A new grant launched by the Alberta Government is aimed at helping women entrepreneurs continue to thrive through the pandemic.
This grant is for non-profit organizations that want to or already have programming in place specifically aimed at supporting women in entrepreneurship.
MLA for Chestermere Strathmore Leela Sharon Aheer is excited to see what this grant can do in the area.
“So, in Alberta, out of every 100 men who are entrepreneurs, there are 80 women. So that is really high. We are higher than the national average on women entrepreneurs,” she explained. “So, imagine if we have dedicated funds specifically going towards groups of people or nonprofits, all of these organizations that help women effectively become stronger in the economy. Hopefully, we'll see other organizations and corporations starting their own grant programs and their own abilities to elevate the women in our communities.”
The grant is focusing on not only increasing female entrepreneurship but also decreasing the challenges women face in the workplace, helping women transition to a new career, supporting inclusive employer training, and updating employment skills.
Community Futures Wildrose is a non-profit organization that helps with all of the above-mentioned barriers. According to Community Futures Wildrose Executive Director Chantale Sangster, this grant could not have come at a better time.
“Female entrepreneurship is alive and thriving in our region. In 2019, loans to women were 35 per cent of total loans dispersed that year. In 2020, we saw a significant jump to 54 per cent of loans dispersed. And so far in 2021, loans to women we're tracking at 49 per cent. We're optimistic that we'll meet or exceed our 2020 numbers by year-end.”
Once hearing of the grant, Sangster immediately reached out to community partners that have already made great strides in the community for women.
“Through our training programs within our current community economic development projects, we've seen that approximately 80% of the participants are women entrepreneurs.”
Funding for approved projects will receive a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $250,000
The funds can be used for travel expenses, materials, communication costs, project planning, administration, and overhead costs.
More information on this grant can be found here www.alberta.ca