Discussion Paper: Women Entrepreneurs – Financing and Growth

A significant percentage of Canadian women entrepreneurs express growth intention for their businesses.

The top personal barriers to growth include business skills and management experience, family responsibilities, financial strength and literacy, and confidence levels.

Firm-related barriers include financing and profitability issues, HR issues, and skills and training issues, top external barriers identified were regulatory and tax burdens, demand issues, and costs.

The top services identified to overcome these barriers were business advising services, mentoring, and financial management training.

This paper also aggregated data and literature of access to financing for women entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs have a lower perceived need for financing, are less comfortable with outside financing, and borrow smaller amounts on average than their male counterparts. In terms of accessing conventional debt financing, women entrepreneurs face higher documentation requirements and experience more declines due to poor security and credit histories.

Women and male owned businesses exhibit different patterns of start-up and business growth financing, women are more likely to use non- traditional and government lending at the start-up phase, and personal savings in the growth phase, while their male counterparties relied on trade credit and retained earnings.

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