Minister Fast Hails Key Role of Women Business Leaders in Canada’s Economy

Canadian businesses run by Canadian women are creating jobs at four times the national average, Trade Minister says

June 1, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today recognized the critical role Canadian businesswomen are playing in contributing to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity at an event hosted by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) in Vancouver.

“Canadian businesswomen are well placed to lead the charge in strengthening our economy and creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians,” said Minister Fast. “With the number of women-led firms increasing at twice the national average, their vision and their success are driving Canada’s economy forward.”

At the event, Minister Fast also gave out the BMO Global Growth Award, which recognizes leadership and significant contributions in the area of global trade. Marla Kott, this year’s recipient, is CEO of Imprint Plus, a Richmond (B.C.)-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of multiple identification products.

“Canadian women have a long history of excellence in business, and we can take great pride in their individual and collective achievements,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. “Our government recognizes that women play a key role in Canada’s economic prosperity, and we are championing women to take on leadership positions in business, in entrepreneurship and on corporate boards.”

Statistics show that women business owners are critical to the Canadian economy in numerous ways. For example:

  • Women business owners employ some 1.7 million Canadians.
  • Canadian women are creating jobs at four times the national average.
  • More than 900,000 of the 2.6 million self-employed workers in Canada are women.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises with a majority of women owners accounted for more than $117 billion in annual economic activity in Canada.
  • Women business owners are engaged in international trade, with almost 40 percent of their sales generated in foreign markets.
  • Four out of five businesses are started by women.

“Statistics like these show that we cannot talk about Canada’s success in the global economy without talking about the impressive contribution women business leaders are making,” said Minister Fast. “In what remains a fragile global economic climate, our government will continue to help Canadian women entrepreneurs and business leaders expand and succeed abroad and here at home.”

Also involved in organizing today’s event was the British Columbia chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). The WPO brings together women presidents and chief executive officers of leading multimillion-dollar companies. Members take part in networking and professionally facilitated peer advisory groups to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

“The business services to which we have access from the Government of Canada are vital to helping us accelerate business growth, enhance our competitiveness and promote economic security,” said Barbara Mowat, Chair of the B.C. WPO and President of Impact Communications, which includes the division GroYourBiz. “Both the WPO and GroYourBiz provide peer-to-peer support, inspiration and practical solutions to help business owners take their business to the next level.”

Minister Fast also released the 2012 edition of the Business Women in International Trade newsletter. This year’s edition puts a special focus on the emerging “BRIC” economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
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