Council calls for access to capital for women

Report identifies barriers hindering female access to capital, plus solutions for capital providers, women entrepreneurs and governments

May 28, 2018
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WASHINGTON and OTTAWA—The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders has released recommendations for the fourth pillar of the Council’s bilateral initiative, called Increasing Women’s Access to Capital.

Investissement Québec Board Chair Monique F. Leroux and Schnitzer Steel Industries President and CEO Tamara L. Lundgren are leading the effort, which lays out recommendations for capital providers, the U.S. and Canadian governments, and female entrepreneurs to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to capital.

“Matching capital with women entrepreneurs is not an intractable problem. The capital is there, it is the access that is missing,” say Tamara Lundgren and Monique Leroux. “Our report sets forth common sense recommendations to improve access, which, coupled with commitment from stakeholders that already exists, will have a real impact on the ability of women to fund and grow their businesses.”

The report stresses that there is a broad recognition that capital providers have not penetrated the female entrepreneurial market as well as they have the male entrepreneurial market. The report includes research that identifies barriers hindering female access to capital, as well as several innovative and pragmatic solutions for capital providers, women entrepreneurs and governments to implement, including:

For Capital Providers:

  • Create and implement training protocols highlighting the potential of women-owned businesses and how best to interact with them
  • Increase the number of women in key roles, including senior leaders, client-facing, and those that influence the investment decision
  • Adopt clear, strong and relevant diversity policies

For Women Entrepreneurs:

  • Determine whether scale is a realistic objective within current business plans
  • Re-evaluate risk tolerance for leverage
  • Consider benefits of partnerships, joint ventures or other forms of collaboration to achieve scale

For Governments:

  • Canadian tax incentives to stimulate women entrepreneurship
  • Private leaders investing alongside governments
  • Preferred access to government tender processes

To read the full report: