A major component showcased in the 2018 Federal Budget announcement, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is devoting nearly $2 billion to helping women grow their businesses through expertise, access to financing, and talent. This strategy is assisting the Canadian government in achieving its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025, as currently only 16% of Canadian SMEs are led or owned by women. Of these, only 11% are actively exporting internationally, which means there is opportunity to increase the support for women entrepreneurs engaging in export trade.
Export Development Canada (EDC) has announced a $50,000,000 Women in Trade Investments Program to help Canadian women entrepreneurs expand their businesses globally.
Export Development Canada is Canada’s export credit agency, supporting and developing Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international business opportunities. The Women in Trade Investments Program is an investment initiative designed to provide both direct and fund equity directed to women-owned and led businesses pursuing to access new markets. Women entrepreneurs engaged in export trade will be provided with the resources needed to scale their businesses. This program is complementing additional EDC initiatives to support women-led organizations in their exporting activities. Please note that this program is not a grant, as EDC does not provide grants.
What is the Women in Trade Investments Program?
If women-owned businesses increased by just 10%, the economic contribution of Canadian women over the next ten years could reach almost $200 billion. Export Development Canada’s $50M Women in Trade Investments Program is the most recent announcement to improve women leaders’ access to capital in order to scale their businesses.
“EDC’s commitment to the Women in Trade Investments Program aims to advance gender diversity at both the micro and macro levels, reaching not only the individual entrepreneurs but also targeting a segment with enormous growth potential for the Canadian economy.”
– Mairead Lavery, President and CEO, Export Development Canada
Through the program, EDC export experts will work with women-owned and led organizations that possess strong opportunities for export growth. The support will come in the delivery of equity capital via both direct investment and investment in Canadian venture capital funds.
Eligibility criteria for the Women in Trade Investments Program includes:
- Must be a Canadian company that has been founded and/or is strategically led at the C-suite level by one or more women
- $1M CAD in recurring revenue/per year, at or past the commercialization stage
- Exporting or ready for export
- Historical and/or likely investment from established investors or institutions is strongly recommended
This support marks another step for EDC to further develop and incorporate a long-term strategy to ensure commitments are met to help more women entrepreneurs go, grow, and succeed internationally.
To connect with an EDC trade advisor for more information on export support available for women-led businesses, call 1-888-220-0047 or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. More details about the Women in Trade Investments Program are expected to come in the future.
Additional Support to Grow Your Business Internationally
Scaling your business into a globally-competitive firm takes significant knowledge and financial resources. Leveraging government grants and other funding programs are great resources to take advantage of when looking for ways to offset costs of exporting projects.
Women-led businesses seeking more information about government funding programs to support their export trade initiatives are encouraged to register for one of Mentor Works’ upcoming webinars or events. These government funding sessions identify grants and incentives worth applying for and discuss how to optimize the funding landscape and application process.