Government of Canada invests $2 billion to double the amount of women-owned businesses by 2025

BANFF, AB – The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced an investment of nearly $2 million in the Banff Television Festival Foundation to deliver the Banff Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media.

This investment will help empower and train women entrepreneurs to build and grow their own business within the screen-based industries. It is expected to result in 200 women connected with networking, matchmaking, or mentorship opportunities. It is also expected to help at least 50 participants grow their business, and support 16 participants in starting a business.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy complements the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality, which include addressing pay equity, providing more affordable childcare and putting an end to gender-based violence.


“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for the bottom line. That’s why we launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a strategy that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by increasing their access to financing, networks and advice. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return.”   
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“If we want Canada’s economy to run on all cylinders, everyone must have the opportunity to succeed. Our government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy will help business women reach their highest potential and provide their full contribution to our economy by supporting them with the tools they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”  
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Canadian women entrepreneurs and business leaders, including many in Banff, make incredible contributions to our economy and community every day. I’m proud to be a part of a Liberal government that takes women’s economic empowerment seriously. From tackling pay equity to modernizing parental leave, this government is taking action on gender equality because when women succeed, we all succeed.”  
– Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax 

“This program will address a systemic gap in our industry, providing hundreds of women with high-level business training, essential international connections and access to potential capital investment. Our mandate is to make a meaningful impact within the Canadian media industry leading to the launch and growth of significantly more women-owned and women-led businesses that are competitive on the world stage.”
– Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) will help women start and grow their businesses by improving access to financing, talent, networks and expertise through an investment of nearly $2 billion.
  • The strategy will help our government achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.
  • As a part of Budget 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Fund was allocated $20 million. Following a call for applications, held in fall 2018 and which resulted in over 3,000 applications received, over 200 projects were funded. The Government of Canada is pleased to be able to support approximately 100 more projects by investing an additional $10 million in the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, to provide a total of $30 million to women-owned and led businesses across Canada to grow their businesses and reach new markets.
  • WES programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to advance gender equality. These initiatives include measures on pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable childcare.
  • Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
  • Just 16% of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned.
  • Only 11.2% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.2% of majority male-owned SMEs.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada 2015/16 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship indicated that in 2016 Canada had the highest percentage of women participating in early-stage activity (13.3%) and the fifth highest in terms of female ownership of established businesses among comparable innovation-based economies.
  • Final funding is subject to negotiation of contribution agreements.

Associated links

Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA 
Follow @CanadaBusiness on social media for business-related news: TwitterFacebook