WES Ecosystem Fund
The Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality and women's economic empowerment and to supporting women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), which was announced in Budget 2018.
As part of this strategy, the Government is ensuring women across Canada have access to the 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 take into account the needs of diverse and under-represented women.
Funding was available through two streams:
National/Multi-Regional Stream: $15 million dollars was allocated to fund projects that were national or multi-regional in scope. Priority was given to national projects that would 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.
The Government of Canada is also providing $15 million in new funding to the WES Ecosystem Fund. This funding will be available to existing WES Ecosystem Fund recipient organizations, enabling these third-party organizations to provide timely support and advice to women entrepreneurs facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This call for proposals is closed, so 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 under-represented sectors;
- networking, matchmaking and mentorship opportunities;
- incubator and accelerator programs;
- initiatives to support the participation of diverse and under-represented women in entrepreneurship;
- efforts to scale up programs that support women entrepreneurs across regions and on a national basis; and
- other activities supporting the objectives of the WES Ecosystem Fund.
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