Aug. 22, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University will receive up to $1,385,000 in funding from the Federal Government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund to support women entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on non-tech sectors and entrepreneurs creating social enterprises. The funding is part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, visited Laurier Aug. 22 to announce the funding on behalf of the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion.
“This new funding from the Government of Canada will help Laurier provide more resources and mentorship so more women, including Indigenous women, will have the support they need to launch their own businesses and pursue their dreams,” said Deborah MacLatchy, Laurier president and vice-chancellor. “I am so excited to watch the next generation of women entrepreneurs and how they will innovate, problem solve and drive our economy.”
Laurier will use the funding to establish three programs to support women entrepreneurs at the early start-up stage and those looking to accelerate their businesses:
“The Lazaridis School is pleased to support this important initiative, which aligns well with our existing work with women founders and women-led enterprises through both our LaunchPad and ScaleUp programs,” said Micheál Kelly, dean of Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.
The programs will be affiliated with Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, home to Canada’s largest business degree co-op program, and the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Canada’s first academic entrepreneurship centre which assists students, alumni and community members in launching startups.
The WES funding aligns with Laurier’s strategic focus on fostering an equitable, diverse and inclusive community, which spans many university initiatives, including research. On Aug. 15, 2019, Laurier was selected as one of 17 post-secondary institutions to participate in a Government of Canada pilot program, Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada, to increase equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research. In the spring, Laurier secured a federal EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant, and was also one of the first institutions to sign the Dimensions Charter, which commits participating institutions to embracing EDI across disciplines and to implementing specific measures to address systemic barriers underrepresented groups face within academia.
The WES funding, administered by FedDev Ontario, is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to advance gender equality.
“I am proud to be part of a government that supports women-owned and women-led businesses across Waterloo Region to export to new markets,” said Chagger. “We created the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which will double the number of women-owned businesses in Canada over the next six years, enabling more businesses to innovate and grow. The full and equal participation of women in our economy and society is a priority for our government.”
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