Startup Canada doubles down on supporting women entrepreneurs

February 14, 2019 | Startup Canada announced today that it will build out specific programming for women entrepreneurs and employ a gender lens to ecosystem and program development as it works to reshape Canada’s approach to supporting women-led startups, scale-ups, and small businesses.

Although there are nearly 1 million women entrepreneurs in Canada, only 16 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises are majority women-owned, and women own only 10 percent of high growth firms.

Women constitute 47 percent of Startup Canada’s membership of 200,000 entrepreneurs, making it the most extensive network of women entrepreneurs in Canada. A survey conducted by Startup Canada in January found that women entrepreneurs continue to face real and perceived barriers of access to support, resources, training, finance, customers, talent and global markets and that women entrepreneurs are more than 20 percent less confident about their future success.

Since launching in 2012, Startup Canada has been one of the most influential and active voices for women entrepreneurs to government leaders in Ottawa, working alongside government and industry to advance conditions for women-led businesses to thrive. In addition to its advocacy efforts, Startup Canada champions women entrepreneurs through awards recognition, micro-grant funding, training, providing global opportunities, research, and the provision of tools and resources for women entrepreneurs.

As International Women’s Month approaches, Startup Canada in collaboration with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Intuit, and supported by a network of industry, government, and economic development partners, are raising the bar for how women entrepreneurs are supported in Canada, by:

  • Announcing the 2019 Women Entrepreneurs’ Leader for Canada, a national digital program, and an online tool for women entrepreneurs;
  • Funding programs for women entrepreneurs in fifteen cities across Canada, including training for girls between 12 and 16 years of age in Ottawa; and,
  • Hosting a ‘Women Entrepreneurs on the Hill’ daylong program in Ottawa on March 20, 2019 to connect women entrepreneurs to decisions makers.

On March 20th, Startup Canada will host discussions on digital transformation, inclusive procurement, and trade diversification with Canada’s Chief Information Officer, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, and with the All Party Entrepreneur Caucus, to give women entrepreneurs a voice to government and a platform to help shape the policies and programs that can create a balanced playing field for growth.

“As the largest women’s enterprise organisation in Canada, Startup Canada has an important role to play in leveling the playfield for women entrepreneurs across Canada,” said Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder and President of Startup Canada. “We are committed to working with government, industry, economic development organizations, and grassroots startup communities to scale-up support for women entrepreneurs whose efforts and ingenuity can help Canada’s economy reform to its full potential.”

Entrepreneurs across Canada can register for mentorship, training and networking events throughout March in their communities. All Canadians can also tune into a nationally broadcast panel – ‘Scaling Women-Led Companies’ – taking place live at the Startup Canada headquarters to hear the big announcements on March 20th from 3.30 PM – 4.15 PM ET. Moderated by Catherine Clark, CEO of Catherine Clark Communications, and featuring Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Brenda Halloran, Chair of Startup Canada, media entrepreneur Komal Minhas, and leading industry executives, the panel will explore solutions to ensure that women are creating and benefiting from Canada’s innovation strategy, infrastructure, and ecosystem.

Visit to learn more and sign up. Join the conversation using #StartupWomen and #BlanceforBetter.

For more information and for media passes for events throughout the day, please contact:

Maddie Stiles
Media Relations
1-613-627-0787 ext. 105

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is Canada’s entrepreneurship organization. Startup Canada promotes and supports the success and growth of Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs, with a mandate to foster economic growth, competitiveness, and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Since launching, Startup Canada’s programming has directly supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots Startup Community organizations. Working with over 750 ecosystem partners, including accelerators, incubators, research parks, educational institutions, economic development agencies, associations, and government programs, Startup Canada serves entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, industries, and stages of development, with a network reflective of Canada’s diverse population.

Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs

On March 20th, in celebration of International Women’s Month, Startup Canada, Startup Communities, leading women entrepreneurs, and government and industry partners will come together to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women entrepreneurs to the Canadian economy. Join us as we challenge Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs to  #BalanceforBetter to build a more gender-balanced world, to accelerate gender parity, and to unleash the economic potential of women. Learn more at

The Startup Canada #StartupWomen Program is co-presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Intuit QuickBooks, in partnership with Export Development Canada, Scotiabank, Mastercard, UPS Canada, and, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Rachelle Desorcy
Rachelle Desorcy

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