The Numbers Are In: Economies Grow When We Bet on Women 

Canadians are most active women entrepreneurs in the world 

Female Entrepreneurship Is on the Rise

As Entrepreneurship Thrives, Women Are Starting More Innovative Businesses Than Men

These are the headlines from the last year that came up when I Googled “female entrepreneur”. It was very encouraging to read such optimistic-sounding titles. But it led me to wonder: what are some numbers behind all of this good news?

You may have read the recent headlines about Kylie Jenner, who at only 21 years of age, leveraged her celebrity status to grow her cosmetics business to a value of $900 million in less than 3 years.

Or about the Canadian company Knix, started by Joanna Griffiths, who launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 for her bra design, eventually raising just over $1-million (U.S.) from nearly 14,000 backers. In 2017 Knix surpassed $20 million in sales.

And of course we have our own local success story,  Louise Vonk. Louise Vonk grew the family business, Messenger Freight Systems, from earning $1 million to $13 million in annual sales. Back in Aug 2017 she was listed as one of Canada’s 15 Most Influential Female Entrepreneurs according to

This all sounds very encouraging, and make great role models for those of us with businesses that are in a state of early growth. On the flip side, some of the numbers are still disappointing:

Women own fewer than 16% of all businesses

  • Only 10% of high-growth firms are owned by women
  • About 8% of women-owned businesses export
  • 36 percent of men planning to open a business plan to do so to become wealthy, while only 23 percent of women planning to open a business do so for the same reason.
  • Women-led businesses also face barriers in accessing capital. According to recent data, women entrepreneurs are less likely to seek debt and equity financing and are more likely to be rejected or receive less money. A women business-owner recently told me the story of her personal experience with banks; that their assumption is always that she will be bringing in a husband or father to co-sign her loan!

Obviously we’ve come a very long way, but there is still so much to do. Locally, let’s support our female-owned local businesses (of which there are many!) with our wallets and watch that money get invested right back here in our community.

For further reading, and to find the numbers I cited above, visit: Globe and Mail,, Start Up Canada, Industry Canada,