Feds announce $2B for women who operate their own business

The federal government announced on Thursday the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $2 billion fund aimed at doubling women-led Canadian businesses by 2025.

Federal government has goal of doubling women-led Canadian businesses by 2025

Eleven Saskatchewan businesses led by women received $4.6 million from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a national $2 billion fund. (Sophie Chevance/Radio-Canada)

The federal government announced there is a new $2 billion fund for businesses led by women in Canada. The goal of the program is to double the number of businesses owned and run by women by 2025.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) announced the first batch of money — more than $4.6 million — for businesses in Saskatchewan. The announcement was made Thursday at Hillberg and Berk in Regina.

Each eligible business could receive up to $100,000 to grow and expand.

"I think it's incredibly important to have an emphasis on women in business because there are specific challenges women in business face, particularly when they get to the phase of trying to scale up," said Rachel Mielke, CEO of Hillberg and Berk.

Mielke's business is one of eleven in Sask. which will receive money to expand to more markets under the money doled out by the government. 

Rachel Mielke owns Hillberg and Berk and will receive money from the fund to improve its business-footing in the U.S. market. (Radio-Canada)

The fund is intended to help women access better financing, employees and help with networking. The government estimates more women-led businesses could boost Canada's GDP by an additional $150 billion by 2026.

"There will be further calls for proposals and further announcements to come in the future as the full $2 billion is rolled out across Canada," said Ralph Goodale, MP for the Regina-Wascana riding.

The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre will get $1 million to support female entrepreneurs in the food processing industry. The Saskatoon Open Door Society will get just under $1 million to help women who are recent immigrants to get into business. Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan is getting $1.56 million to design a program aimed at expanding businesses owned and operated by women. These three initiatives are getting money from the regional WES Ecosystem Fund.

Eleven businesses in Saskatchewan were announced as recipients of money:

  • Prairie Berries Inc., located in Keeler.
  • Hillberg & Berk Accessories Inc., located in Regina.
  • Canadian Organic Spice & Herb Co. Inc. (Splendor Garden), located in Watson.
  • Clevor Technologies Inc. (Brillist), located in Saskatoon.
  • Destination Leadership Inc., located in Regina.
  • Grandpa's Garden Ltd. (Prairie Bee Meadery), located in Caron.
  • Mumm's Sprouting Seeds Ltd., located in Parkside.
  • Prairie Sun Pub and Brewery Inc., located in Saskatoon.
  • Road Coffee Co., located in Saskatoon.
  • S & E Trusted Online Directories Inc., located in Saskatoon.
  • Three Farmers Foods Inc., located in Saskatoon.

With files from Radio-Canada's Sophie Chevance


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