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BDC study paints a promising future for today’s women entrepreneurs and looks back at their progress

Key findings:

  • The number of female entrepreneurs has grown more than 3 times faster than the number of male entrepreneurs since 1976
  • More than a third (39%) of all entrepreneurs that started businesses in 2018 were women
  • Today, women make-up around 28% of all entrepreneurs, compared to 11% in 1976

Calgary, Nov 19, 2019—On Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, continues its commitment to supporting the growth and success of women entrepreneurs. According to the BDC study, women entrepreneurs now account for 28% of all entrepreneurs in Canada and are growing 3.1 times faster than men. In fact, over the past 40 years, the number of female entrepreneurs has quadrupled.

The study also found that women entrepreneurs are less motivated by money. Two-thirds (64%) are driven to be her own boss; More than half (59%) do it to pursue their passion; and 30% do it to make a positive contribution to society.

“Entrepreneurship is on the rise and women are driving most of that activity,” says Laura Didyk, Vice President and National Lead Women Entrepreneurs for BDC. “Today we mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day but every day at BDC, we walk the talk to ensure women have the resources they need to thrive and build successful businesses.”

It’s widely known that women face different obstacles than men in starting and growing a business: Less access to financing and capital, smaller networks, fewer mentors and unconscious bias is still prevalent. Research shows our economy is stronger when we have more women-owned and led businesses. According to a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis, if there were equal numbers of women and men entrepreneurs the GDP could rise by $5 trillion globally and $80 billion in Canada alone.

To help women succeed, BDC has made it a priority to support them at every step of their business from accessing capital to finding networks, mentors and resources. Over the past three years, BDC has already doubled the number of women entrepreneurs it finances, and in 2018, the bank committed to lending $1.4 billion to women-led businesses by 2021. That same year, BDC almost tripled the size of its Women in Technology Venture Fund to $200 million, making it the world’s largest venture fund investing solely in women in tech.

“Women here in Canada and around the globe are significantly under-represented and under-funded in technology and investment companies,” said Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Women in Technology Venture Fund. “We are paving the way for more women to lead in technology and venture investment roles because diverse leadership teams are better for business. Already, we have invested in 25 amazing women-led companies and are creating a self-sustaining community to support these women across Canada.”

In addition, BDC:

BDC’s study, The Changing Face of Entrepreneurship in Canada, was released on October 22 and is based on entrepreneurship data and two national surveys—one that asked 1,025 Canadian entrepreneurs about the skills behind their success, and the second that polled 1,006 Canadians about their perceptions of entrepreneurship.

What is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED)?

WED is a global movement to celebrate and support female entrepreneurs and shed light on some of their challenges. It began in 2014 with a celebration at the United Nations and is celebrated annually on November 19th.

About BDC

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.


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