech event and announce the release of the State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada 2023: Research Preview, an annual report put out by the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.

Elevate and the CVCA are two of five organizations selected to deliver the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative (IWVCI), a $15 million program under the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy that is strengthening and building a more inclusive VC environment for Canadian women entrepreneurs. Minister Ng announced the five organizations receiving funding through the IWVCI at an event celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8.

At the Elevate event, Minister Ng highlighted support for women in technology through programs like BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund. This program invests in companies from seed to scale, in emerging venture funds with female partners and in new models to encourage women to become investors, expanding the network of investors for female founders and women leaders to seek out as they build new ventures.

The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship report brings together research on women entrepreneurship in Canada to inform government and ecosystem partners’ policy and practice. New research this year highlights women entrepreneurs’ influence in driving environmental sustainability and social innovation, as well as economic development. For example:

  • women-owned businesses focus more on innovation, as well as on improving organizational processes;
  • one half of early-stage women entrepreneurs in Canada increased their use of digital technologies to adapt to the COVID-19 reality; and
  • women-owned businesses prioritize inclusivity by providing more opportunities for under-represented groups.

Since its launch in 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy has helped 10,000 women entrepreneurs start their businesses and 12,000 women grow their businesses.


“We know that investing in women is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do to build a strong and inclusive economy. Canadian women entrepreneurs are hard-working and dedicated, yet many still face barriers to reaching their entrepreneurship dreams. We are committed to supporting their determination and helping smash the glass ceiling in every business arena—from tech to tourism—for the benefit of all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a nearly $7 billion investment that includes:

    • the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which is enabling existing women-focused loan programs to provide additional affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs;
    • the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, which seeks to broaden access to funding and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women;
    • the WES Ecosystem Fund, which is helping remove barriers to the support networks and deliver the resources that women entrepreneurs need to start up, scale up and access new markets; and
    • the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 300 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada.
  • The government is also investing in removing systemic barriers faced by diverse entrepreneurs through programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program.

  • To ensure women have equal access to the benefits and opportunities arising from international investment, Canada is taking an inclusive approach to trade by integrating gender-related provisions in all its free trade agreements. The government has also co-signed the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement.


Shanti Cosentino
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Stay connected

Follow Canada Business on social media for business-related news: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Page details

Date modified: