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Minister Valdez announces nearly $4 million to continue supporting women entrepreneurs across Canada

Press Release

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

November 17, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario

When we build a more inclusive economy, we build a stronger economy that works for everyone. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to take action to advance gender equality and ensure all entrepeneurs have access to the opportunities and resources they need to grow their businesses, which will create good middle-class jobs for Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, joined by the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced additional funding of up to $3.8 million for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) to continue providing support for women entrepreneurs across the country.

The WEKH is a national network consisting of 10 regional hubs and an accessible digital platform that helps connect women entrepreneurs with the resources and information they need to grow their businesses. The funding announced today will allow the WEKH to:

  • create more partnerships with diverse business support organizations;
  • continue efforts to build relationships in the Black, Indigenous and other diverse women entrepreneur ecosystems and ensure alignment with the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and the 2SLGBTQI+ Knowledge Hub;
  • continue to raise awareness and profile examples of success in women entrepreneurship; and
  • enhance efforts to reach mainstream corporate, government and media organizations for the application of knowledge and research.

The WEKH is a key component of Canada’s first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $7 billion initiative that has helped support tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs across Canada since its inception in 2018. This additional funding will ensure that the WEKH can help even more women entrepreneurs start up and scale up their businesses.


“This funding is great news for women entrepreneurs and is yet another step our government is taking to ensure support and resources are provided to entrepreneurs who have not historically had the same access to capital and resources. With this new funding, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub can continue its essential work of supporting women entrepreneurs across Canada. Together with our partners, we are building the understanding we need to create programs that have a real impact in strengthening our economy and creating good middle-class jobs for all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business

“To build a stronger and more resilient economy, we must make sure that women, in all their diversity, have equal access to opportunities to start or grow their businesses. The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is at the heart of our government’s efforts, and I am proud to see their work moving forward. Canada is home to incredible women entrepreneurs, and we will continue to focus on levelling the playing field for them to shine.”
– The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

“We are pleased to see the continued support of women entrepreneurs by the Government of Canada. Women entrepreneurs play a critical role not only in creating jobs and driving innovation and growth but also in advancing social development and sustainability. Investments in the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub have helped to inform and enhance our understanding of the barriers and drivers of women entrepreneurship, document the entrepreneurial ecosystem and what works for whom, and test innovative approaches.”
– Wendy Cukier, Founder and Academic Director, Diversity Institute and Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a nearly $7 billion investment that includes:
    • the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which is enabling existing women-focused loan programs to provide additional affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs;
    • the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, which seeks to broaden access to funding and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women;
    • the WES Ecosystem Fund, which is helping remove barriers to the support networks and deliver the resources that women entrepreneurs need to start up, scale up and access new markets; and
    • the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 250 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada.
  • The government is also investing in removing systemic barriers faced by diverse entrepreneurs through programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
  • To ensure women have equal access to the benefits and opportunities arising from international investment, Canada is taking an inclusive approach to trade by integrating gender-related provisions in all its free trade agreements. The government has also co-signed the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement.


Nadine Ramadan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada



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