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

News release

Women-led businesses across the Prairies get additional support

More than $3.18 million in federal funding to support women entrepreneurs across the Prairies to adapt and grow

March 16, 2021 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

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

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced more than $3.18 million in top-up funding for Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund recipients in the Prairies. This investment, provided through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is in addition to the $12.3 million in WES funding previously provided to these organizations.

The top-up funding aims to support women entrepreneurs in the Prairies to navigate this pandemic and continue to grow their businesses. Funding will support coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities. It will also support women-owned businesses continue to start up, scale-up and access new markets as Canada recovers.

For additional details on all 10 WES top-up investments, please see the backgrounder.

Supporting women entrepreneurs through a collaborative ecosystem

As part of this announcement, the Honourable Jim Carr shared remarks at a virtual event in Winnipeg hosted by the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba. He spoke about this government’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, and why that is more important than ever as we get through this pandemic and into the economic recovery. 


“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

“Western Canadian women entrepreneurs make incredible contributions to our economy and communities every single day. Funding announced today will help women entrepreneurs across the Prairies by providing mentoring, training and coaching to help navigate the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19 and grow their business. With support from the Government of Canada, women-led businesses will emerge stronger than ever.”

The Honourable Jim Carr, Special Advisor for the Prairies

“We are so glad to have the ability to extend our Regional Relief and Recovery Fund lending to a greater number of women entrepreneurs struggling to recover and remake their businesses during this difficult time. The determination and fortitude of these women is inspiring and the fact that we can provide these additional resources to support their efforts is greatly appreciated.”

Sandra Altner, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba

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 the West, Western Economic Diversification Canada invested close to $38 million to support 120 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.

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Associated links


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

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Media Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada

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