The federal Minister of Digital Government met with the Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) in Kelowna on Tuesday (April 27) to discuss investments to support female entrepreneurs through the government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
Joyce Murray met with WEC to discuss the 2021 federal budget and Canada’s recovery plan for the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy.
Eight Kelowna women-business owners virtually joined the meeting as well to give their feedback to the minister. Jill Earthy, CEO of WEC, said the pandemic has impacted female-owned businesses in Kelowna in a particularly harsh manner because it’s a tourist destination.
“A higher proportion of women are in sectors that were hit hard, such as the tourism industry, service sector, or retail,” Earthy explained. She added that women-business owners everywhere were already in a vulnerable position before the pandemic because of limited access to capital, markets (growth opportunities), and resources.
Earthy said Murray did a great job of listening to the local entrepreneurs.
“This budget does acknowledge the unique needs of women entrepreneurs which is really important,” said Earthy.
The budget proposes to provide up to $146.9 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Women entrepreneurs would have greater access to financing, mentorship, and training. Funding would also further support the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.