Minister Valdez announced additional funding of up to $3.8 million for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH). This funding will continue providing support for women entrepreneurs across the country. When we build a more inclusive economy, we build a stronger economy that works for everyone. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to take action to advance gender equality and ensure all entrepreneurs have access to the opportunities and resources they need to grow their businesses. This will create good middle-class jobs for Canadians.
The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, joined by the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced additional funding of up to $3.8 million for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) to continue providing support for women entrepreneurs across the country.
“To build a stronger and more resilient economy, we must make sure that women, in all their diversity, have equal access to opportunities to start or grow their businesses. The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is at the heart of our government’s efforts. I am proud to see their work moving forward. Canada is home to incredible women entrepreneurs. We will continue to focus on leveling the playing field for them to shine,” said Ien.
“We are pleased to see the continued support of women entrepreneurs by the Government of Canada. Women entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating jobs and driving innovation and growth. They also play a role in advancing social development and sustainability. Investments in the WEKH have helped to inform and enhance our understanding of the barriers and drivers of women entrepreneurship, document the entrepreneurial ecosystem and what works for whom and test innovative approaches,” said Wendy Cukier, Founder and Academic Director, Diversity Institute and Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)
The WEKH is a national network consisting of 10 regional hubs and an accessible digital platform. These help connect women entrepreneurs with the resources and information they need to grow their businesses. The funding announced today will allow the WEKH to:
- create more partnerships with diverse business support organizations;
- continue efforts to build relationships in the Black, Indigenous and other diverse women entrepreneur ecosystems and ensure alignment with the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and the 2SLGBTQI+ Knowledge Hub;
- continue to raise awareness and profile examples of success in women entrepreneurship; and
- enhance efforts to reach mainstream corporate, government and media organizations for the application of knowledge and research.
The WEKH is a key component of Canada’s first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. The nearly $7 billion initiative has helped support tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs across Canada since 2018. This additional funding will ensure that the WEKH can help even more women entrepreneurs start and scale up their businesses.
- 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 WES 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 250 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.
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