Federal Investment in Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub to Support Women’s Economic Empowerment
As Canada works to finish the fight against COVID-19, the Government of Canada is committed to making a strong, inclusive economic recovery that addresses the systemic gaps and empowers women in the economy.
The Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced $5 million from Budget 2021 for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), one of the pillars of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a now $6-billion program to advance women’s economic empowerment. The funding will allow WEKH to continue the momentum of its work, advancing its research and expanding tools and resources to support diverse women entrepreneurs.
WEKH consists of an extensive network of over 300 partners—including researchers, business support organizations and key industry leaders—that are working to create a more supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. By collecting, analyzing and disseminating information, WEKH helps track progress being made and inform the work ahead to support more women business owners in starting up, scaling up and exporting to new markets.
WEKH has also released its annual report, The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada 2021. The report focuses on the structural barriers that women entrepreneurs in Canada face, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women and ways to move forward. Though its findings show that women’s businesses were disproportionately affected by the challenges of COVID-19, the report also explores how the pandemic has fueled innovation and growth for some women entrepreneurs.
Over the last year, the government has funded work to expand WEKH’s network, with a particular focus on racialized, Indigenous and Black communities, Francophone business support organizations, persons with disabilities and other under-represented groups. WEKH also stayed connected with women entrepreneurs throughout the pandemic by hosting a virtual month-long conference on economic recovery, developing a mentorship database of over 1,000 award-winning Canadian women industry leaders, and launching a sharing platform to collaborate and to share experiences and knowledge.