OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, congratulated BMO Bank of Montreal for its new commitment to making $2 billion in credit available to women-owned businesses in Canada.
The Minister noted that women led businesses are a powerful economic force in Canada, and have even greater potential, particularly when they can access credit to grow their businesses. With its commitment to making an additional $2 billion in credit available to women-owned businesses across Canada over the next three years, BMO Bank of Montreal is strongly supporting Canada's female entrepreneurs and their role in the economy.
The Minister also personally expressed her congratulations directly to BMO's Chief Executive Officer Bill Downe and his team for their leadership in making this historic commitment. Mr. Downe has also taken a leading role as Chair of the Government of Canada's Advisory Council on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. This commitment on the part of one of Canada's major financial institutions responds to one of the most common problems facing women entrepreneurs – the lack of available credit.
Minister Leitch noted that Government of Canada is taking a number of actions in support of women entrepreneurs, as part of its focus on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity across Canada. For example, in September 2014, the federal government established an Advisory Council on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The Advisory Council will provide advice on challenges women-led businesses can face such as: financing and how to access it, and best practices for supporting the growth of their businesses.
The federal government has also established an Expert Panel on Championing and Mentorship for Women Entrepreneurs that has been meeting with a cross-section of Canadian business leaders. The Expert Panel will advise the Minister on best practices for mentorship and championing women-led businesses that have been shown to work.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 outlined the Government of Canada's commitment to increasing mentorship among women entrepreneurs, and consulting Canadians on how to increase the numbers of women entering into, and succeeding in business.
- The Government of Canada has provided over $146 million in funding through Status of Women Canada to support more than 720 projects since 2007. This includes more than $54 million invested in projects that promote women's economic security and prosperity. Of this amount, over $9 million has been for projects which address women's entrepreneurship.
- On June 26, 2014, the report of the Government of Canada's Advisory Council for Promoting Women on Boards was released. It recommends that the public and private sectors in Canada aspire to seeing women attain 30% of all board positions over the next five years. It also outlines a roadmap for making this happen.
"I congratulate BMO Bank of Montreal for supporting Canada's women entrepreneurs with their commitment to increasing the credit available to their businesses across Canada. I also want to thank BMO's CEO Bill Downe for his leadership on this initiative, and for his leading role for the government as Chair of the Advisory Council on Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. This commitment underlines the fact that the more we do to support women-led businesses in Canada, the greater their role will be in creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians."
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
- Press Release from BMO Bank of Montreal
- Information about Status of Women Canada at women.gc.ca
- Information about Economic Action Plan 2014
SOURCE: Status of Women Canada
For further information: For media inquiries only: Andrew McGrath, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont, M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Tel: 819-953-5646, firstname.lastname@example.org; For all other inquiries: Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Public Affairs, Status of Women Canada, Tel: 819-420-6810