The Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund is taking proposals for another round of projects, and is doling out $40 million.

The fund is part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), which received a top-up of $146.9 million in the 2021 budget. This call is part of the second phase of the WES Ecosystem Fund. The first call of the second phase happened in January, with $25 million in funding.

In addition to the WES Ecosystem Fund, WES also includes the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, an national fund that provides affordable microloans to women entrepreneurs; and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which brings together 10 regional hubs, over 300 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more inclusive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada.

To date, the government claims that the WES Ecosystem Fund has invested $100 million in 52 projects to close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs. In 2020 and 2021, the Ecosystem Fund helped over 5,000 women start a new business and over 7,000 women grow their existing business.

This latest call, according to the government, will prioritize support for activities in areas of strength for women entrepreneurs, as well as for projects which provide services to women entrepreneurs in rural and remote areas or the North.

Eligible applicants must apply as a partnership, with two or more organizations working together. Projects must be led by a not-for-profit organization with at least three years of operations. Proposals for this call will be accepted until September 26 at 11:59 a.m. Pacific Time.

Organizations must either have an established mandate focused on supporting women entrepreneurs, or have existing programming offered within the past three years that specifically targets or is focused on women skills development.

Funding will be given to projects that have a maximum budget of $3 million and a minimum budget of $250,000; will be completed by March 31, 2025, though project lengths may vary; focus on women entrepreneurs or women majority owned businesses; and enhance or expand 2018 WES Ecosystem Fund projects.

The Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem has done a tremendous job in financing SMEs and supporting women entreprenuer. My best wishes to the entire team and may they keep moving up the ladder of success.

Shishir Gupta CEO & founder Startuplanes

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