Government says funding increases women’s equality

Above: Minister McLean and Carrie Belcourt, founder of Mother Earth Essentials. – GOA photo

by Morinville News Staff

The province’s Status of Women grant program, originally budgeted for $500,000, tripled in the budget year 2016-2017 to $1.5 million for community projects the government says boosts women’s safety, economic security, and leadership.

“We tripled the funds because there’s a deep desire to tackle women’s inequality in all corners of this province,” said Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women, in a release Tuesday. “Every dollar of our Status of Women grant goes to improve the lives of women and girls in Alberta. We know when Alberta women succeed, our economy grows and our communities flourish.”

On Tuesday, McLean announced one of 34 projects funded following the Status of Women’s call for grant applications last November.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) will receive $100,000 for NextStep to Success, a training, and peer-mentoring program that helps Indigenous women start their businesses and create jobs.

ATB statistics from 2014 show that approximately 38 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Alberta are owned or run by women.

The program works in partnership with Indigenous communities, providing support to women who the government says face more barriers than most.

“We believe our communities are strongest when women are full participants in entrepreneurship,” said Marcela Mandeville, Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “Thanks to the grant from Alberta Status of Women, we can support Indigenous women with entrepreneurial aspirations who wish to start, build and grow their own businesses.”

Carrie Belcourt, the founder of Mother Earth Essentials, said the program would have been helpful to her.

“My journey to start my own business came from a place where I could see ways to break down the stereotypes and showcase the beauty of my culture. I also realized how much a program like this would have really changed things for me.”

The province says 35 communities will benefit from funded projects and eight of the projects have province-wide programming. The grants range from $3,000 to $100,000.

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