Federal government commits $2.7 million to new education project through Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund

FAIR.E, launched this week, will provide entrepreneurship education programs to 1,800 women in six provinces.

The federal government kicked off Small Business Week 2023 by committing $2.7 million to École des entrepreneurs du Québec (EEQ) through its Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund.

The funding, announced by Minister of Small Business Rechie Valdez at EEQ’s Montreal campus on Monday, will support the launch of EEQ’s FAIR.E project. The project will deliver three free-of-charge educational programs , which will teach aspiring women entrepreneurs how to launch ideas, set targets, and grow their business.

The federal government said the FAIR.E program will serve up to 1,800 prospective women entrepreneurs across six provinces: Québec, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Our goal of best serving entrepreneurs of all types is what’s driving us to join forces with economic development partners nationally and internationally,” said EEQ executive director Michel Fortin. “Together, we’re acting as agents of change for entrepreneurs, helping make them more confident, knowledgeable and resilient in an ever-evolving world.”

EEQ, founded in 1985, claims it has supported over 60,000 entrepreneurs in the last 23 years. The non-profit’s stated mission is to develop the skills of entrepreneurs by offering an accessible and collaborative learning environment.

The FAIR.E program, which also launched Monday, stands for “Flexibility, Action, Inclusiveness, Achievement, Entrepreneurship.” EEQ says it is joining forces with local economic development partners, namely the Société économique de l’Ontario and Kaléidoscope Social Impact, to carry out the project.

This is not the first time EEQ has received funding from WES’ Ecosystem Fund. The organization received $3.2 million from the fund in 2019 to build “the right supports” for women entrepreneurs, according to former Minister of Small Business Mary Ng.

RELATED: Minister Ng shares plan to build capacity for women entrepreneurs as WES invests $3.2 million into Québec

WES represents what the federal government calls a $7 billion commitment to advance women’s economic empowerment by enabling access to the financing, networks, and expertise needed to start and scale up a business.

The WES is made up of four resources: the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and the WES Ecosystem Fund which funded EEQ’s FAIR.E program.

The WES Ecosystem Fund last called for new projects in July 2022, earmarking $40 million to support initiatives that close service gaps for women entrepreneurs.

Image courtesy École des entrepreneurs du Québec via Facebook

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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