Minister Ng announces Women in Technology Venture Fund investment

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Three women-led firms get financial boost from BDC program

FREDERICTON, NB, Oct. 12, 2018 /CNW/ – In celebration of Small Business Week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, was in Fredericton today to kick off her cross-Canada tour. During her visit to New Brunswick, she announced that three more women-led companies received investments under BDC Capital’s Women in Technology (WIT) Venture Fund.

BDC Capital’s WIT Venture Fund invests in companies from seed to scale, in emerging venture funds with female partners and in new models to encourage women to become investors, ultimately expanding the network of investors for female founders and women leaders to seek out as they build new ventures.

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness because when women succeed, everyone succeeds. This is why the Government of Canada announced the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $2-billion investment that will improve women’s access to capital, advice, best practices, and targeted, gap-closing support. As part of this effort, BDC has increased its lending target for majority-owned women entrepreneurs to $1.4 billion. It also increased the Women in Technology Venture Fund to $200 million making it one of the world’s largest venture funds investing only in women-led technology companies.

The three women-led or co-led companies that received funding from BDC Capital’s WIT Venture Fund include Eigen Innovations, Beanworks and Kiite.

Fredericton-based Eigen, which hosted the announcement at its facilities, uses artificial intelligence to help manufacturers find factory floor efficiencies. Erin Barrett, Vice President of Business Strategy at Eigen, was in attendance and spoke about how the WIT Venture Fund is helping pave the way for female leaders and founders who want to create new ventures. Beanworks, led by CEO and co-founder Catherine Dahl, is a Vancouver software company that automates accounts payable. Kiite, co-founded by Donna Litt, has built the world’s first intelligent sales coach. The company is based in the Waterloo Region tech corridor.

While in Fredericton, Minister Ng also visited Planet Hatch, where she toured the facility and participated in a roundtable on women entrepreneurship. Planet Hatch is home to the Hive Incubator Program, which offers resources, guidance and support services to immigrant entrepreneurs.

The Government of Canada is proud to celebrate Small Business Week 2018. By providing support to small businesses, the government is helping the economy grow and creating middle-class jobs.

Quotes

“The government launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy because we believe that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do but it’s also good for the bottom line. BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund supports women in building and scaling up their businesses, while also empowering the next generation of women role models and mentors. With women’s full participation in our economy, we will produce more world-class businesses that can compete and win on the world stage, boost economic growth and create good middle-class jobs.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

“In order to have a lasting impact on the business landscape, it’s critical to demonstrate the value of diverse teams and pave a path to success for girls and women who are interested in a future in tech and investments. That’s why we look to partner for long-term success in companies that bring together the right technology, team and resources to disrupt and transform today’s markets, think big and have the passion and drive for success. The companies for which we announced funding today do this in spades.”
Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and the BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) will help women start and grow their businesses by improving access to financing, talent, networks and expertise through an investment of nearly $2 billion.
  • The strategy will help our government achieve its goal of doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025.
  • WES programs complement our government’s broader initiatives to help women, including measures on pay equity, more flexible parental leave and more affordable childcare.
  • Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026.
  • Fewer than 16% of SMEs in Canada are majority women-owned.
  • Only 8.4% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.8% of majority male-owned SMEs.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada 2015/16 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship indicated that in 2016, Canada had the highest percentage of women participating in early-stage activity (13.3%) and the fifth highest in terms of female ownership of established businesses among comparable innovation-based economies.

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