On September 28, 2018, the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion announced the WES Ecosystem Fund, which will invest $85 million over five years to strengthen organizations’ ability to support women entrepreneurs and close gaps in the women entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Funding for the WES Ecosystem Fund is available to not-for-profit organizations through two streams:

  • National/Multi-Regional Stream: $15 million dollars will fund projects which are national in scope.
  • Regional Stream: $70 million will go towards projects delivered on a regional basis.

Announced on October 19, 2018, the Women Entrepreneurship Fund is a $20 million investment which aims to assist women entrepreneurs grow their existing business and enable them to pursue opportunities in domestic and global markets. It will provide up to $100,000 in non-repayable contribution funding to for-profit women-owned and/or women-led business for projects up to 12 months in length.

Applications are now being accepted for both initiatives.  A complete application package for the Women Entrepreneurship Fund must be submitted by November 15, 2018 23:59 PST. The application package for the WES Ecosystem Fund must be submitted by November 22, 2018 23:59 PST.

As part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a centerpiece of Budget 2018, these initiatives will contribute to the Government of Canada’s commitment towards advancing gender equality, women’s economic empowerment and supporting women entrepreneurs, and will help achieve the goal of doubling the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Details regarding the application process, the application guide, and a collection of frequently asked questions can be found on the WES Ecosystem Fund website and the Women Entrepreneurship Fund website.

Questions? Contact Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) at ic.wes-sfe.ic@canada.ca.