Canadian Women Leading in Early-Stage Entrepreneurship: 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

Edmonton, AB, December 12, 2017 – Canadian women entrepreneurs lead in early-stage activity (TEA) compared to other innovation-based economies, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) Canada Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship. Canadian women also ranked fifth highest for established business ownership (EBO).

Alberta continues to breed entrepreneurship, with the rate of early-stage activity (less than 3.5 years) in the province (15.5%) surpassing the national average of 13.3%, up from 10.0% in 2014. Alberta is also among the top provinces for established business ownership (over 3.5 years) among women with an activity rate of 7.2% compared to the national average of 6.6%, though this has declined since 2014.

“Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) believes our economies are strongest when women participate in entrepreneurship,” says Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “This is a proud moment for women entrepreneurs in Canada who are breaking barriers and helping close the gender gap on both a national and global scale.”

The GEM Canada Report on Women’s Entrepreneurs highlights success stories out of Canada including–Claire Theaker-Brown, the founder of Unbelts. Claire sought help from Alberta Women Entrepreneurs to scale and grow her company, where she received financial support, as well as mentorship support through AWE’s PeerSpark™ program.

“AWE services and programs, including PeerSpark™ , are designed to help women entrepreneurs build confidence, improve business acumen, and accelerate their business success by uniting like-minded entrepreneurs,” Mandeville explains. “By establishing an environment where women-led businesses can thrive, our economy will become stronger and more diverse.”

Additional key highlights in the report include:

  • In 2016, 85% of women indicated they were motivated to start a new business by opportunities, up notably from 70% in 2014.
  • Canadian women entrepreneurs are found across all age groups, though start-up rates are highest among women aged 25-44, while the majority of established business owners fall between 55-64 years of age.
  • Established business ownership (EBO) activity levels is closest to parity, with 1.07 men for every 1.0 woman. This is interesting and important since established businesses are ones with longevity and proven success.
  • With respect to industry location, early-stage women entrepreneurs continue to cluster strongly in consumer services (54.5%) and business services (28.2%), though global comparisons suggest that Canada has a strong presence of women in the high-tech (ICT) sector compared to other innovation-based economies.
  • While men are more likely than women to assess their human and social capital highly, there are no apparent gender gaps in fearing failure, where a notable gender gap was reported in 2014.
  • Exporting activity in start-ups also shows an increase with about one-third of women reporting that 25% or more of their customers are outside the country.
  • Amongst the key assets Canadian women bring to their businesses are positive attitudes, opportunity-based motivations, high human capital, and strong interest in internationalization and innovation.

The full report can be found at GEM Canada is part of the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor, the largest and longest running survey of entrepreneurship in the world.

The report was written by Karen D. Hughes, a Professor at the Alberta School of Business and the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta.

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