A Canada-U.S. council says a campaign would boost the two countries' competitive advantage in the global economy

Mario ToneguzziA high-profile You Are Ready campaign should be launched to encourage women-led entrepreneurship, says the Canada-U.S. Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.

On Monday, the council released its third report, Attracting Women Entrepreneurs, Encouraging Women to Start Businesses. It says a campaign would boost the two countries’ competitive advantage in the global economy.

It’s one of four recommendations proposed by Pillar Three of the council’s mandate, co-chaired by Dawn Farrell, president and CEO of TransAlta Corp., and Deborah Gillis, president and CEO of Catalyst. The recommendations are:

  • a You Are Ready campaign to inspire and bolster confidence of women entrepreneurs;
  • cross-border collaboration through the creation of a Canadian equivalent to the U.S National Women’s Business Council and the U.S. Office of Women’s Business Ownership, and a clear mandate for a linkage between the two countries;
  • targeted education for women and girls, of all ages, in schools and universities, including greater awareness of the opportunities that entrepreneurship has to offer;
  • a focus on tools and programs to encourage and equip women entrepreneurs to access capital and pursue high-growth enterprises.
Dawn Farrell

According to the latest State of Women-Owned Businesses report, published by American Express, an estimated 11.6 million businesses in the U.S. are at least 51 per cent owned, operated and controlled by one or more women. These firms employ nearly nine million people and generate $1.7 trillion in revenues each year, said the report.

“The evidence is striking,” said Farrell in a statement. “Women are proven business leaders in small and mid-sized business. Canada and the U.S. can make much better use of their competitive instincts, skills and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate economic growth and prosperity. Imagine the power in attracting, engaging and inspiring a generation of confident women leaders, armed with their personal vision and the tools for success.”

Deborah Gillis

Gillis added: “Research proves there is a strong economic advantage to having more women in leadership roles in the workforce. Women-owned businesses are already creating and or maintaining millions of jobs in the U.S. and Canada, with an economic impact of trillions of dollars for both countries. It’s time to create equal entrepreneurial opportunities for everybody in the communities we live in and serve. It’s not just good for business, it’s good for society: for women, men, families, communities, and economies.”

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


women entrepreneursThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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