OTTAWA, ON, March 28, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – As Canada works to finish the fight against COVID-19, the government is committed to ensuring a strong inclusive economic recovery that addresses systemic gaps and empowers women in the economy.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced a new contribution agreement totalling $4.25 million for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), one of the pillars of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a now $6 billion program to advance women’s economic empowerment. This funding will help the WEKH sustain its momentum, advancing its research and expanding its tools and resources to support diverse women entrepreneurs.
The WEKH is an extensive network of over 300 partners—including researchers, business support organizations and key industry leaders—that are working to create a more supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. By collecting, analyzing and disseminating information, the WEKH helps track progress being made and inform the work ahead to support more women business owners in starting up, scaling up and exporting to new markets.
Minister Ng also marked the release of the WEKH’s annual report, the State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada 2022. The report focuses on the structural barriers that women entrepreneurs in Canada face, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women and ways to move forward. The report shows that women business owners are proactively preparing for economic recovery, improving their businesses’ competitiveness, mitigating potential labour shortages and keeping up with future industry changes to ensure their businesses survive and thrive past the pandemic.
This progress builds on the historic investments the government has made since 2015 to support women—like integrating gender-based analysis into policy decisions, legislating pay equity, enhancing the Canada Child Benefit, providing special funding to support women entrepreneurs during the pandemic, and establishing $10-a-day childcare.
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“We know that women entrepreneurs have been facing systemic barriers since long before the pandemic. As we support women entrepreneurs and business owners with our $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, we are ensuring that our efforts are data-driven and that best practices are shared across the country. Through the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, we are providing a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices to help women entrepreneurs across the country succeed.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“The support of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will allow us to continue to do research on the barriers faced as well as the polices, programs and services that help women entrepreneurs thrive. We will continue to collect data to identify effective practices to support diverse women entrepreneurs and to drive inclusive innovation. By sharing evidence and good practices and celebrating successes, we will continue to work with partners to build a more inclusive innovation ecosystem.”
– Wendy Cukier, Founder of the Ryerson University Diversity Institute and Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub
- The funding announced today will allow the WEKH to:
- create more partnerships with diverse business support organizations
- continue efforts to build cohesion in the Black, Indigenous and other diverse women entrepreneur ecosystems, amplify their messaging beyond partners within the ecosystem, and ensure alignment with the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub
- conduct further research into key themes identified by the WEKH and its partners through its activities to date, like financing, procurement and Indigenous entrepreneurship
- continue to raise awareness and profile examples of success in women entrepreneurship
- enhance efforts to reach mainstream corporate, government and media organizations for the application of knowledge and research
- continue supporting the government and ecosystem’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery phase
- The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a more than $6 billion investment, includes:
- the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, a program to facilitate existing loan programs to provide additional affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs
- 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
- the WEKH, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 300 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—a stand-alone initiative open to other economies to join.
SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada