Entrepreneurs are the engines of our economy. They drive growth, create jobs and spark innovation.
It is fitting, then, that International Women's Day 2014 recognizes the contribution of women entrepreneurs and business leaders with the theme: Strong Women. Strong Canada. Canadian Women - Creating Jobs One Business at a Time.
In 2011, women-owned businesses contributed approximately $148 billion to the Canadian economy.
Currently, women-owned businesses employ over 1.5 million Canadians. When women entrepreneurs succeed, we all succeed.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women-owned businesses for success. Economic Action Plan 2014 introduced measures to support women entrepreneurs and business leaders, including a commitment to increase mentorship among women business owners.
Members of our government are actively consulting, from coast to coast to coast, on how to increase the number of women entering into, and succeeding in, business.
Moreover, this is just one of the initiatives our government has undertaken to support small business and entrepreneurs - including women entrepreneurs - in a variety of sectors across our country. Other measures range from Small Business Week each year to financing support, skills training, market development, trade promotion, and even advice on how to do business with government.
These efforts complement the ongoing work that Status of Women Canada does to improve the economic situation of women across the country. For example, Status of Women Canada has provided more than $53 million for projects to
improve women's economic security and prosperity since 2007, including more than $9 million for projects that address women's entrepreneurship.
As we celebrate International Women's Day on Saturday, March 8, I would like to acknowledge all of the women - including women business owners - in Delta, Richmond and Greater Vancouver who work hard every day to support our families and enrich our community.
The Government of Canada is behind you and will continue to enact policies that ensure a solid economy and improved prosperity for women, their families and all Canadians.