The Canadian Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth is calling for governments at all levels to do more to support Canadian women entrepreneurs. Describing such efforts as an essential strategy for sustained economic growth in Canada, the Taskforce says that a 20% increase in total revenues among majority female-owned enterprises will contribute an additional $2 billion a year to the Canadian economy.
“Women-led businesses in Canada represent a huge economic opportunity for our country,” says Barbara Orser, chair of the Taskforce and Deloitte Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. “Majority women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises represent over $117 billion per annum of economic activity in Canada.” The Taskforce also reports that women-owned firms fail to grow as quickly as firms led by men. These differences are reflected in Canada’s productivity and competitiveness.
Industry Canada reports that, in 2007, 47 percent of Canada’s 1.6 million small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) were wholly or partly owned by women, and sixteen percent of Canadian SMEs were exclusively owned by women.In addition, more than 900,000 of the 2.6 million self-employed workers in Canada are women. However, the average revenue of majority female-owned firms was $563,000 compared with $1,126,000 for majority male-owned firms.
The Taskforce is calling for a concerted effort to mobilize this underdeveloped segment of our economy through a five-point strategy, that is:
- create a national women-focused economic development strategy
- create business-stimulation programs to develop new markets and grow globally
- create and implement measureable supplier-diversity procurement objectives for all federal agencies and departments
- enhance women’s financial literacy and their awareness of gender influences in firm capitalization through training and other incentives
- increase the adoption of technology in women-led firms through training and other incentives.
About the Taskforce
The Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth is a national and non-partisan consortium of prominent female business owners, small-business service agencies, academics and industry associations. Founded in 2009, the Taskforce aims to accelerate the growth of women’s enterprises through the creation of appropriate public policy, advocacy, research, and sharing of best practices. In 2010 and 2011, the Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth initiated a series of roundtables across Canada to identify policies and programs to speed the growth and success of women business owners and self-employed workers. Participants included more than 200 prominent women business owners and self-employed workers, industry-association representatives, academics and other thought leaders.
Taskforce website: http://sites.telfer.uottawa.ca/womensenterprise/