WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

The Call for Proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative is now closed. Therefore, we are no longer accepting applications. The application form was available from April 25, 2022 until June 20, 2022.

Please monitor the WES website frequently for future program updates.

To answer questions about the program and/or application process, ISED and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub hosted an information session on May 10, 2022.

A recording and transcripts of the information session are available on the WEKH website.

The Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality, women's economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).

Related pages

What is the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative?

The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative is a 3 year non-repayable contribution program totaling $15 million that seeks to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women (the glossary in Section C of the application guide provides a definition of “venture capital environment” for the purpose of this initiative).

It will fund projects including initiatives to strengthen the capacity of Canadian women entrepreneurs to access venture capital funding, contribute to increasing representation of women in the Canadian venture capital industry, or initiatives to reduce biases in the Canadian venture capital industry.

Eligibility

The lead applicant must be a Canadian not-for-profit organization with minimum of two years of operating experience (by June 2022) with a focus on supporting women in the venture capital environment. The lead applicant should fall under at least one of the categories of not-for-profit organizations or associations listed in Section B.4.i of the Application Guide.

For-profit organizations and others not listed under the Section B.4.i of the Application Guide are ineligible to apply as a lead applicant. For additional clarity, the funding available under this initiative cannot provide direct capital investment to women owned or led businesses, create investment funds, nor be further distributed.

Partnerships are encouraged; however, an organization may choose to apply independently.

Note - applicants and recipients of the WES Ecosystem Fund may also apply to the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, if they are eligible. However, the same project cannot receive funding under both contribution programs. Applicants should ensure that project proposals meet the given requirements and objectives of the contribution program. Please note that funding decisions regarding the WES Ecosystem Fund call for proposals which concluded on March 15, 2022  may not be made before the June 20, 2022 deadline to apply to the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative.

Partnerships

Applicants may also apply as a partnership of not-for-profit organizations or a partnership of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations/entities. The partnership must be led by a not-for-profit organization.

Organizations can be a partner for different applications.

For additional details on how to apply as part of a partnership/consortium, please see Section B.4.i and  ii of the Application Guide.

Project scope and areas of focus

Projects must:

  • Be completed by March 31, 2025 (project lengths may vary)
  • Have a minimum total project budget of $600,000 and not exceed a budget of $5,000,000 with a reasonable budget request based on organizations' previous experience, history, and capacity
  • Provide services on a national or multi-regional scale (at least 5 provinces or territories), and
  • Deliver services and products in both official languages as per the Official Languages Act

Eligible focus areas include one or more of the following:

  • Assist women entrepreneurs to better understand available options for financing and enable them to pursue and access such options
  • Support efforts to advance and grow the representation of women in roles such as investors/fund managers in various venture capital industry contexts
  • Provide education and training to support equitable access to funding and/or promotion of related practices to the venture capital industry (such as venture capitalists, angel networks, financial institutions, and others)
  • Engage investors to better understand, adapt to and work with women entrepreneurs or their enterprises
  • Foster networking or mentoring models to facilitate access to capital for women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and
  • Demonstrate support and contributions in other areas to strengthen the network of women and diverse entrepreneurship organizations in Canada, aligned with the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative's objectives

Please see Section B.4.iv of the Application Guide for more details.

Application deadline

The Government of Canada invites eligible organizations to submit proposals in either English or French no later than June 20, 2022 (11:59 a.m. PST). Applications must include all required information outlined in Section 7 of the application guide to be considered in the next stage of the selection process. Late submissions will not be considered.

Please contact the WES Central Inbox (wes-sfe@ised-isde.gc.ca) or call 1-800-328-6189 for questions or concerns.

Submitting your application

Interested applicants can apply through the Application Form. After completing the Application Form via our website, please submit all required supporting documents by selecting the "Add Attachments" and "Submit" buttons directly in the form. When you are ready to submit the Application Form, please first print or save a copy for your records.