According to a recently released Statistics Canada report, Saskatchewan led the country in growth of businesses owned or jointly-owned by women between 2005 and 2013.
While women-owned businesses are becoming more common, they still make up a small fraction compared to men.
But according to Prabha Mitchell, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan, the report doesn’t paint the entire picture.
“If you look at majority-owned female enterprises and majority female-owned enterprises only, Saskatchewan lags behind the national average,” Mitchell said. “Women-owned businesses account for 13.7 per cent in Saskatchewan [compared to] 15 per cent nationally and is highest in B.C. and Ontario at 17 per cent.”
Mitchell added, women continue to face several barriers including access to capital, networking and finding a work-life balance.
“A male-owned business is 3.5 times more likely to hit one million dollars than a female-owned business is,” Mitchell said. “The majority [of] female-owned enterprises are predominately in the service sector, while you find that predominately male-owned enterprises and equally owned enterprises span various sectors whether it’s manufacturing, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.”
Lynn Armstrong is a Saskatchewan-based entrepreneur who left her career in 2011 to start a strategy and communications business. From there, she bought Sky magazine and in 2016 her own retail store Zoe.
“Really what I had to learn was how to be an entrepreneur and how to understand independent business,” Armstrong said. “In the corporate world there’s a lot more resources and in the independent business world you are your resource.”
For Armstrong, she said it comes down to finding the right people, creating a good business plan, along with a well thought out vision.
“You really have to find your tribe, your people, the people that connect with you,” Armstrong said. “The advice that I give to women who want to start their own business is first of all, in my opinion, if in your business plan your risk analysis doesn’t terrify you really haven’t dug deep enough.”
Between 2005 and 2013, female-owned businesses grew from 233,000 to 309,000 across the country.
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