Women Starting New Small Businesses

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

While Canadian women make up nearly half of small business owners in Canada, of the over 1.5 million small and medium enterprises in Canada, only 16 percent were run by a majority female ownership. The two largest impediments facing women today are lower levels of entrepreneurial capital and access to financial capital compared to male entrepreneurs.

Gender Disparity in Entrepreneurial and Financial Capital

Entrepreneurial capital incorporates elements of the knowledge, aptitude, experience and networks relevant to creating and growing a firm. On average, small, woman-owned businesses tend to have less entrepreneurial expertise relative to their male counterparts. However, women have higher amounts of human capital concerning education attainment.

Canadian women, on average, begin their startup with less capital than men. Canadian women are also likely to have a brief or nonexistent credit history; yet, interestingly enough, they are more likely to repay their total debt than males.

Companies ran by women create jobs four times faster than the national average, while women also create businesses at twice the rate of men. Additionally, the amount of women with incorporated companies more than doubled over the past decade.

To aid this accelerating growth and help female entrepreneurs stay competitive, there are many Canadian programs that assist women in beginning and running successful startups.

RBC’s Women Entrepreneurs Program for Small Business Owners

The Royal Bank of Canada has created services and guidance to satisfy women entrepreneurs’ needs. Giving one-on-one strategic advising for female entrepreneurs, RBC supports their firms’ success. Financing is also more readily available through the bank, in addition to their expertise and further resources. Using the Small Business Financial Services Resource Centre, female entrepreneurs can gain the information and assistance they need to answer questions about the startup and expansion of their businesses.

Mentor Works

To reach success, women business owners need the most recent information and resources. Mentor Works offers information on the government funding programs, including small business loans and grants. To remain current on small business news and Canadian government funding, you can subscribe to Mentor Works’ Small Business Funding Newsletter, which also provides tips, tools and support services for female-controlled startups seeking additional capital.

Ontario Business Loans

The Microlending for Women in Ontario Program is a $760,000 program to help over 800 low-income women become small business owners. With the guidance of the mission, these women receive financial training. After completing their education, they are given microloans of $500 to $5,000 to start their own businesses. Portions of the funding from the Ontario government have been allotted to community organizations to support business advisory and microlending programs.

Women’s Small Business Networks

Women’s enterprise or entrepreneur centres exist in several Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. These organizations give women a greater chance of success by providing them with business resources or services that are otherwise lacking.

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