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The Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (the Strategy), announced in Budget 2018. As part of the Strategy, the Government is making sure women across Canada have access to the business supports they need to start or grow a business.

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness. Current female entrepreneurs face unique barriers as they move along the business cycle. As a result, women own fewer than 16% of businesses and are underrepresented in the economy.

By addressing women’s economic empowerment through initiatives such as the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, Canada will have the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP by 2026 and reach its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.

The Ecosystem Fund is investing $85 million over five years to strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs. Projects must be led by non-profit organizations and be inclusive of the needs of diverse and under-represented women.

Non-repayable contribution funding will be available through two streams:

National/Multi-Regional Stream: $15 million dollars will fund projects which are national in scope.

Regional Stream: $70 million will go towards projects delivered on a regional basis.

For information on how to apply, please visit the WES Ecosystem Fund website.

The Women Entrepreneurship Fund is a $20 million investment which aims to assist women-owned and/or women-led businesses to grow their existing businesses and enable them to pursue opportunities in domestic and global markets. It will provide successful applicants with up to $100,000 in non-repayable contribution funding for a 12 month project.

Under the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, priority will be given to any of the following three applicant groups:

 Diverse women entrepreneurs (such as women with disabilities, Indigenous women, women in rural or remote regions, recent immigrants, visible minority women, women from Official Language Minority Communities);

 Businesses with products and/or services related to one of the Economic Strategy Table sectors; and

 Projects seeking to pursue market opportunities abroad.

For information on how to apply, please visit the Women Entrepreneurship Fund website.

If you have further questions, please contact us at [email protected]
or 1-800-328-6189.