Government of Canada supports recovery and growth of women-led businesses across British Columbia amid COVID-19 pandemic

News release

Minister Joyce Murray announces $1.4 million to support women entrepreneurs in British Columbia to adapt and grow

March 12, 2021 – Kelowna, British Columbia

Women entrepreneurs are crucial to Canada’s economic success, and supporting their success is key to ensuring a strong, inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As Canada marks the one year anniversary of this crisis, it has never been more important to ensure the economic gains women have made are not lost.

Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced $1.4 million in additional funding for six recipients in British Columbia to support women entrepreneurs to navigate this crisis and continue to grow their businesses. This investment represents a top-up to the $6.3 million in Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) funding previously provided to these organizations.

The top-up funding invests in an ecosystem of organizations that aim to support women entrepreneurs in British Columbia through coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities, especially during the challenges of the past year. The funding also helps businesses start up, scale up and access new markets, which is even more important as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

Through this ecosystem of organizations, the impact of this investment will go beyond today’s recipients and help protect good jobs and strengthen our community and economy.

For additional details on all six WES top-up investments, please see the backgrounder.

Supporting women entrepreneurs through a collaborative ecosystem

As part of this announcement, Minister Murray delivered her remarks in collaboration with the Women’s Enterprise Centre, which hosted the event. The Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women start, lead, and grow their own business across the province. 


“The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for women entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is committed to an inclusive and equitable recovery that ensures all Canadians can benefit from a strong, resilient economy. This funding is helping women entrepreneurs adapt and position their businesses for success.”
– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minster of Digital Government and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra

“Women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are facing unique challenges. In response to these challenges, our government is providing critical investments so women-led businesses can continue contributing to Canada's economic future. Women entrepreneurs want to continue building their businesses, and we will be there to help them build back better.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“The past year has had a disproportionate impact on women business owners, and investing in women entrepreneurs is critical as we look towards economic recovery. Women’s Enterprise Centre is grateful for the recognition of this increased need for support to women-owned businesses. This funding enables us to provide direct support to women across the province, including to entrepreneurs in rural communities as well as immigrant and indigenous women entrepreneurs.”
– Jill Earthy, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre

Quick facts

  • In Canada’s Speech from the Throne, COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and the Fall Economic Statement 2020, the Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs in getting through the COVID-19 crisis, through various measures including accelerating the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. 

  • An overall investment of nearly $5 billion in the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to increasing access to financing, talent, networks and expertise that women-owned businesses need to start up, scale up and access new markets.

  • The regional development agencies are delivering on the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy across Canada. In British Columbia, Western Economic Diversification Canada invested $11.2 million to support 40 businesses and organizations through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. 

  • In May 2020, an additional $15 million in national funding was made available for Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund recipients to provide timely support and advice to women entrepreneurs facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada has made significant investments to support women throughout the pandemic. Since 2019, the Department has invested approximately $23 million through the WES Ecosystem Fund to 19 organizations that help women entrepreneurs succeed in western Canada.

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Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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