By Tracy Stroud on May 1, 2019.
At the Entrepreneur Development Centre at Medicine Hat College, we help all students and recent alumni start businesses. When spring comes, however, I personally become more observant of female entrepreneurs and their accomplishments.
I am not sure if it’s because March is National Women’s History Month and we look to nominate females for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, or if it’s because in April the local Women In Business Inspire Luncheon takes place, an event that recognizes a women for their contributions to mentor, encourage and inspire others in the local business community.
Whatever the reason, it seems like a good time for female entrepreneurs to shine. And with good reason, 2016 data shows that women-owned business experienced the fastest growth in Canada, in both business counts and employment according to statistics Canada. Canadian women are also the most active female entrepreneurs in the world according to the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship.
Despite these accomplishments, however, fewer business are led by women. According to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, from the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada:
– Approximately 16% of small and medium-sized enterprises are majority women-owned
– Only 10% of high-growth firms are owned by women
– About 8% of women-owned businesses export
There are many challenges for female business owners, from a lack of access to role models to a double edge sword when it comes to accessing capital. For example, women are both less likely to seek out debt and equity financing, as well as to be rejected or receive less money when they do.
The good news, is there are also many resources out there that can help. In Alberta services range from female focused organizations like Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, to others that are open to all such as Community Futures. Even our own EDC has start up grants of up to $10,000 for those that are eligible as well as access to the Regional Innovation Networks (RINs) across the province.
If you are a female thinking about starting a business, we hope this article encourages to reach out and take that next step. Whether through the EDC, or other local supports that we would happily refer you to, help is available. Please contact us to learn more.
The MHC Entrepreneur Development Centre helps student and alumni bring their entrepreneurship dreams to life. We offer one-to-one coaching, training, mentorship and access to a diverse network of start up funding. To connect into our network email email@example.com or call 403-502-8433.
Tracy Stroud is manager of business development at Medicine Hat College.