Ot­tawa told to do more to help fe­male-run busi­nesses

Waterloo Region Record - - Business -

OT­TAWA — A re­port on fe­male en­trepreneurs is urg­ing govern­ments to use their multi-bil­lion­dol­lar pro­cure­ment pro­grams to help busi­nesses and sup­pli­ers run by women.

Much work needs to be done to help en­sure fe­male en­trepreneurs can fully con­tribute to the Cana­dian econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to the study re­leased Wed­nes­day and co-funded by the Bank of Mon­treal, the fed­eral govern­ment, Car­leton Univer­sity and the Bea­con Agency.

It calls for a sim­pli­fied pro­cure­ment process to rec­og­nize the needs of small busi­nesses and women-owned busi­nesses.

“We know that women en­trepreneurs are de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to busi­ness and ac­tively con­tribut­ing to grow­ing the Cana­dian econ­omy,” said Clare Beck­ton, co-au­thor and ex­ec­u­tive in res­i­dence at Car­leton Univer­sity’s Cen­tre for Re­search and Educa­tion on Women and Work.

“In spite of their im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions, this re­port iden­ti­fies why they are con­tin­u­ously and sys­tem­at­i­cally un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated, and what must be done to rem­edy this is­sue.”

The re­port comes two weeks

be­fore the fed­eral bud­get.

Part of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau’s spend­ing plan is ex­pected to em­pha­size gen­der equal­ity and lay out ef­forts to boost the labour-force par­tic­i­pa­tion of women.

Morneau said Wed­nes­day the govern­ment will be look­ing at how it can im­prove growth in the fu­ture with mea­sures that will help women suc­ceed in the econ­omy.

“It’s go­ing to be a very im­por­tant theme,” Morneau said in French.

The govern­ment has been look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties to bet­ter link its pro­cure­ment prac­tices with its broader so­cio-eco­nomic ob­jec­tives.

The re­port Wed­nes­day made 40 rec­om­men­da­tions to govern­ments, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and fe­male en­trepreneurs.

Among its sug­ges­tions is a rec­om­men­da­tion that all lev­els of govern­ment use pro­cure­ment pro­grams as a means to sup­port small and medium en­ter­prises and mi­nor­ity-owned busi­nesses, in­clud­ing re­quir­ing sup­plier di­ver­sity poli­cies for fed­eral crown cor­po­ra­tions and agen­cies.

The re­port noted that most poli­cies and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pro­grams equate in­no­va­tion with tech­nol­ogy and do not con­sider how women are in­no­vat­ing more broadly.

It also said that many of those in­ter­viewed for the re­port noted that they did not feel wel­come or in­cluded in the fo­cus of main­stream net­works, in­cu­ba­tors and ac­cel­er­a­tors.

Some also said they ex­pe­ri­enced a range of dis­crim­i­na­tion and sex­ism in­clud­ing com­ments about their ap­pear­ance, level of ex­pe­ri­ence, knowl­edge and at­tire, as well as a lack of un­der­stand­ing that women pitch their busi­nesses dif­fer­ently.

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