Canada's WES: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs, Boosting Growth

By: GWL Team | Sunday, 5 November 2023

Canada's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a $7 billion effort that provides resources, coaching, and networking opportunities to women-owned enterprises. It promotes gender equality, assists female entrepreneurs, and stimulates economic growth.

Women's entrepreneurship is growing, with increasing numbers starting businesses across sectors. Challenges like funding persist, but awareness and support are growing. The digital age empowers women to use technology and take support as well.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) of Canada is a key effort aiming at promoting women's equal and total economic involvement in the country. Recognizing the economic and social benefits of women's empowerment, the Canadian government has set out to make this goal a reality.

Here, we will look at the essential components of WES, their influence on female entrepreneurs, and how they contribute to Canada's economic growth.

WES: A Transformative Strategy

WES is a comprehensive plan supported by approximately $7 billion in pledges and investments, with the objective of empowering women-owned companies by providing them with critical resources.

The Canadian government highlights that WES aims to improve women entrepreneurs' access to capital, talent, networks, and knowledge, allowing them to establish, develop, and extend their firms. This commitment is crucial, considering that women control just 17% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada.

The Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative exemplifies WES in action. This program funds projects in Canada that promote a more inclusive venture capital environment for women, therefore contributing to gender equality in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The WES Ecosystem Fund: Nurturing Growth

The WES Ecosystem Fund, an essential component of the plan, is critical in giving support and resources to female entrepreneurs. The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, provided information about the fund's winners on International Women's Day in March 2023.

In round one, the fund supports eight initiatives by providing business acceleration assistance, entrepreneurial training, mentorship opportunities, and networking. These projects seek to help marginalized and diverse women across Canada achieve their business goals.

The second round of the WES Ecosystem Fund focuses on the retail and service industries, as well as the care economy. It intends to fill service gaps in isolated and rural areas, as well as in the northern regions, therefore expanding the reach of WES across the country.

Surprisingly, the WES Ecosystem Fund has already assisted over 10,000 women in starting new enterprises and more than 12,000 in expanding existing ones. Despite advances, barriers to women's access to capital remain, and grant recipients are actively trying to solve this issue.

Government Commitment to Gender Equality

Minister Mary Ng praised the extraordinary achievements and abilities of women entrepreneurs while recognizing the Government of Canada's efforts to help them. She emphasized the government's commitment to reducing gender prejudice and recognizing every woman's achievement.

Jenna Sudds, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women, Gender Equality, and Youth, praised the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund's good influence on the Canadian economy. Supporting women-led enterprises promotes inclusion and has the potential to increase Canada's GDP by billions of dollars.

Jenna observed that underlying these astounding figures are compelling stories of local lives altered, showing the latent potential that women's business provides.

Women's Role in Post-COVID Recovery

The COVID-19 epidemic has altered economies and shown the resilience of SMEs, particularly those managed by women. The WES Ecosystem Fund initiatives have helped to bridge service gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women, with an emphasis on mentorship, networking, and skill development. These efforts are critical to the post-COVID economic recovery, highlighting the adaptability and relevance of women-led enterprises in times of crisis.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund complements earlier Canadian Government initiatives to promote women, including as financing entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 epidemic, encouraging wage fairness, and bringing gender-based analysis into government operations. These initiatives highlight the government's continuous commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment in business.

Minister Ng's Vision

Minister Ng's aim for empowering female entrepreneurs is unmistakable. She underlines that empowering women is not just the moral thing to do, but also a sound business plan. The Canadian government acknowledges women as formidable entrepreneurs and company owners and is committed to reducing structural impediments to their growth and success.


The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy of Canada is a comprehensive strategy that aims to empower female entrepreneurs while also driving economic growth. Women around the country are receiving access to the resources and assistance they need to thrive in business thanks to the WES Ecosystem Fund and other related programs.

As Canada pursues a more inclusive, durable, and robust economic recovery, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy plays a critical role in leveling the playing field and guaranteeing the success of women entrepreneurs. WES is ensuring that when women thrive, we all succeed.