Government launches new support for Alberta’s women entrepreneurs

Above: Minister Deron Bilous announces new funding for Alberta Women Entrepreneurs at Solstice Canada Corp. headquarters in Edmonton. – GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The Alberta government took the occasion of International Women’s Day to launch additional support for Alberta’s women entrepreneurs to expand and grow their businesses through the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program.

The government announced Wednesday that Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a not-for-profit organization that connects women entrepreneurs with training programs, services, capital, and mentorship, will receive $101,863 in funding through the CARES program for PeerSpark. The PeerSpark program brings together like-minded women entrepreneurs to explore opportunities for accelerated business growth in a peer group setting. PeerSpark programs will start next month and again in November, and the government says the program will “encourage leadership and business skill development while introducing participants to key resources, networks, grant programs and trade experts.”

The province cites a 2014 ATB Financial report that says women own and run only 38 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Alberta

“Entrepreneurs are people who see opportunity where others might only see challenges,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, in a news release Wednesday. “They put a lot on the line to start their own business and bring their new products and new ideas to market. We know small businesses with this kind of support see a much higher growth rate than the national average, strengthening our economy – and making life better for Albertans. In short, when women in business do well, Alberta does well.”

The government says the CARES program evaluated 88 applications from regions and communities for the first intake. A second intake runs Apr. 1 to May 31. Eligibility criteria and more information on how to apply are available on the program webpage at

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