Empowering Women in Business: Insights & Recommendations

Historically, women have been underrepresented in Canadian entrepreneurship, but recent years have seen increased participation by women owners, who are reshaping the business landscape.  As women increase their presence in the business space, many encounter various challenges, including limited access to capital and outdated societal perceptions of their roles in business. While progress has been made to address some of these issues, achieving gender equity in entrepreneurship remains an ongoing journey.

In recent years, women entrepreneurs in Canada have made significant inroads into the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. Compared to 2017, when just 15.6% of businesses were majority-owned by women, today they hold a majority stake in 16.8% of SMEs and represent 37% of self-employed individuals across the country. These women-owned businesses have created over 1.5 million jobs and contribute approximately $150 billion to the Canadian economy. Despite this, a significant proportion of women-owned SMEs still rely on personal financing to initiate their ventures. Recognizing this trend and its challenges, the Government of Canada has implemented initiatives such as the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), which seek to provide women entrepreneurs with greater access to the financing and information they need to start or grow their business.

To better understand the world of women entrepreneurs in Canada and support their progress, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) conducted research that delves into the journeys of women business owners, their definitions of success, the challenges they face, and their awareness of existing programs that support their ventures. These many insights inform meaningful recommendations which will assist policymakers, financial institutions, and other organizations in tailoring programs and strategies to better support women entrepreneurs.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: "for every future," we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of almost 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.4 trillion (as at October 31, 2023), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit http://www.scotiabank.com and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank.

About The Scotiabank Women Initiative

The Scotiabank Women Initiative® is an enterprise-wide program designed to increase economic and professional opportunities for our women clients, empowering them succeed on their own terms. It provides equitable access to financial solutions, specialized education, and inclusive, women-centric advisory services and mentorship to help people who identify as women or non-binary to pursue their best professional and financial futures. For more information, visit scotiabankwomeninitiative.com.

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