If you’re a woman that owns a small business, it can be very difficult to find funding for your business. This is why we did the work to research and put together all of the grants that are available for female entrepreneurs.
You will find that there’s a number of loan programs with favourable terms and in most cases, these terms are much better than what you would find with your usual lender, despite the fact that there are only a few programs that offer grants for women-owned businesses.
If you look hard enough you will quickly see that there are some unique and intriguing programs to get the funding you need that you never would have thought was available.
As a woman, starting or expanding a small business in Canada, the below 18 grants for women can help you further your business. If you need help, guidance and support in determining which of these 18 government grants for women are right for you; or if you want to see other funding options for women in business, consider using the Funding Database and getting expert assistance.
Entrepreneur Programs for Women Across Canada
Unfortunately, this will be the only category where you will find a grant program, and it also doesn’t offer much money, however, it is still free money so you should still give it a shot.
There are a variety of loan programs that you will find a few of those unique programs that we already mentioned if you are interested in trying something new.
2021 Incentives for New Female Entrepreneurs
DELIA is a loan initiative for women-led and women-owned businesses that are driven by innovation in the Southern Ontario area, this program is delivered by the Northumberland CFDC along with the support of FedDev Ontario and is powered by CORL Financial Technologies.
Women-identifying and/or non-binary-founders can receive help from Communitech’s Fierce Founders Intensive Track to build a plan for growth to scale their businesses faster.
Any qualified participants will get support to execute a customized growth plan with some hands-on help from their experienced growth coaches. The Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario will match the seed funds of up to $50,000 to the strongest growth plans.
The Wellington Waterloo Community Futures program believes in encouraging women-owned businesses to follow their dreams to grow their businesses into a profitable and flourishing enterprises. They provide business loans to women that own a business in rural areas to help with the funds for your start-up or plans for expansion. To start or grow your business they offer loans up to $250,000 and offer some assistance with business plan development and the application process.
Peer lending circles are a group of women who offer their advice to each other during their regular meetings by sharing their experiences and expand their shared and individual contact networks. PARO Peer Circles connects women with other enterprising women to network with one another.
Aimed to help groups that are under-represented within the Canadian agriculture sector, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous Peoples, the AgriDiversity Program helps them to fully participate in the sector by helping these groups to address key barriers and issues that they face often during their participation within the sector.
Women Entrepreneur Grants
Startup Women funds women-led science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) businesses with micro-grants in Canada and help them to start and grow their businesses.
Equity Investment for Women Entrepreneurs
The Uplift program from Communitech provides support and funding to women-identifying and/or non-binary business founders to help their businesses grow.
Export Development Canada (EDC) has created this program to support women-led and women-owned businesses to succeed on the international stage and provide them with international insights and financial solutions that are needed to grow with confidence.
The StandUp Ventures program is led by a team of investors who have used their experience to develop a diverse advisory committee. This committee is made up of venture investors, successful founders, and other mentors who will give applicants support for their businesses. They give their support to the eligible business with at least one woman in a C-level position with an equitable amount of ownership within the company.
The Women in Technology (WIT) Venture Fund is dedicated to investing in tech companies that are led by women entrepreneurs and help them to build a robust ecosystem.
The Pitch for the Purse program addresses the access barrier to capital, they provide mentorship and coaching to women entrepreneurs so they will be able to share the vision of their business and secure funding that they need to grow.
Loans for Women Entrepreneurs
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) empowers women within the agribusiness, agriculture, and food sectors. The Women Entrepreneur Loan will help these women to take the next steps to start or grow their businesses.
SheEO offers support to women-identifying and majority-led and owned businesses that are building the environmentally and socially sustainable models of the future. They provide interest-free loans to these women-owned businesses to help them towards their goals.
Women Entrepreneur Awards
Aiming to drive change and encourage women impact entrepreneurs, the Cartier Women’s Initiative is an annual international entrepreneur program that was founded in 2006. The program has been open to women-owned and women-run businesses from any sector in any country that has the vision to have a sustainable and strong environmental and/or social impact.
In-Kind Support for Women Entrepreneurs
This program was created to support women-owned technology businesses, they offer access to learning and networking opportunities that a business owner can use to help increase their chances of success.
PARO has become one of the strongest peer lenders to women-owned small businesses across North America by providing support to allow them to network and connect with other enterprising women. They also provide financial support by giving access to lending programs between $500 – $5,000.
This program shares engaging and innovative ideas throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support women entrepreneurs in Canada.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – Northern Ontario
Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation Wakenagun CFDC’s Investment Fund: Women in Business Loan
The Women In Business Loan provides financial support for women who want to own their own business. These funds can be used for existing or new business and the business must be majority-owned by a woman.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – Quebec
Femmessor Loans for Women
Femmessor is the only organization in Quebec that is offering support and finance services to women business owners. They are dedicated to the development of Quebec women’s business owners who has a mission to contribute directly to the growth, creation, and acquisition of businesses that are owned and manages partially or whole by women within the 17 Quebec regions.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – British Columbia
This program offers loans to businesses that are owned by women in BC. These loans can help with buying or growing a business. This is also bundled with ongoing, free, business skills training, professional business advice, and access to mentors.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – Alberta
The Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) offers loans of up to $150,000 for businesses that are owned by women in Alberta. They help you get the financing that they need to start or grow a business and provide support to their own community.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – Saskatchewan
The Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan (WESK) provides loans of up to $150,000, or possibly more through their partnerships, to allow women business owners to focus on establishing and growing their businesses.
Women Entrepreneur Programs – Manitoba
Loans are provided by the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba to businesses that have a woman that owns at least 50% of the business. The loans are available for any amount up to $150,000 to start, expand, or purchase an existing business.
Now is the time for any women business owner to move their businesses forward with confidence. More than ever before, there are funding opportunities and more women-led businesses. While grants for women are available, the above 18 grant and funding programs may not be right for you. It is always a good idea to speak to a funding expert to get a better idea of what may be available for you as a woman in business. Use the Funding Database to access all grants for women.
As a woman and a business person, you can be a tremendous impact on the economy in Canada and improve upon it more than any other demographic. As long as you’re a woman with an amazing idea, it doesn’t matter who or what you are, LGBTQ+, young, old, Indigenous, or disabled. If you own a business that you are in charge of, you can be successful with the help of any of these funding programs.
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