Ask any woman who has ever tried to start a business, what the biggest challenge she faced was, and the answer almost universally will be getting funding to get started.
The federal government has decided to address that issue with a Women Entrepreneurial Strategy and a $2-billion funding commitment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses in Canada by 2025. The first $20 million over two years was announced Friday in Delta B.C., by the Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion.
“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for Canada’s bottom line,” she told me.
Fewer than 16 per cent of small businesses in Canada are majority women-owned. Only about 8.4 per cent of those export what they produce. The minister wants to see both of those numbers grow.
“I’ve met and talked with a lot of great women who have good ideas and who have often struggled to bring those ideas to the marketplace,” she told me. “A lot of what they’ve shared with me has gone into creating the strategy which we announced on Friday.”
There is a six-week window for women to apply for the funding that will be available this year. Go to canada.ca/women-entrepreneurship for the details.