Startup Canada brings together Women Entrepreneurs and Executive Leaders to discuss scaling up women-led businesses

March 2nd, 2020 | Startup Canada, Canada’s leading entrepreneurship organization, announced today its intention to build specific programming for women entrepreneurs, employing a gendered lens through which to examine the startup ecosystem. This will maximize Canada’s support of women-led startups, scale-ups, and small businesses.

In celebration of International Women’s Month, Startup Canada is collaborating with the BDC  and Sovereign Insurance, as well as UPS, EDC, Scotiabank, and the Coca Cola Foundation to raise the availability, standards, and impact of support for women entrepreneurs in Canada. On March 11th, in recognition of International Women’s Day, Startup Canada will be hosting discussions on scaling women-led companies globally, inclusive procurement, building inclusive communities, and women in leadership with the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of Public Services and the Procurement and the All-Party Entrepreneur Caucus

Bridging the Entrepreneurial Gap

Since launching in 2012, Startup Canada has been among the most influential and active voices for women entrepreneurs—advocating on their behalf to government leaders in Ottawa and working alongside government and industry to optimize conditions for women-led businesses across the country. 

Given Startup Canada’s 2019 Canadian Entrepreneurship Census found women entrepreneurs more than 20 percent less confident about their future success, and that they continue to face barriers in accessing support, resources, finance, training, talent, and global markets, this support is sorely needed. 

In addition to its advocacy efforts, Startup Canada champions women entrepreneurs through micro-grant funding, training, providing global opportunities, research, and the provision of tools and resources built by and for women entrepreneurs.

Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs

“As the largest women’s enterprise organization in Canada, Startup Canada has an important role to play in leveling the playfield for women entrepreneurs across Canada,” said Kayla Isabelle, Executive Director 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.”

Women constitute 46.4 percent of Startup Canada’s 250,000 entrepreneur members—the  most extensive network of women entrepreneurs in Canada. 

“More women are turning to entrepreneurship than ever before, says Laura Didyk, National Lead for Women Entrepreneurs at BDC.  “In fact, today, the number of women entrepreneurs is growing three times faster than male entrepreneurs, and BDC is committed to helping them at every step of the way. We provide financial support, plus the advice and access to networks that are essential to help them succeed. We know the magic that happens when women work together, and we want to help create as much magic as possible.”

 However, despite having 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. 

“At Sovereign, we strongly believe in supporting and achieving greater workplace equity, diversity and inclusion—it’s good business practice that not only positively impacts a company’s success, but society at large,” said Jo-Anne Yanuziello, VP Marketing, HR and Corporate Administration at Sovereign Insurance. “That’s why we’re so proud to join Startup Canada in celebrating International Women’s Month and supporting the growth of female leaders and entrepreneurs.”

“UPS is focused on building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem and creating growth opportunities for women. With deep insights and expertise in global logistics, we are focused on empowering women entrepreneurs with the knowledge that can help expand and grow their businesses globally,” says Paul Gasper, Director of Small Business at UPS Canada. “We are excited to be associated with Startup Canada in their mission to support women-led businesses that are significantly contributing to the growth of the Canadian economy.”

“Export Development Canada wants women entrepreneurs to know we’re in their corner,” said Jennifer Cooke, Export Development Canada, National Lead for Women in Trade. “Through initiatives being offered by Startup Canada, and those being offered by EDC, we are working together to break down barriers so women entrepreneurs can discover new markets and succeed on the world stage. With our Women in Trade Investments Program and full suite of connection and export-related tools, we hope those making plans to export, or are already exporting, will access all the support they need.”

Join us as we challenge Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs to build a more gender-balanced world, to accelerate gender parity, and to unleash the economic potential of women. Learn more at, and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #StartupWomen #EachForEqual.

The Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurs Program

Though International Women’s Month has an end date, the support women entrepreneurs need in Canada does not. 

The Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurs Program supports women entrepreneurs, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, to start and scale thriving businesses. 

This year, Startup Canada in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation, will support 10,000 women entrepreneurs to start and scale thriving businesses through education, training, mentorship, support and resources. 

The program includes the following elements: 

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

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

Micah Rakoff Bellman
Marketing and Communications Manager
1-613-627-0787 ext. 103

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is Canada’s entrepreneurship organization. Startup Canada promotes and supports the success and growth of Canada’s 3.5 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 250,000 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.