Less than 16% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are women-owned, yet the full and equal involvement of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness. The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) is an initiative funded through Budget 2018 that aims to reduce financial and knowledge barriers among women entrepreneurs. To grow women’s entrepreneurship and advance their economic participation, the Canadian government has selected a consortium to receive a financial investment and lead the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) has received an investment of $9M over three years from the government of Canada.
The WEKH is a one-stop source of data, knowledge, and best practices intended to support and deliver resources to government bodies, financial institutions, and women entrepreneurs. By creating this knowledge hub and providing the investment, the Canadian government is ensuring that women entrepreneurs and supporting organizations will have the resources they need to increase the participation of women in the economy across the country.
Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Consortium Awarded $9M
The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), which is receiving an investment of nearly $2 billion to help women kickstart and grow their businesses by making access to talent, financing, expertise, and networks more accessible. WES is set out to help achieve the Canadian government’s goal of doubling the number of women-owned companies by 2025.
In September 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub was accepting applications for one organization or consortium to lead the initiative. The Hub will generate and distribute key resources that help prepare women for entrepreneurship success, including finding and removing stereotypes and additional barriers that limit women from leading world-class companies.
Eligible applicants were to be a Canadian research institute, a Canadian post-secondary academic institution, or a consortium with one or more of the above parties partnering with Canadian incorporated non-profit organization. The chosen leader was Ryerson University.
Ryerson University has received $9M to lead the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
In addition, there will be eight regional hubs, 10 partners, and 37 supporters.
The eight regional hubs include:
- Mount Royal University (Calgary, Alberta)
- Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario)
- OCAD University (Toronto, Ontario)
- Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
- PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
- University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
- Université de Montréal (Montréal, Quebec)
- Simon Fraser University – VentureLabs (Vancouver, British Columbia)
These parties will provide the combined expertise needed to confirm women are represented across regions, in under-represented groups, and throughout communities. This investment in the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is ensuring that women entrepreneurs, government bodies, the private sector, and supporting organizations have vital information to better recognize and assist women entrepreneurs in their efforts to start up, scale up, and tap into new markets.
Women entrepreneurs interested in learning about upcoming government funding programs to support their business’ growth, please register for Mentor Works Weekly Funding E-Newsletter.