The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) was developed as part of Budget 2018 to help women and their businesses compete and thrive on a global level, increase economic growth, and create good middle-class jobs. WES is devoting nearly $2 billion to helping women grow their companies through talent, expertise, and access to financing, with the goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025. As part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, the government allocated over $105M in regional and national funding programs, one of them being the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.
The Women Entrepreneurship Fund has recently announced that over 200 women entrepreneurs will receive business expansion grants.
The Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF) was a $20M investment designed to support the expansion of women-owned and led businesses. WEF is devoted to helping women entrepreneurs scale their operations and increase market expansion where their innovative products and services can succeed. The announced funding is breaking barriers to improve the full and equal participation of women in the Canadian economy and is increasing opportunities for growth and global market competitiveness.
WEF Announces 200+ Women Entrepreneurs will Receive Funding
The Women Entrepreneurship Fund reduces up to 80-90% of a business’ eligible project costs and can provide up to $100,000 in government grants for women entrepreneurs.
In March, the Government of Canada announced some of the first successful recipients of WEF. In total, more than 200 applications were approved for funding. There will be frequent updates over the coming weeks with more awarded businesses. A few of the successful applicants include:
Main St. Local Kitchen Inc. – Huntsville, ON ($100,000)
Business grants will be used to expand their gluten-free food and beverage offerings with an improved facility for food processing and storage for retail and wholesale distribution. They will also leverage funding to capitalize on market growth opportunities.
Bubble Technology Industries Inc. – Chalk River, ON ($100,000)
Specializing in radiation and explosive detection technology, the company has been used to screen threats at events such as the Olympics. WEF funding will increase efficiency in business operations, support an in-house advanced manufacturing capability, and improve marketing efforts. In turn, these projects will result in market expansion and the creation of new jobs.
Prairie Berries Inc. – Keeler, SK ($100,000)
Prairie Berries Inc. will expand its berry processing facility, allowing them to act on export markets. This expansion will increase the quality and support of CFIA-approved Saskatoon berries and extracts for national and international markets.
Women Entrepreneurship Fund: Business Grants for Women
The Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF) is a business expansion grant that solely supports female-led or owned businesses that are investing in growth projects with economic impacts. WEF encourages women entrepreneurs to scale their operations and reach new international markets where their innovative products and services can succeed.
WEF applicants could receive up to 80-90% of eligible project costs to a maximum $100,000 in non-repayable grants.
Examples of projects that were funded through WEF include:
- Export Market Opportunities: supply chain integration, international marketing strategy, and business advisory services; and
- Scale-up, Expansion, and Growth: technology improvements, inventory management, and process improvements.
There are currently no plans for the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to have another application intake. Outcomes of the funded projects will be evaluated, and the federal government will advise if future funding is considered.
Women-led businesses interested in learning about programs to support their business’ growth are encouraged to register for an upcoming webinar or event. These free government funding sessions will cover trends in government funding programs, identify specific grants and incentives worth applying for, and explain how to optimize the funding identification and application process.