Queer Entrepreneurs Outperform, Yet Equitable Support Still Sorely Lacking in Canada

In 2022, as part of the Startup Canada 2SLGBTQIA+ Podcast Takeover in collaboration with CGLCC, leadership from both organizations co-wrote an article outlining the need for Canada to equal the playing field for queer founders. The article – Don’t Roll the Dice – discussed the impacts of historical and contemporary discrimination against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community across the country, the statistics relating to the quantifiable opportunity disparities between queer and non-queer founders, and the need for Canada’s entrepreneurial support ecosystem to take concrete action to right these worrying trends. 

Intended to illustrate the depth of the systemic bias that continues to negatively impact queer Canadian business owners and to benchmark support efforts, our 2022 article integrated many facts and figures relating to the state of inclusion within the ecosystem for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. In short, we included these statistics to give readers a reality check and to encourage genuine, resourced action. We did not expect these numbers, over the course of just two years, to trend significantly downward. 

2022 Available Statistics

  • In 2022, 70% of study respondents had never encountered specialized 2SLGBTQIA+ funding, and only 13% had successfully acquired funding.
  • Over a span of 10 years – 2009 to 2019 – hate crimes targeting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community rose by 41% in Canada.
  • 57% of queer founders had, on at least one occasion, consciously hid their 2SLGBTQIA+ ownership status.

2024 Available Statistics

  • In 2024, 0.5% of venture capital funding was allocated to 2SLGBTQIA+ owned businesses despite representing an estimated 7.6% of the Canadian population.
  • In one year – 2020 to 2021 – hate crimes targeting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community rose by 64% in Canada.
  • In 2024, 75% of queer founders have reported concealing their identity and 2SLGBTQIA+ ownership status.

As a country that prides itself on its diversity, inclusion and acceptance, these trends are shameful. It’s clear that, despite significant investment through programs like the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program, the support ecosystem is not doing enough to urgently and holistically address this problem. 

Today, in a continued effort to increase awareness of these barriers to success for queer entrepreneurs and improve access to dedicated resources, Startup Canada and CGLCC have launched the fourth annual 2SLGBTQIA+ Podcast Takeover. 

Throughout the month of June, the Startup Canada Podcast will feature four episodes with leading queer founders and professionals across the country. This year, we welcomed two subject matter experts to host and facilitate these important conversations – Paige Harlock, Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Pru Girme, Manager of Supplier Diversity at CGLCC.

The 2024 Episode Lineup: 

  • June 4, 10am ET: Jacq Brasseur and Risa Payant, Ivy + Dean Consulting.
  • June 11: Judith Kasiama, Colour The Trails.
  • June 18: Martin Straathof, Ontario Farmland Trust.
  • June 25: Athanasius “Tanas” Sylliboy (Anita Landback) – Drag Performer, Advocate & Nurse.

In case you missed them, you can still listen to the 2023 Takeover episodes as well! Jamie Alexander of RUBIES talked with us about inclusivity in fashion and trans joy. Joline Beauregard of Sunrise Nutrition shared her insights into nutrition advising and the ingredients needed for community empowerment. Fae Johnstone of Wisdom2Action spoke with us about EDI consulting and key strategies for authentic inclusion. Finally, Ian Burns (Rowena Whey) taught us about queer revitalization and uplifting community through drag. 

In addition to these episodes, the Curated 2SLGBTQIA+ Entrepreneur Resource Guide – a living document directed by CGLCC’s expert knowledge, curated by Startup Canada, and supported by organizations like Egale Canada, TransFocus Consulting, Futurpreneur and more to come – has been updated with the latest support channels, programs and educational materials applicable to queer-owned businesses. 

Queer founders have proven their ability to consistently outperform their non-queer counterparts – with 36% more jobs created, 44% more exits, and 114% more patents secured. Beyond entrepreneurship, diverse employees as a whole are also disproportionately impactful within their companies and to the Canadian economy, with higher rates of innovation, problem solving and profitability than homogenous workforces. 

Queer inclusion and 2SLGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs matter. The startup support ecosystem in Canada – and its core players – need to accept more responsibility in order to address the inequity that continues to exist within its funding models and under informed programming. Perpetuating the status quo and tolerating performative action is not something to be proud of – it’s time to walk the walk.

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is the gateway to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that points you in the right direction, eliminates barriers, and champions your needs to private and public sector partners. We connect you with support organizations and peers across the country with industry expertise, regional knowledge, and funding to help you start and build successful businesses.


Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) links 2SLGBTQI+ businesses in Canada to the wider business and corporate community. It fosters economic growth by supporting and nurturing 2SLGBTQI+ businesses, entrepreneurs, students and allies, and by helping Canada’s corporate world connect with the 2SLGBTQI+ business community. For more information, visit www.cglcc.ca.