WES Ecosystem Fund

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

WES Ecosystem Fund

The Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality, women's economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (the Strategy), announced in Budget 2018.

As part of the Strategy, the Government is ensuring women across Canada have access to the business supports they need to start or grow a business.

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada allocated $85 million to the WES Ecosystem Fund to strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs. Over 50 projects were funded through this initiative. These projects are led by non-profit organizations and are inclusive of the needs of diverse and under-represented women.


This call for proposals is closed - we are no longer accepting applications.

Over 50 applications were approved for funding.

The WES Ecosystem Fund helps to address gaps and build capacity in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for women. Funded activities include:

  • Supplier diversity activities that target women entrepreneurs;
  • Initiatives to support women in traditionally underrepresented sectors;
  • Networking, matchmaking, and mentorship opportunities;
  • Incubator and accelerator programs;
  • Initiatives to support the participation of diverse and underrepresented women in entrepreneurship;
  • Efforts to scale up programs that support women entrepreneurs across regions and on a national basis; and
  • Other activities that will support the objectives of the WES Ecosystem Fund.

Funding was available through two streams:

National/Multi-Regional Stream: $15 million dollars was allocated to fund projects national or multi-regional in scope.  Priority was given to national projects that deliver benefits in all provinces and territories.  The minimum funding amount that was considered for a national or multi-regional project was $1 million.

A multi-regional project is one that combines three or more of the following regions: Western Canada Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and Northern Canada.

Regional Stream:  $70 million of the WES Ecosystem Fund investment was allocated to fund projects delivered in one of the regions listed above.

More information on the regions is available in the FAQ.

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