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Boost for women-led Canadian small businesses in the pandemic

COVID-19 has hit women-run businesses harder in Canada. a new find aims to give a helping hand.

Two Women Sitting in Front of Computer Monitor. — Photo: by Pexels
Two Women Sitting in Front of Computer Monitor. — Photo: by Pexels

Small businesses are important to any economy and provide important services to local communities. This includes Canada. However, ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic mean many are such businesses are risk.

One area of concern is with companies operated by women entrepreneurs, who pre-pandemic, were outpacing men in starting their own businesses. Yet in the current situation, companies run by women are taking nearly twice as long compared to their male counterparts to recover from the financial setbacks brought on by the pandemic.

According to a recent Visa survey, one in five women-owned small businesses in Canada indicated a grant would be helpful for near-term survival or growth. Furthermore, a $10,000 grant would cover at least half of the financing needs for over 60 per cent of these businesses.

Visa Canada has announced the ten recipients of their grant program. The selected Canadian women entrepreneurs will each receive a grant of $10,000 CAD together with one-year of business coaching through IFundWomen. These two measures are designed to support, grow and expand their businesses.

Visa is confident that with this additional funding and resources, each business will not only recover but come back stronger. This relates to a finding from the finance company that suggests 48 percent of women entrepreneurs have indicated a grant would be helpful for near-term survival or growth.

The recipients, drawn from diverse backgrounds and industries, are:

CurlShoppe, Toronto, ON: No two curls are the same, and founders Natasha Sheppard and Rowan McAnoy at CurlShoppe strive to offer quality hair products for every curl type or texture.

Durand Coffee, Hamilton, ON: Named after the neighbourhood it resides in, owner Christine Larabie’s mission is to serve quality coffee in a local community space.

Goldilocks Goods, Victoria, BC: Founded by Amy Hall, Goldilocks Goods are an all natural and eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. Each wrap is handmade using locally sourced beeswax.

Milksmith, Winnipeg, MB: Skilled artisans led by founder Siuleen Leibl serve up incredibly unique rolled ice cream.

The Tare Shop, Halifax, NS: A package-free coffee shop and bulk store founded by Kate Pepler. As the first package-free store in Halifax, they provide alternatives to over-packaged food, household, and personal items.

Despite the economic and related challenges, women entrepreneurs remain optimistic, while working hard to keep their doors open. Visa’s Back to Business Study: 2021 Women’s Edition revealed that 60 per cent of women-owned Canadian small businesses took measures to adapt to challenges presented by COVID-19, with 30 per cent offering contactless payments and 12 per cent offering alternative payment solutions, like instalments.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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