BMO Financial Group and Deloitte have launched a new grant program aimed to support women-owned businesses in Canada, particularly as businesses are facing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses must be at least 51 percent female-owned or controlled to qualify for the program.
The program, which is part of the bank’s community program, BMO Celebrating Women, has committed $100,000 in grants to women entrepreneurs, and will award ten women-owned companies with $10,000 to support their business. The grant program is available to both BMO clients and non-clients.
“The new grant program honours the achievements of women-owned businesses and their ability to innovate and persevere during this difficult time,” said Erminia Johannson, group head of North American personal and business banking at BMO Financial Group. “We are deeply committed to developing programs that support the growth of women-owned businesses and to helping women make real financial progress.”
To be eligible for the program, businesses must be able to demonstrate how they have shown resilience and innovated due to the pandemic. Businesses must be at least 51 percent female-owned or controlled and must be headquartered in Canada with a minimum of 50 percent of their revenue tied to sales done in Canada.
Businesses must also have annual revenues of $10 million or less and should be in continuous operation, selling a product or service for not less than two years as of January 1, 2020.
BMO is working with partners to establish an advisory committee and judging panel, consisting of leaders from GroYourBiz, Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Get On Board, Women Business Enterprises Canada, Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and Deloitte.
Applications open July 20 and close August 7. In early September, 72 semi-finalists will be notified by email with specific instructions about submitting a one to two-minute video. In late October, 10 grant recipients will be announced.
“It’s essential for the economy and for the future of Canada that brilliant, resilient women entrepreneurs are recognized and elevated. Deloitte is proud to assist BMO with this important initiative,” said Linda Blair, managing partner of Ontario at Deloitte. “We recognize that these are exceptionally difficult times to sustain and grow a business, and we want to do what we can to help these entrepreneurs thrive.”
Image source Unsplash. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com.