November 15, 2018—Today is International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Its goal is simple: to empower the more than four billion women, in 144 countries around the globe. And it’s an exciting year for women because I have never seen so much activity to support gender diversity and empower them.
Every day now I hear of new organizations, programs, funding, mentoring and other support that is available - support from organizations like the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) who exist to help women at all business stages, and from programs like the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy which committed $2 billion dollars to help women grow their businesses. At BDC, we increased the size of our Women in Technology Venture Fund to $200 million making it one of the world’s largest venture funds dedicated to supporting women in technology and venture. We also launched our WE Talk Business Boot Camps. These free, full-day sessions held across Canada, aim to help women entrepreneurs acquire the skills, network, financing and management advice they need to grow their business.
These examples are just a sliver of the type of support that exists for women entrepreneurs and what’s important to point out is many of these programs didn’t even exist a year ago. That’s how quickly things are happening this year.
Unleashing the power of women entrepreneurs
This year is also different for me personally because while I have been championing women entrepreneurs for decades, beginning this month, my role at BDC has changed to focus solely on unleashing the power of women-owned and led businesses as National Lead, Women Entrepreneurs. This is a first for BDC. In this new role, my job will be to ensure BDC has an integrated national strategy to support women entrepreneurs across all of our lines of business.
Shouting our success
Speaking of amazing founders and business leaders, this month BDC has been featuring women entrepreneurs’ success stories from all provinces, from those just getting started to seasoned entrepreneurs. The common thread between all of these stories is the magic that happens when we work together, no matter what type of entrepreneur you are. Now is the time for women to make their impact at work, across communities, and on the Canadian economy.
By Laura Didyk