Women Entrepreneurship Strategy

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do.

Studies show that by advancing gender equality and women's participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP. Only 17% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women, and the Government of Canada is working to change that.

The government is advancing women's economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), representing nearly $7 billion in investments and commitments. The WES aims to increase women-owned businesses' access to the financing, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.

Find out how the WES is helping Canadian businesswomen find success.

WES programs

WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative will fund projects to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women.

Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is providing loans of up to $50,000 to women business owners and entrepreneurs so they can start up, scale up and access new markets. Several organizations selected to deliver the Fund are now accepting applications.

WES Ecosystem Fund

Are you a woman entrepreneur looking for networks that offer support, mentorship or help in growing your business? Check out the WES-funded ecosystem organizations that exist across Canada to help you achieve your business goals.

The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

Are you looking for data on women's entrepreneurship? Check out the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices for women entrepreneurs.

"The Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to build a more inclusive economy that works for everyone. This means breaking down the barriers women face in accessing the financing, mentorship and networks they need to start and grow a business. The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy has helped tens of thousands of women reach their entrepreneurship goals since launching in 2018. By investing in women and other under-represented entrepreneurs, we are investing in strengthening the economy and creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians across the country."

– The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business

Watch a video statement on the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy from Minister Valdez.

WES results

2022 progress report

loans provided

times WES services accessed

networking and learning events

Read our 2022 progress report to find out how WES is making a difference by:

  • building a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem
  • improving women’s access to financing
  • helping women export
  • improving knowledge and data on women entrepreneurship
  • diversifying federal procurement

WES success stories

Find out how the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy has helped individual businesses.

Chickapea Pasta

WES funding helped Chickapea Pasta roll out new product lines and test new markets.

Borealis Geothermal

Borealis Geothermal used WES funding to develop a geothermal project with the Kitselas First Nation.

Watch more WES success story videos

Partner programs

Related links

News releases