In focus: Government schemes & incentives for women entrepreneurs in Canada
Zeroing in on the state of entrepreneurship in Canada shows that small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups are the drivers of the Canadian economy; and they account for the vast majority of all businesses in the country.
But unfortunately, like the rest of the world, for over two years, these businesses have been hit by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, specially in the service sectors (where women-owned businesses are found), have been affected quite harshly. But despite the challenges, women entrepreneurs have demonstrated an incredible resilience; they have been brilliant which led them to innovate.
So, delving into women entreprenurship in Canada, here are some government schemes and incentives for women entrepreneurs.
> Women Entrepteneurship Strategy
Canada can really benefit from women in business in the country. Research shows that by advancing gender equality and women’s participation in the economy, Canada could boost its economy – and it can add up to $150 billion in GDP. And the Government of Canada is working to increase the participation of women in business, as it is seen that only 17% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women.
The government is boosting women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), representing more than $6 billion in investments and commitments. Through WES the aim is to increase women-owned businesses’ access to factors they need – like financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
> Government benefits for new startups in Canada
The Canadian Government offers a huge number of benefits for commencing new startups in the country. In 2021, the Federal Government of Canada invested around $44.5 Million to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. There are numerous benefits put forward via various types of grants and loans offered by the Canadian Government – to help entrepreneurs initiate their startup plans into action.
For an entrepreneur, the most inspiring thing while commencing a new startup is getting funding for initiating their on-paper plan to on-ground action. It works out to getting initial funding via investors like : Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists.
> Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund
To ensure that more women entrepreneurs have the tools and financing they need to succeed, the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund exists. The Government of Canada has selected many delivery organizations to provide loans to women entrepreneurs.
Since the launch of Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) in 2018, progress has been made; but access to capital, particularly in smaller amounts, remains a significant barrier for many women entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their businesses. To help address this blockage, the Government of Canada allocated $55 million in Budget 2021 – for the creation of a new national microloans fund. This new program is providing loans (of up to $50,000) to women entrepreneurs, particularly for start-ups, under- represented groups or sole proprietorships, which may experience difficulty in accessing finance.
> Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)
For women entrepreneurship, this body is a huge help. The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) is a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices for women entrepreneurs. In 2018, through a competitive process, the Government of Canada awarded Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) up to $8.62 million over three years to establish the Hub. In Budget 2021, the government committed a further $5 million to support the Hub’s work.
This national body – WEKH is made up of 10 regional hubs, that work together to coordinate activities in different regions. Each of the regional hubs brings its unique area of expertise and specialization to WEKH.
With a huge partnership network, WEKH brings together researchers, business support organizations and key stakeholders – to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. Together, they support the progress of women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds throughout the innovation ecosystem.
The Hub’s activities are varied. They include: collecting, analyzing and disseminating information, and/or advancing research on women’s entrepreneurship; supporting and sharing best practices and knowledge among women business support organizations; reporting on the progress of women entrepreneurs in Canada, including a review of the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem’s supports for women.
> Mentor Works
Mentor Works is part of Canadian Government Grants, Loans, and Funding Programs offered. It is clearly noticeable that Canadian government funding programs can support small businesses, large corporations, non-profits and post-secondary research institutions. However, the key to accessing these programs is getting to know which are the best fit exclusively for your organization and upcoming projects.
Mentor Works team of Canadian government grant & loan application writers have an average success rate of 86% across all government funding programs and provide clients with an average of 95% time savings.
> Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund (EBD)
The EBD provides financial support / funds to new entrepreneurs with innovative/new ideas for startups, businesses and commercial entities to expand their business in Canada.
The Entrepreneurship and Business Development (EBD) Program is a part of the two program contribution streams of the Northern Indigenous Economic Opportunities Program (NIEOP). EBD assists indigenous entrepreneurs and their businesses through project-based support for activities that help facilitate the establishment or growth of indigenous businesses.
CanNor may delegate the delivery of this program to regional Service Delivery Partners (SDPs) – in order to increase local and regional access to the program.
The objective of EBD is – to increase the number of viable indigenous businesses and to provide a supportive business environment for indigenous people in the territories; promote entrepreneurship in indigenous communities by improving access to local and regional economic opportunities across various sectors; enhance access to capital for indigenous businesses in the territories.