The PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise will receive $280,061 in federal funding for its project, “Collaborating for Transformation: Advancing Women's Economic Security.”
In this 36-month project, the organization will focus on understanding the gaps to the growth experienced by women-led businesses in Northern Ontario, and will help better understand why many women-led enterprises start off well but are unable to expand and grow.
These barriers include women's unequal access to growth capital, attitudes of investors, and existing and potential market opportunities, as well as improving business networks and other small business “connectors” that can make a difference to success or failure.
The project also will address the role that other factors such as sexism, rural isolation, and ageism play in hindering the growth of women-led enterprises.
The funding was announced yesterday by Employment, Workforce Development and Labour minister Patty Hajdu, also the MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, on behalf of Status of Women minister Maryam Monsef.
Women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity. In 2015, women in Canada earned just 87 cents for every dollar earned by men.
They also are much more likely to work on a part-time basis, making up 76 percent of all part-time workers, with 25 percent of women reporting child-care responsibilities as their reason for working part-time.
In October, 2017, Status of Women Canada invited organizations to propose projects that support women's economic security across Canada by addressing some of the root causes of inequality, including barriers such as access to child care, unequal pay, and the gender wage gap.
Through this call for proposals, entitled Support for Women's Economic Security, more than 30 projects have been approved for a total of $10 million in funding.
These projects will unfold over a period of three years, and funding builds on the federal government's ongoing efforts to support women's economic empowerment and advance gender equality for all Canadians.
“Our government knows that when we invest in women, we strengthen the economy for everyone, and that's why these projects are so important,” said Monsef.
“They are creating the right conditions for women to thrive in their careers—and their lives,” she noted.
“By funding organizations like the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise, whose important work target the barriers holding women back, we are ensuring that all Canadians—regardless of gender—have a real and fair chance at success,” Monsef added.
“Addressing barriers to women entrepreneurs in our rural areas will mean more participation and economic development in Northwestern Ontario,” noted Hajdu.
“I look forward to seeing the results of this project and increased economic diversity in our region,” she added.
“The PARO Centre does amazing work across Northern Ontario to break down barriers affecting women entrepreneurs in our communities,” said Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Don Rusnak.
"I am pleased that this funding will enable them to provide support and increased economic security to even more business women across Northern Ontario, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts this investment will have.
“We are thrilled that the Government of Canada is supporting our project to help more women entrepreneurs find the right financing and other supports to help grow and expand their businesses,” said Rosalind Lockyer, executive director of the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise.
“We hope that our efforts over the next three years will see many more women-led businesses in Northern Ontario succeed and continue to grow,” she added.