Sask. shows highest provincial growth of woman-owned businesses

Woman-owned businesses are becoming more common in Canada — especially in Saskatchewan — but they remain a small fraction of those owned by men, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

Province also led growth of businesses jointly-owned by women

Becky Scharfstein-McGettigan is the proud new owner of Creative Haven YXE. She says owning a creative enterprise is a lifelong dream of hers, made possibly by hard work and the mentorship of other women. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

Woman-owned businesses are becoming more common in Canada, but they remain a small fraction of those owned by men, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

In Saskatchewan, the gap was closing faster than in any other province during the years studied.

The province led Canada in growth of businesses owned or jointly-owned by women between 2005 and 2013.

The jointly-owned category, which the study's authors say likely includes family-owned businesses like farms, showed the most growth in the province.

'It means we're doing a good job of supporting each other'

Saskatchewan led the country in the ratio of women-owned and jointly-owned to male-owned businesses in the province.

Becky Scharfstein-McGettigan is pleased to be a living representation of the newest statistics.

She launched her business, Creative Haven YXE, at the beginning of September and says it wasn't as hard as one might think.

"​I think being a woman, there are more tools available to me," she said.

Shcharfstein-McGettigan was able to access community support and mentorship through several organizations.

"This summer is when I started putting things down on paper, getting all the numbers, getting help from women entrepreneurs, and we opened in September.."

Her biggest challenge was the brick and mortar store she opened, since she didn't possess all the skills needed to do it herself.

"There was lots of delays in construction and going back and forth for permit requests, which I don't know about," she said.

She was unsurprised to hear female-owned businesses were on the rise, especially in her hometown of Saskatoon.

"I think it means we're doing a good job of supporting each other," she said.

"Being a woman in business, it's the most positive outcome I have from it — the sisterhood."

Western Canada also led regional growth in women-owned and jointly-owned businesses

In total, female-owned businesses grew from 233,000 to 309,000 from 2005 to 2013, the years surveyed.