Ottawa, Canada | November 14th, 2019 | Startup Canada has signed the CEO Statement for Women’s Empowerment Principles joining over 2,000 businesses around the world in a commitment to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. An initiative of UN Women and UN Global Compact, the Principles encourage firms of all sizes, in all countries, industries and sectors, to take decisive action towards gender equality.

Although there are nearly 1 million women entrepreneurs in Canada, only 16 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises are majority women-owned, and women own only 10 percent of high growth firms. A census report conducted by Startup Canada in 2018 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.

“As Canada’s entrepreneurship organization, we are proud to welcome Startup Canada as one of our largest Canadian partners in advancing the Women’s Empowerment Principles,” said Anna Falth, Senior Programme Manager of the WE EMPOWER programme of UN Women, the European Union, and the International Labour Organization and Head of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Secretariat. “Together, we will work with Startup Canada to advance the support and success for women entrepreneurs and to encourage our 3.5 million entrepreneurs and 1.4 million businesses to do the same.”

Annually, Startup Canada releases updated editions of Resources for Women Entrepreneurs to help women entrepreneurs to connect with support to start and scale their businesses. Each week, the organization releases new episodes of its award-winning THRIVE Podcast for women entrepreneurs, which boasts more than 50,000 listeners. Throughout the year, Startup Canada also supports women founders with micro-grants, training and mentorship opportunities, and contributes as Canada’s most influential advocate to the federal government on advancing equality through entrepreneurship.

“The Women’s Empowerment Principles inspire us and provide us with the tools, framework and community of aligned partners to take our support for women entrepreneurs to the next level,” said Victoria Lennox, President of Startup Canada. “Startup Canada commits to scaling the seven principles internally through systemic policies, as well as advancing them across Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

As part of its next steps, Startup Canada is set to undertake an organization-wide and ecosystem-wide audit according to the Women’s Empowerment Principles and will table its plan as part of its 2020 Strategy in January.

For more information, contact: 

Matthew Curtis

Communications & Digital Programs Coordinator

 Startup Canada

1-844-782-7801 ext. 105

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

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Jointly established by UN Women and UN Global Compact, the WEPs are informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that businesses have a stake in, and responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment. The WEPs serves as the umbrella framework for multi-stakeholder networks to work together to foster implementation and awareness of the internationally agreed standards for business practices that empower women and advance gender equality. The Principles are also the primary vehicle for corporate delivery on gender equality and women’s empowerment dimensions of the 2030 agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.