BAIE-COMEAU,QC - Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced funding for a business in Baie-Comeau Wednesday as part of a strategy to double the amount of women-owned businesses in Canada over the next six years.
Champagne announced up to $100,000 to Granijem Inc., a Quebec-based company that specializes in the production of granite and is woman-owned and -led. The money will help the company construct a new building and purchase new equipment.
The funding comes as part of a $2-billion investment into women’s entrepreneurship across the country as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. That funding is directly available to entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, where $30 million has been allocated for 2018 and 2019.
Champagne has been touring the region speaking with local women entrepreneurs.
"The women entrepreneurs and business leaders of the Côte-Nord region play a major role in our economy and our communities every day,” said Champagne. “This is good for Canada and for Côte-Nord. When women succeed, everyone succeeds."
A first group of 13 businesses was announced under the strategy on International Women's Day in March.
The WES will equip women with the tools to start and grow their own businesses, including help with financing, talent, networks and expertise. Over 200 projects were funded last year with $20 milllion, and this year, the government will provide another $10 million, to support about 100 more projects.
"Our government believes that women's economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do; it's good for the bottom line,” said the Small Business Minister Mary Ng. “ It's a smart investment with an economic and social return."
Just 16 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada are majority women-owned.
According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, gender equality could potentially add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.