Government of Canada invests $4 million to support over 700 women-led businesses across southern Ontario
Women-led businesses often face unique challenges, which have been amplified by the impacts of COVID-19 on our economy. As the economy reopens, these businesses need support to adapt their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, visited Venture13 in Cobourg, home of the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). There, she announced a $4-million FedDev Ontario investment in support of women entrepreneurs across southern Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.
With this investment through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), the Northumberland CFDC and WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with regional partners, will deliver the Rebuild Reopen Revive Initiative to support women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural and urban communities across southern Ontario. Both organizations will receive $2 million to provide non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to help eligible women-led businesses with key re-opening expenditures, including:
- Acquisition of reusable personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Reconfiguration of workspaces to accommodate social distancing impacts; and
- Enhancing online capacity to improve accessibility and client service.
Over 700 women-led businesses will be supported through this initiative. Interested SMEs can visit Northumberland CFDC (eastern Ontario) or WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation(southwestern Ontario) for more details or to apply.
While at Venture13, Minister Ng saw firsthand the entrepreneurship and innovation taking place at this thriving community hub, made possible with a $1.43 million FedDev Ontario investment in the Northumberland CFDC through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund in 2019. With this support, the Northumberland CFDC is working to improve access to capital for underrepresented women-led businesses through the development of an automated financial lending platform with an algorithm that removes gender bias. As part of a holistic approach, successful applicants are enrolled automatically into a concurrent program offering advisory and support services, networking, and access to office space through Venture13. The CFDC is supporting the growth of 30 women-led businesses through this initiative.
“Women entrepreneurs face unique and systemic challenges amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Our government is committed to building on the work we’ve done to break down these longstanding barriers to success as we restart and rebuild our economy. The investments made today through FedDev Ontario will support women-led businesses with critical costs as they work to re-open their businesses.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
“With reduced revenues and financial hardships of COVID-19, women-led businesses need support more than ever, as they face new challenges and expenses associated with reopening their businesses and preparing for recovery. The investments of over $4 million today will help to relieve some of the pressure as women-led businesses reopen and position themselves for a successful and stable future. We are here to support women entrepreneurs and to help these businesses come back stronger than ever.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario