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Minister Chagger issues a call to action on women entrepreneurship in Canada and announces $50 million to help businesswomen access capital
Women entrepreneurs from across Canada gather to talk about growing their businesses and accessing new markets
November 9, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, is hosting the Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship Conference in Toronto. The Minister invited businesswomen from across the country to come together to share ideas on how more Canadian women business owners can be globally successful. Addressing a crowd of over 200 inspiring women entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them, the Minister issued a call to action to increase the number of women starting and running their own businesses.
As part of that call to action, the Minister announced that following her discussions with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) about the federal government's women entrepreneurship strategy, BDC will make fundamental changes to the way it does business with women and will aim to become a world-leading financial institution for women business owners.
At the same time, BDC is taking on a number of new activities to support women entrepreneurs in the tech sector. These new initiatives, representing over $50 million in investments, will help women who run technology companies raise capital. These include an internal fund for women founders, a women's venture acceleration program and a women's seed fund.
Throughout the day, the Minister and all participants will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from businesswomen on the issues that matter to them, such business growth, access to new markets, social innovation, access to capital and women angel investors, and mentorship.
Keynote speakers participating in this one-day conference include the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, who will speak about social entrepreneurship and the economic impact of businesswomen on society. Also sharing their experience and insight are the Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, and the conference's keynote speaker, Farah Mohamed of G(irls)20, an award-winning social entrepreneur who has a specific interest in empowering youth, girls, women and diverse populations.
"Women are key economic drivers. With these fundamental changes to the way BDC does business, we will create more middle-class jobs and drive inclusive economic growth for our nation. BDC is well on its way to being a world-leading institution to help women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Canada and around the world."– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism
"The Government of Canada is committed to creating inclusive prosperity and growth that will benefit the middle class and allow women to achieve their full economic potential. That's why I'm glad to be part of this valuable conference that will provide information, inspiration and support for women entrepreneurs striving to succeed as we build an economy that works for all Canadians."– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are drivers of the economy, employing 90 percent of the private sector workforce and accounting for about 40 percent of GDP. And 15.7 percent of SMEs are owned by women.
- It is estimated that more than 1.5 million Canadians are employed by women-owned businesses.
- Women start businesses at a greater rate than men. In Canada, they represent the fastest-growing segment in the small business sector.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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