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Canada announces renewed funding for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

Government of Canada advances domestic life sciences sector by supporting Canadian companies, talent, and research and development

As Canada works to finish the fight against COVID-19, the government is committed to ensuring a strong inclusive economic recovery that addresses systemic gaps and empowers women in the economy.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced a new contribution agreement totalling $4.25 million for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), one of the pillars of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a now $6 billion program to advance women’s economic empowerment. This funding will help the WEKH sustain its momentum, advancing its research and expanding its tools and resources to support diverse women entrepreneurs.

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The WEKH is an extensive network of over 300 partners—including researchers, business support organizations and key industry leaders—that are working to create a more supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. By collecting, analyzing and disseminating information, the WEKH helps track progress being made and inform the work ahead to support more women business owners in starting up, scaling up and exporting to new markets.

Minister Ng also marked the release of the WEKH’s annual report, the State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada 2022. The report focuses on the structural barriers that women entrepreneurs in Canada face, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women and ways to move forward. The report shows that women business owners are proactively preparing for economic recovery, improving their businesses’ competitiveness, mitigating potential labour shortages and keeping up with future industry changes to ensure their businesses survive and thrive past the pandemic.

This progress builds on the historic investments the government has made since 2015 to support women—like integrating gender-based analysis into policy decisions, legislating pay equity, enhancing the Canada Child Benefit, providing special funding to support women entrepreneurs during the pandemic, and establishing $10-a-day childcare.

-Quotes

“We know that women entrepreneurs have been facing systemic barriers since long before the pandemic. As we support women entrepreneurs and business owners with our $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, we are ensuring that our efforts are data-driven and that best practices are shared across the country. Through the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, we are providing a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices to help women entrepreneurs across the country succeed.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

“The support of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will allow us to continue to do research on the barriers faced as well as the polices, programs and services that help women entrepreneurs thrive. We will continue to collect data to identify effective practices to support diverse women entrepreneurs and to drive inclusive innovation. By sharing evidence and good practices and celebrating successes, we will continue to work with partners to build a more inclusive innovation ecosystem.”

– Wendy Cukier, Founder of the Ryerson University Diversity Institute and Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

-Quick facts

The funding announced today will allow the WEKH to:

  • create more partnerships with diverse business support organizations
  • continue efforts to build cohesion in the Black, Indigenous and other diverse women entrepreneur ecosystems, amplify their messaging beyond partners within the ecosystem, and ensure alignment with the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub
  • conduct further research into key themes identified by the WEKH and its partners through its activities to date, like financing, procurement and Indigenous entrepreneurship
  • continue to raise awareness and profile examples of success in women entrepreneurship
  • enhance efforts to reach mainstream corporate, government and media organizations for the application of knowledge and research
  • continue supporting the government and ecosystem’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery phase

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a more than $6 billion investment, includes:

  • the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, a program to facilitate existing loan programs to provide additional affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs
  • the WES Ecosystem Fund, which is helping remove barriers to the support networks and deliver the resources that women entrepreneurs need to start up, scale up and access new markets
  • the WEKH, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 300 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada

The government is also investing in removing systemic barriers faced by diverse entrepreneurs through programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program.

To ensure women have equal access to the benefits and opportunities arising from international investment, Canada is taking an inclusive approach to trade by integrating gender-related provisions in all its free trade agreements. The government has also co-signed the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement—a stand-alone initiative open to other economies to join.

Canada advances domestic life sciences sector by supporting Canadian companies, talent, and research and development

A $92 million investment in adMare BioInnovations will help translate health research into innovative new therapies in Canada

Protecting the health and safety of Canadians and making sure we have the domestic capacity to respond to future health crises are top priorities of the Government of Canada. With the guidance of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, the government is actively supporting the growth of a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector, with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a $92 million investment in adMare BioInnovations to drive company innovation, scale-up and training activities in Canada’s life sciences sector. This investment will help translate commercially promising health research into innovative new therapies and will see Canadian anchor companies provide the training required and drive the growth of Canada’s life science companies.

Through adMare’s innovation centres in Vancouver and Montréal, entrepreneurs, academic researchers, innovators and emerging Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) can access a full spectrum of services, including scientific expertise, research infrastructure and business development support, as well as funding for new research and development projects with strong commercial potential.

Canada is growing its diverse talent pipeline and research systems while attracting industry leaders to transform innovative ideas into the scientific discoveries of tomorrow. The government will continue to focus on improving the health outcomes of Canadians, relaunching the economy and providing well-paying jobs to Canadians.

Quotes

“Today’s investment in adMare BioInnovations is another step forward as we continue the work of building back our biomanufacturing sector after a 40-year decline. We know that by investing in Canadian entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and innovators, Canada will be well prepared for future pandemics and health emergencies. It is through Canadian talent and businesses that we will solve our world’s toughest problems and make Canada a hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“adMare greatly appreciates the strong support the Government of Canada has shown, not only to our organization but also to Canada’s entire life sciences enterprise. The historic investments Canada has made will significantly enhance adMare’s ability to deliver on our mission of building companies, building ecosystems and building talent—as well as advance the ambitious goals set out in Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make Canada a global life sciences leader, and together with our partners in government, academia, industry and the investment community, we look forward to realizing that vision.”
– Gordon C. McCauley, President and CEO, adMare BioInnovations

Quick facts

  • adMare BioInnovations is a not-for-profit organization that works to identify and de-risk promising discoveries in health and drug technologies and provide expertise, infrastructure and capital to advance the Canadian life sciences sector.
  • Currently, adMare’s 27 portfolio companies have attracted more than $1.4 billion in investments with a combined value of over $3 billion, and they employ more than 900 Canadians.
  • Through this funding announced in Budget 2021, adMare seeks to advance new health and pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) projects; support Canadian SMEs through R&D collaborations; help create and grow new, well-seeded, high-value, high-impact life sciences companies that stay and grow in Canada; train highly qualified personnel through its Executive Institute, post-doctoral fellowship and undergraduate training programs; and train Canadian scientists through its BioInnovation Scientist Program.
  • On July 28, 2021, the government launched Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which presents a long-term vision to protect Canadians against future epidemics and pandemics.
  • Growing Canada’s life sciences and biomanufacturing sector is a priority that goes beyond responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s investments in this growing sector support thousands of good middle-class jobs while securing Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come.
  • Budget 2021 provides a total of $2.2 billion over seven years toward growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector and securing pandemic preparedness. This budget funding provides foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems as well as to foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.

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