The federal government has made $4.8 million in new commitments to two initiatives under its Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).
On the BetaKit Keynote Stage at SAAS North 2023, the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) announced it received $1 million from the WES to launch the National Women’s Initiative.
NACO said its new program will direct the $1 million to over 30 partner organizations across the country and will support a variety of projects, one of which is a series of cross-country roundtables where women investors and entrepreneurs can connect, share challenges, and identify opportunities. NACO said it will also provide a platform for women entrepreneurs and investors to access educational materials.
“This is a significant step forward in building a national ecosystem of coordinated, collaborative and mission-driven organizations focused on mobilizing angel investment for women entrepreneurs,” NACO CEO Claudio Rojas said on LinkedIn.
On Friday, Minister of Small Business Rechie Valdez and Minister of Women, Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien announced an additional commitment of up to $3.8 million from the federal government for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), which they called a “key component” of the WES in a statement.
The WEKH is a national network consisting of ten regional hubs and a digital platform that connects women entrepreneurs with the resources and information they need to grow their businesses.
The federal government said that its latest commitment will help WEKH create more partnerships with business support organizations, help ensure alignment with the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and the 2SLGBTQI+ Knowledge Hub, raise awareness and profile examples of success in women entrepreneurship, and enhance its efforts to reach mainstream organizations.
“Women entrepreneurs play a critical role not only in job creation and driving innovation and growth, but also in advancing social development and sustainability,” WEKH founder and academic director Wendy Cukier said in a statement. “Investments in [WEKH] has helped to inform and enhance our understanding of the barriers and drivers of women entrepreneurship, documenting the entrepreneurial ecosystem and what works for whom, and testing innovative approaches.”
Both commitments are part of WES, a $7 billion commitment to advance women’s economic empowerment by opening access to the financing, networks, and expertise needed to start and scale up a business.
WES initiatives have been consistently supporting education programs. Last month, as part of Small Business Week 2023, the federal government committed $2.7 million through WES to École des entrepreneurs du Québec to deliver free-of-charge educational programs to aspiring women entrepreneurs.
Feature image courtesy Claudio Rojas via LinkedIn.