A Look at Québec Women Entrepreneurship During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far reaching, and research has shown that women, in particular those that are entrepreneurs, have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. Femmessor, in collaboration with WEKH, surveyed 1,080 women entrepreneurs from 17 regions of Québec to uncover the impacts of COVID-19 on women-owned businesses in the province.

Highlights

  • Women entrepreneurs have been severely impacted by the crisis—two out of three businesses reported operating at 50% capacity.
  • 22.3% of women entrepreneur respondents believe that their business will have difficulty surviving this crisis and may not recover.
  • For 18.3% of respondents, the current crisis has become an opportunity.
  • During the months of March and April, women-owned businesses suffered financial losses of $83,902 on average. 
  • However, only 20% of these businesses said they intended to take advantage of the measures implemented by the Governments of Québec and Canada. A large proportion of respondents believed they did not qualify for the programs. Others did not yet know whether available programs addressed their specific needs and if they would be able to take advantage of these measures. Others still were looking to other sources of funding. 
  • Respondents identified five main expectations for economic recovery. Some of these include: ensuring that buying local continues to be a top priority; being supported in acquiring digital and financial skills; and lastly, a shift in the global economic model. This last point refers to the importance of environmental sustainability and promoting measures that enhance work–family balance, including working from home.
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