Minister Ng Announces $16.1 Million Investment in Women Entrepreneurs at Vancouver WEKH Launch
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced a $16.1 million investment designed to support women entrepreneurs across Canada at the launch of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) on June 4th, 2019 at Simon Fraser University’s VentureLabs®. The investment is part of a $2 billion federal commitment designed to help double the number of women-owned businesses in Canada by 2025.
Recipients of the funding include the Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC), which has received $2.7 million to help improve the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs; S.U.C.C.E.S.S, which has received $1.5 million to deliver the immigrant entrepreneurship program in B.C.; and the Groundswell Education Society, which has received $400,000 to deliver social entrepreneurship education.
Two companies based out of VentureLabs®, A&K Robotics (co-founded by COO Jessica Yip), and Curatio (founded by CEO Lynda Brown Ganzert), also received funding from the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to help propel their growth.
The launch also featured a discussion with WEKH and BC’s women entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders. Erin Roach, Executive Director at the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, outlined some of the persistent barriers faced by women entrepreneurs and stressed the importance of a holistic approach to supporting women entrepreneurs.
“There is a lot of work to be done to build inclusion in the rest of the ecosystem, which should be inclusive spaces for women as well. If we are not applying a gender and diversity lens, then we are excluding women from incredible opportunities,” Roach explained.
Led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Ted Rogers School of Management with over 50 partner organizations, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) is a nation-wide network of researchers, business support organizations, and key stakeholders aiming to reduce barriers and grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. SFU’s VentureLabs® in Vancouver is serving as a regional hub as part of the national research and collaboration network.
Read more about the WEKH here.