Startup Canada Announces New Women Entrepreneurs Program in Partnership with the Embassy of Israel

Ottawa, ON – November 12, 2020 | Startup Canada is delighted to partner with the Embassy of Israel to further promote, celebrate and educate the startup community on the importance of women entrepreneurship globally. This partnership will be delivered through the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurs Program which supports women entrepreneurs, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, to start and scale thriving businesses.

The program, running from November to March, launched with a digital round table featuring high profile entrepreneurs from Canada and Israel. The round table discussion focused on identifying key barriers to supporting women entrepreneurs in both countries and establishing strategies to reduce these barriers. Each month, 10 high profile women entrepreneurs from Canada and Israel will discuss and workshop the main take-aways from the initial round table. Their final findings and project outcomes will be shared during Startup Canada’s International Women’s Day program. 

Quotes from Roundtable Panelists and Guests:

“Every barrier for women that is attached to a statistic is amplified in rural communities. Whether it is income, health care, internet access, whatever the statistic is, I can tell you it is going to be worse in a rural community for women. Being a part of this project is really important for me for this reason. Entrepreneurship itself is a vehicle for change and a mindset of growth. If we approach this discussion understanding that frustration is just raw material for entrepreneurs, we will be able to solve some of the problems we are talking about.” – Mary Doyle, Founder of Rural On Purpose.

“There are a lot of barriers in my community. I think there is an overused narrative of activism and anti-racism surrounding black women and Indigenous women. When you are so focused on that side of things, there isn’t a lot of room to focus on entrepreneurship. As a result of these systemic barriers, a lot of black or Indigenous entrepreneurs have not been able to expand their teams or their businesses.” – Yamila Franco, Co-Founder of Nyoka Design Labs.

“Being a women entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it is possible. Speak to other women, break down that fear of being a mom and a business owner, and just do it! Women speaking to women is wonderful, but including men in the conversation is also important. The more we can bring the entirety of society into these discussions and advocate for our whole community, the better off we will be.” – Tamar Schapira, Founder and CEO of SenseIT.

“One of the most interesting data points I’ve seen is that both Canada and Israel are amongst the top 5 markets for women entrepreneurs. That ranking is based on the available support that our governments have put together to ensure women entrepreneurs have access to the capital and mentorship they need to start up a new business, or to see existing businesses thrive.” – MP Rachel Bendayan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.

“Recognition is extremely important – the recognition of barriers, the recognition of hurdles, the recognition of challenges. Recognizing the barriers in front of you is a precondition to the ability to lean in and create change. The importance of sounding our voices as women and the imperative for viewpoint diversity will be what pave the way for reconciliatory processes that enable prosperity for women entrepreneurs.” – MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Chair of the Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Use, Chair of the Subcommittee on Israel-Diaspora Relations.

According to the third edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (November 2019) female entrepreneurs around the world are making strides to overcome gender-related biases and advance their businesses. This has a meaningful impact on the labor force, economic growth, and the well-being of their societies. Both Canada and Israel are included in the top 5 markets for women entrepreneurs, based on supporting conditions and opportunities to thrive. This is something that must be celebrated and is the impetus behind this partnership. 

“Despite systemic barriers, women entrepreneurs around the world continue to challenge the status quo and provide thoughtful, innovative solutions that help to empower their communities,” said Kayla Isabelle, CEO of Startup Canada. “We are thrilled to partner with the Embassy of Israel to advocate for the national and international benefits of healthy and diverse small business ecosystems, help in developing actionable strategies to reduce barriers for women entrepreneurs, and amplify the voices of women entrepreneurs across the globe.”   

The trade and gender chapter in the CIFTA agreement provides a beautiful platform for this project to unfold, and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to work with such incredible entrepreneurs from both Canada and Israel,” said Natasha Morano, Corporate & Government Affairs Director at Startup Canada. 

Over the next few months, a number of the roundtable participants will be featured on Startup Canada’s THRIVE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs. Join along with the conversation here.   


For more information, and to schedule interviews, please contact:

Lauren Hicks

Media Relations, Startup Canada

(905) 531-1670

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 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. Learn more at