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Government of Canada Announced Funding For Women Entrepreneurs

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity. Dismantling the systemic barriers that hold women entrepreneurs back from reaching their full potential leads to more economic independence, while helping to build more resilient communities. One of the barriers is funding for women entrepreneurs.

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth announced $960,000 in funding for the organization to create a more inclusive and equitable digital economy. Ien attended the event hosted by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) in Toronto.

Funding for women entrepreneurs

The funding will support the project Changing the Narrative – Unleashing the Full Potential of Women-owned Enterprises. The project aims to foster innovation, enhance workforce diversity and tackle systemic barriers experienced by women entrepreneurs, with a focus on Black and official language minority communities.

Supporting equal opportunities for women in the workplace could add $150 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2026. The Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with women’s organizations and experts to advance intersectional approaches. The goal is to build an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

The Government of Canada prioritizes initiatives that combat systemic racism and advance economic opportunities for Black communities.  

The investment gap for women entrepreneurs

“Every day, women entrepreneurs are taking risks, bringing new ideas to life and making contributions to our country. Yet they continue to receive less financing and opportunities than their male counterparts. The investment in the Information and Communications Technology Council is about creating a more inclusive social entrepreneurial landscape, particularly for women from Black and official language minority communities.” -The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth 

“In the digital age, the success of our economy is intertwined with the success of women-led businesses. We feel thrilled the Government of Canada is investing in this program to unlock the full potential of women entrepreneurs. By supporting social enterprises led by women, particularly from marginalized communities, we’re not just creating businesses. We’re building bridges to economic empowerment, job creation and a better standard of living for all.” -Namir Anani, President & CEO, Information and Communications Technology Council 

Facts about funding for women entrepreneurs

  • Budget 2023 allocated $160 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, for the Women’s Program to provide funding to organizations in Canada that serve women.
  • Racialized women hold about 10 percent of senior leadership and pipeline positions in Canada, with Indigenous women, women with disabilities and 2SLGBTQIA+ women each holding less than 2 percent of senior leadership and pipeline positions.
  • In 2020, 89 percent of 48 of Canada’s largest organizations reported that they had zero Black women in the pipeline to executive officer roles.
  • In December 2022, about two-thirds (66.6 percent) of Black Canadians aged 15 and older were employed.
  • Globally, women-led start-ups received just 2.3 percent of venture capital funding in 2020.
  • Based on 2020 data, only 16.8 percent of Canadian SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are majority-owned by women. These are more likely to operate in young, small, low-growth and underfinanced sectors such as retail trade and other service sectors. These factors make it harder to access and secure financing.
  • Women remain under-represented among equity investors. Only 15.2 percent of Canadian venture capital partners and 16.7 percent of Canadian angel investors are women.

 Associated links

Follow Women and Gender Equality Canada: Website, Facebook, Twitter (WAGE), Twitter (Free to be me), LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Want more funding opportunities? Check out our Resource Guide which includes 26 investors and venture capitalists to unlock funding for your business.

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