On March 8th, join us in the celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD).
The worldwide celebration is meant to honour the social, political, economic and cultural achievements that women have made, and continue to make, on a global scale.
This year’s IDW takes on the theme of #BreakTheBias, encompassing the values of a world free from bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, promoting women’s equality. To discover all the ways that you can participate in the movement we encourage you to visit here.
At Driven, we are proud advocates of gender equality, and as such, we are working to see more women break into the economy through providing them with the capital solutions needed to scale-up and succeed.
“While we shouldn’t wait for one specific day to celebrate women, on this International Women’s Day I would like to pay tribute to women of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds and praise your strength and uniqueness. At Driven, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are as core to who we are as our mission to empower Canadian small businesses. By fostering an environment where every person has a voice and an equal opportunity to contribute, we are changing the dynamics of FinTech, we are paving the way for more female leaders and entrepreneurs.” Says our Chief People Officer, Kim Parkinson.
According to a 2017 Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises conducted by the Government of Canada, women are under-represented among business owners, with just 15.6 percent of Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) majority owned by women.1 This vast discrepancy is something we are working hard to resolve.
The survey also addresses gender differences associated with gaining access to financing and financing request outcomes, noting that male-owned SMEs are more likely to seek external financing (of any type), debt financing (of any type), lease financing and trade credit financing. While women-owned SMEs are more likely to be discouraged borrowers (i.e., did not request financing because of expectations that the request would be turned down). Furthermore, the average interest rates charged on authorized lines of credit and credit cards are higher for women-owned firms than for male-owned firms.1
We are committed to democratizing access to funding for all Canadian entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, etc., we pride ourselves on empowering the small business community with the capital solutions needed to grow and succeed, no matter what their walk of life.
Take for example, Heather M., owner of a mobile truck and trailer repair enterprise, who uses Driven’s services to beat cash flow crunch and grow her business.
For Heather, working in a predominantly male industry is no issue. She believes in equality and that if you’ve got the chops for it, do it, no matter what your gender might be. “For me, even though it is a predominantly male industry I’ve encountered lots of other female business owners, and I think the main thing is that as long as you are confident, able to listen to the customer, and provide them help, then it shouldn’t matter your gender… I’ve always been able to get anything done just as well as the guys have.” says Heather.
“Driven has helped us to be able to keep our doors open and continue to help truckers during the pandemic, who were very essential workers. Having you guys there to help when we were waiting for customers who have had troubles paying because of the pandemic, allowed us to continue to serve our customers in a critical time.”
Heather’s advice for other entrepreneurial women looking to open their own business is “always take that first step. If you believe in yourself and your product, and believe that it’s there to better society, then go for it.”
We are proud to be in Heather’s corner, as well as many other Canadian female entrepreneurs that use our services to maintain, improve, and grow their businesses. Ensuring that women have opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the economy is essential. We are committed to taking the necessary actions to empower the Canadian female business community, starting by democratizing access to funding.
Additional Support for Women in Business:
The Canadian government is working to advance gender equality and women’s participation in the economy. Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is among the leaders when it comes to supporting female-led businesses. The Federal Government of Canada program has pledged over $6 billion, with a goal of doubling the amount of women-owned businesses by 2025.2
There are also several female entrepreneur grants available in Canada. To explore the options available to your business we encourage you to visit here: https://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/businesswomen-femmesdaffaires/funding-financement.aspx?lang=eng
The WomensNet Amber Grant
WomensNet founded the “Amber Grant” in 1998, to honor the memory of 19 year old Amber Wigdahl- who died before realizing her business dreams. Currently, the Amber Grant gives away at least $30,000 per month in recognition of female entrepreneurs. Today, they have expanded their offering to include several additional grants. We encourage you to explore the grants they are offering and to apply for any that are relevant to you. The cutoff for the next $10,000 Amber Grant is March 31, 2022. Check it out here.
With the amount of female-owned businesses in Canada being so low, Driven is proud to support entrepreneurial women to reach their business goals. Empowering the small business community is at the core of what we do. To find out all the ways you can use our services to improve and grow your business visit our use cases page. We’ve got you!
1Huang, Lyming, and Patrice Rivard. “Financing of Women-Owned Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Canada.” Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 17 May 2021, http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/siTe/061.nsf/eng/h_03138.html.
2“Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.” Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 28 July 2021, https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/women-entrepreneurship-strategy/en.
Advice and research for Canadian small businesses from our expert team