Original Article: Government of Canada
August 15, 2022 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced that Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) will be providing loans of up to $50,000 to women entrepreneurs and business owners this fall through the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The Minister was joined by Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; the Honourable Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre; Alison Kirkland, Chief Executive Officer of WEOC; and Marcela Mandeville, Chair of the Board of WEOC.
Minister Ng highlighted that the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is already supporting women across the country in starting up and growing their businesses, with a majority of the recipients being under-represented women. With WEOC set to distribute nearly $30 million in loans, the Government of Canada is ensuring that even more women can access capital to start or grow their businesses.
WEOC will deliver the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund through its regional loan fund partners. They will work with women entrepreneurs at every stage of the application process and deliver top-quality wraparound business support, including helping applicants with the development of viable business plans and providing advisory services, training and loan aftercare.
Currently, the loan fund partners are WeBC, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, and Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Applicants can engage with these loan fund partners to start preparing their business plan for the application process.
For more information on WEOC’s Loan Fund Program, visit https://weoc.ca/loan-program/.
The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund—a key part of the $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy—is allocating funding to not-for-profit organizations with existing loan programs to provide additional affordable financing to women entrepreneurs, particularly for start-ups, under-represented groups or sole proprietorships that experience more difficulty in accessing financing.
Selected administrators of the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund now delivering the program include the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation and Coralus (formerly SheEO).
This milestone builds on the historic investments the government has made to support women since 2015—from integrating gender-based analysis into policy decisions and program development, legislating pay equity and enhancing the Canada Child Benefit to providing special funding to support women entrepreneurs during the pandemic and establishing agreements with the provinces and territories for $10-a-day daycare.
“Women are smart, creative and driven, and they already know how to achieve success. What they need are opportunities, open doors and a hand up. Those are exactly what our government is providing through the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. By removing systemic barriers in accessing financing, we are again moving the dial in empowering women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential, create local jobs and drive economic growth.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“It’s great to see that a local Winnipeg organization will be helping women across Canada reach their business goals. The knock-on effect of empowering women with better access to financing will have a measurable economic impact that benefits us all and will greatly contribute to Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity.”
– Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund supports women entrepreneurs by providing access to much-needed capital, as well as the wraparound business supports that we know ensure long-term success. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and now is an excellent time to provide resources that facilitate the growth of women-owned businesses.”
– Alison Kirkland, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada
- The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a more than $6 billion investment, includes:
- the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which is enabling existing women-focused loan programs to provide additional affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs;
- the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, which seeks to strengthen access to funding and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women;
- the WES Ecosystem Fund, which is helping remove barriers to the support networks and deliver the resources that women entrepreneurs need to start up, scale up and access new markets; and
- the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 300 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada.
- The government is also investing in removing systemic barriers faced by diverse entrepreneurs through programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
- To ensure women have equal access to the benefits and opportunities arising from international investment, Canada is taking an inclusive approach to trade by integrating gender-related provisions in all its free trade agreements. The government has also co-signed the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement—a stand-alone initiative open to other economies to join.
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada