#BeAdVENTUROUS, Minister Champagne!

Support Early-Stage Ventures That Need It Most

Be AdVENTUROUS, Minister Champagne!

Support Early-Stage Ventures That Need It Most

We’re asking Canada’s Minister of International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne, to #BeAdVENTUROUS and ensure that Canada’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) supports high-risk, early-stage ventures – why?

Because the few business that are led by women are often considered too risky to invest in. While women-led ventures have the potential to play a critical role in economic development by boosting growth and creating jobs, the barriers they face are staggering.

  • 25% to 33% of private businesses worldwide are owned or operated by women (Global Banking Alliance For Women).
  • 8 to 10 million of these are in developing countries (Goldman Sachs).
  • Women-led enterprises are disproportionately concentrated in retail and service sectors where profits and growth opportunities are lower, and rarely in more profitable industries such as construction, electronics, or software (World Bank Women Entrepreneurs Facility).
  • 70% of formal women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries do not have access to credit or are credit constrained resulting in a credit deficit of $285 billion (Goldman Sachs).

In January 2018, Canada will launch a Development Finance Institution (DFI) that will invest $300 million in social impact businesses. Right now, Minister Champagne, who oversees the DFI, has a choice: Canada can either set up its DFI only to make safe investments in late-stage businesses that are already tried and tested, or it can also support the ventures that need it most and provide patient capital to early-stage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are underserved by conventional means of banking and finance, particularly those led by women. We encourage Minister Champagne to #BeAdVENTUROUS and choose the latter!

As an organization that invests in early-stage ventures, we understand the complexity and the importance of getting it right. Early-stage SMEs can have good business plans, good management and tons of potential, but are considered risky because they don’t have the assets or financial resources to back them up.

Canada’s DFI must fill this gap! If it doesn’t, Canada’s DFI is unlikely to support those who need financing the most, particularly women entrepreneurs. By including high-risk, early-stage ventures as part of the investment portfolio early on, Canada’s DFI will be best able to deliver on its mandate to reduce poverty and drive economic growth. It will also provide leadership in development financing and take an inclusive approach that aligns with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Read our briefing note for more insight.

Take Action!

Join us in asking Minister Champagne to #BeAdVENTUROUS and make a public commitment to support high-risk, early-stage SMEs through Canada’s DFI!

Here are 5 ways to take action:

  1. Attend a #ChampagneParty – minus the bubbly, plus some politics. Happening on Twitter @ewb on October 26!
  2. Chirp loudly – tweet @FP_Champagne to show your support.
  3. Bring voicemail back – leave a message of support for Minister Champagne.
  4. Go from local to global – ask your MP to #BeAdVENTUROUS and reach out to Minister Champagne too.
  5. Spread the word – share this campaign with your friends on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

Gender at EWB Canada

EWB believes gender equality is integral to its mission of achieving systemic change and creating a more just society, and that gender is both a key determinant and solution to global inequalities. Worldwide, women and girls are more disadvantaged and encounter greater barriers to leadership and entrepreneurship than men. EWB is, therefore, working to integrate gender-based analysis and results into all of its work.

Did you know that 5 of the 9 ventures EWB supports are co-founded and/or led by women? Learn how Kwangu-KwakoNumida TechnologiesFarmdriveBloom Impact and M-Shule are making a difference in their communities.

Canada’s DFI a win for the EWB community

EWB and our members began campaigning for the creation of a Canadian DFI in 2013. Our first win was Federal Budget 2015, which included legislation of $300 million dollars allocated over 5 years for this. But legislation is not the same thing as implementation. We continued pushing and in Federal Budget 2017 we scored our second big win when the government announced that Canada would have an operational DFI by January 2018! Now we’re asking the Canadian government to go a step further and ensure that Canada’s DFI supports the ventures that need it most – high-risk, early-stage SMEs and those who are underserved by conventional means of banking and finance, particularly women. Read our briefing note here.

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