The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption and uncertainty for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses that have been closed for in-store shopping had to pivot to online, curbside pickup, and delivery of their products. Some had to close entirely due to public health guidelines. However, it is still a good time to consider being a woman entrepreneur.

The federal government has committed up to $5 billion to support women entrepreneurs. What does this mean for you as an aspiring woman entrepreneur? Some of this funding is allocated to non-profits and service providers that develop and deliver programs customized for the needs of the Windsor-Essex community.

In the 2018 budget, the Government of Canada committed to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) aimed at advancing women’s economic empowerment through full and equal participation in the economy. WES will help increase access to funding, recruitment, networks, and knowledge needed to take an idea from launch to growth. The program intends to double the number of women-owned business in Canada by 2025.

In Windsor-Essex, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy has provided the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre with $692,000 over four years to help women entrepreneurs in emerging technologies. RISE was developed as part of the WES initiative to support women in entrepreneurship and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). As part of RISE, EPICentre at the University of Windsor currently offers VentureWomen, a program that offers weekly workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and other supports to help women entrepreneurs succeed.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) consists of 10 regional hubs that work together across regions on research and sharing knowledge and best practices. The network consists of over 250 organizations and serves more than 100,000 women entrepreneurs. In Ontario, there are two regional hubs. They are located at OCAD University in Toronto and PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay.


Read Emily’s story of entrepreneurship here.

Read Mylene’s story of entrepreneurship here.