Supporting Women Entrepreneurs in 2022

Startup Canada Startup Women Program: Mid Year Highlights and Summary

1 in 5 Canadian entrepreneurs started their business within the last year (Quickbooks). COVID-19 sparked even more entrepreneurship in Canada, with new businesses emerging in the wake of an extraordinary disruption. In 2021, women accounted for over 37 percent of self-employed Canadians. They are eager to start businesses in a variety of industries despite some of the barriers that exist including limited funding, a lack of mentorship, and gender biases. 

“Women-led businesses are a key driver of economic activity in Ontario, but persistent barriers continue to limit their growth,” said Michelle Eaton, Vice President, Public Affairs, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “On average, they tend to be newer and smaller and have less access to capital. Challenges for women entrepreneurs were amplified during the pandemic, as many found themselves ineligible for business supports, working in sectors most heavily impacted by public health restrictions, and bearing child care responsibilities that disproportionately affected women. If we are serious about economic recovery, we need to better evaluate and address the challenges faced by women and other underrepresented groups of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial diversity is not only essential for women’s recovery but for that of the entire economy.” (Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub)

According to Crunchbase, only 2.3% of venture capital goes to women entrepreneurs and 48% of women in business lack strategic advisors to guide them through entrepreneurship. It is clear that there is a gap in supporting women entrepreneurs and Startup Canada is ready to address it.

Startup Canada stands with women-identifying entrepreneurs to help support their growth and future goals. This year Startup Women, one of Startup Canada’s flagship programs, has been scaled into an annual program, providing longer lasting support to reach more women-identifying entrepreneurs than ever before. 

Through Startup Women, we will provide tools, resources and content to woman-identified entrepreneurs throughout the year in the form of webinars, industry-specific advisory circles and 1:1 mentorship. We have also introduced the Startup Women Advocacy Network, a collective of 13 woman-identifying entrepreneurs from each province and territory to champion the needs of women entrepreneurship across Canada. Representatives are given exclusive opportunities to have a seat at important government roundtables and other events to ultimately increase the visibility and voice of woman-identifying entrepreneurs. With Startup Women, the intention is to also curate a set of resources and partners for women founders, to connect them to resources that already exist across our Canadian entrepreneurial support ecosystem.

This year, we are proud to work with our presenting partner, Scotiabank Women’s Initiative, as we support women entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast. Through their support, we’ve been able to show up for women entrepreneurs more than ever before. Here is a summary of our impact for 2022 thus far:

  • Supported 3,500+ women entrepreneurs through our programming
  • Hosted 21 live events
  • Engaged 301 mentors and mentees through our Startup Women Mentorship program
  • Hosted 15 initiatives through our Community Empowerment Fund
  • Received a total listenership of 11,207 on our Startup Women podcast
  • Created a collective of 13 woman-identifying entrepreneurs (the Startup Women Advocacy Network) from each province and territory to champion the needs of women entrepreneurship across Canada

This is just the beginning. This year, we still have several more events, podcast episodes, resources, and opportunities for mentorship. Thank you to our presenting partner Scotiabank Women’s Initiative along with our national partners UPS and TD, our community partners BDC, Google Canada, and Public Services and Procurement Partner, and our youth stream partner Desjardins for your continuous support of women entrepreneurs across Canada. To learn more about what we have planned for the rest of 2022 or to engage in our Startup Women programming, visit