The Government of Canada is launching a new grant aimed at women entrepreneurship. Known as Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, it is an $85 million investment over five years to ensure female entrepreneurs across Canada have access to the business support they need to start or grow a business. $15 million of the fund will be dedicated to projects that are national in scope, with the remaining $70 million allocated toward smaller regional projects.
These funds will be administered in conjunction with the Regional Development Agencies (FedDev, FedNor, ACOA, CanNor, WD, and CED), helping them to strengthen their services for women entrepreneurs. The competition for national and regional applications will be opening soon, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities in coming weeks.
WES was announced earlier this year in the 2018 federal budget. Its strategic objective is to double the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025, which currently comprise only 16% of Canadian SMEs. To accomplish this, WES proposed a number of programs, funds and support activities aimed at female business leaders. These activities include:
- $1.4 Billion in additional loan financing through BDC’s Women in Technology Fund;
- $250 million in loan financing for export opportunities through Export Development Canada;
- $105 million to Regional Development Agencies for region-based support programs;
- Creation of skills training and mentorship programs through multiple agencies to deliver coaching and business/financial literacy training for women; and
- Mandates for several government funding agencies, such as NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, NRC, and TCS to enact targeted support strategies to raise the percentage of women-run businesses.
Overall, nearly $2 billion will be invested in female entrepreneurship over the coming years. If you’re a woman thinking about starting your own business, or already own a business, the government wants to help you succeed.
Leverage various opportunities available to support your growth. Contact our government grant specialists for an initial complementary assessment of your eligibility: [email protected]