Entrepreneurship has no gender, but women-owned businesses still face several challenges. One significant roadblock for women looking to start or scale their business is inadequate access to funding. A study in 2019 revealed that women-led businesses received only 2.3% of the venture capital (VC) funding globally, a meager increase from 2018 figures. However, Ontario has several resources aimed at enhancing access to funding for entrepreneurs, especially women.
In this article, we’ll be discussing funding resources in Ontario that female entrepreneurs can leverage to fund their businesses.
Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC)
WEOC offers a virtual and on-site training program for women who plan to start or scale their business. WEOC provides funding support to enterprise centers across Ontario to tailor their training programs to their region’s specific needs. The program’s main objective is to provide female entrepreneurs with access to financing, procurement opportunities and present them with new business networks.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
BDC provides financing, advisory services, and capital to SMEs in Canada. They offer up to $100,000 to businesses led by women through their Women Entrepreneurs’ financing program. BDC has been instrumental in providing financial support to female-owned businesses, with over 19,000 Canadian businesses having benefited from their services.
Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC)
It is a non-profit organization that provides female entrepreneurs with business loans of up to $150,000. WEC also provides business advice and tools that help women-owned businesses thrive. Women entrepreneurs operating a business for at least two years and looking to expand their business can benefit from WEC.
Angel Investors Ontario
Angel Investors Ontario comprises individual investors who are willing to invest in promising businesses in Ontario. They provide financing, mentorship, and guidance to entrepreneurs looking to start or scale their businesses. They are motivated not only by a financial return on investment but also by a desire to support businesses that can deliver social and economic value to Ontario.
The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)
FWE acts as a mentorship and networking organization for female entrepreneurs in Ontario. They provide mentorship, access to financing, and a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs to female founders. FWE has connected over 297 women entrepreneurs to $152 million in funding over the last twenty years.
MaRS Discovery District
MaRS provides an ecosystem to entrepreneurs that promotes innovation, finance, and technology. It is a hub for businesses looking to get their businesses off the ground, scale, and funding opportunities. Female entrepreneurs can connect with financiers, scientists, and researchers who can take their business to the next level.
National Angel Capital Organization (NACO)
NACO is the only national organization working to improve access to capital for young Canadian businesses. They encourage female entrepreneurs to apply for funding by providing educational opportunities, mentorship, and strategic networking programs.
In conclusion, there are various resources available that female entrepreneurs can leverage to overcome the funding roadblock. Funding enables entrepreneurs to take their business ideas to the next level and scale their businesses. Exploring these funding resources will help women entrepreneurs access the funding they need to thrive, build sustainable businesses and, ultimately, contribute to Canada’s economic growth.