January 11, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario
As Canada works to finish the fight against COVID-19, the Government of Canada is committed to driving a strong, inclusive and sustainable 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 call for proposals for new projects under the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund, one of the initiatives of the $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). She was joined by the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth; Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development; and representatives of organizations that have received WES support, Christine Nakamura, Vice-President of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Alida Burke, COO of Growcer.
To date, the WES Ecosystem Fund has invested $100 million in 52 projects that are helping close service gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women, particularly in areas such as mentorship, networking and skills development. From 2020 to 2021, the Ecosystem Fund has helped over 5,000 women start a new business and over 7,000 women grow their existing business.
Under this new call for proposals, $25 million is available for projects that aim to remove systemic barriers and create more equal access to the resources that intersectionally diverse and underserved women in business need to succeed.
To be considered, projects must be led by non-profit organizations, be national or multi-regional in scope, and be focused on intersectionally diverse and/or underserved women entrepreneurs. Projects must also include a mentoring and networking component and should provide business development or capacity building and skills development to support:
- supplier diversity
- recovery planning/adaptation
Consideration will also be given to projects that will contribute to strengthening the network of women entrepreneurship organizations in Canada.
This new funding for the WES Ecosystem Fund builds on the historic investments the government has made to support women since 2015—from integrating gender-based analysis into policy decisions and program development, legislating pay equity and enhancing the Canada Child Benefit to providing special funding to support women entrepreneurs during the pandemic and working to make Canada-wide early learning and child care a reality through a $30 billion investment in Budget 2021.