Women Entrepreneurship in Canada
According to the GEM Canada Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship, the number of Canadian women who are creating start-ups is higher than that in any G20 country.
Statistics and Trends
In countries such as Jordan, Algeria, Macedonia, and Russia, the rates of women’s business activities are low. Only 1 in 20 women is engaged in some type of enterprise. In comparison, more than 13 percent of Canadian women were engaged in some form of early-phase entrepreneurial activity in 2016. Some 6.6 percent of Canadian women owned and ran an established business during the same period. A quick look at figures, however, shows that there is still a significant gender gap. Compared to women (13 percent), a little more than 20 percent of men are engaged in early-stage activities. On the positive side, female entrepreneurial activity increased from 10 to 13 percent in 2015 while there was no increase in men’s rates, which helped narrow the gender gap to some extent. Canadian women are also involved at higher rates than women in countries such as the U.S., Australia, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Ireland, which have rates of 6.1 to 11.5 percent. Canada also has one of the highest female labor force participation rates (65.7 percent), and countries such as Australia (64.8 percent), the U.S. (62.8 percent), and Sweden (72.1) have comparable or slightly higher rates.
When it comes to age groups, 27.1 percent of women in the 25 – 34 age group are involved in some early-stage activity as well as 22.6 percent of women in the 35 – 44 age group and 19.7 percent in the 45 – 54 age group. The percentages are higher for men in all age groups. Speaking of women with established businesses, reports show similar results except for the 54 – 65 age group in which women outnumber men.
Funds That Offer Assistance to Women
The Women Entrepreneurship Fund was created under the government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy to provide funding of up to $100,000, which is in the form of non-repayable contributions. Financial assistance is available to women who pursue growth and expansion, including improved technologies and processes, equipment and plant upgrades, value stream mapping, development of services and products - see creditavenue.ca. Funding is also offered to women who are looking for new markets outside of Canada. Eligible business activities include website development, business advisory services, promotional activities, supply chain integration, - see creditavenue.ca. The Ecosystem Fund under the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy also offers assistance in the form of funding, mentorship, and networking. Efforts are directed toward a number of focus areas, including accelerators and incubators, matchmaking and networking opportunities, and support for female entrepreneurs in sectors that are male-dominated. A total of $15 million is available to fund national projects that are implemented on the territory of 3 or more regions - see creditavenue.ca. These include Northern Canada, Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Southern Ontario, Northern Ontario, and Western Canada.
There are other funds and programs that offer financial assistance and advisory services, including Innovation Canada, the Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Business Development Bank of Canada, etc. The Women in Technology Fund of the Business Development Bank, for example, invests in tech companies that are owned and managed by female entrepreneurs. The fund invests across different sectors, including medical, information technology, information and communication technology, healthcare, - see BDC.