New day dawning for women entrepreneurs

B.C. has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in Canada

Dawn McCooey is the skills development manager with the Women’s Enterprise Centre.

Businesswomen from across Saanich were recognized Tuesday night at the Beach House Restaurant for the Saanich News Women in Business celebration.

And if recent trends are any indication, the number of local businesswomen will only grow in the years to come.

“B.C. has the highest percentage in Canada of women entrepreneurs. About 37 per cent of all small business in B.C. is owned by women. And the number of woman entrepreneurs is growing right now,” said Dawn McCooey, skills development manager with the Women’s Enterprise Centre.

The not-for-profit centre’s primary role is to provide loans to women entrepreneurs, while also providing skills development, training and mentoring programs.

But while women are more active in starting businesses than their male counterparts, those businesses have a much slower pace of growth. McCooey said there are many reasons for that, some have to do with access to capital while others are centred on mindset.

“Women usually have a dual role, they’re managing their families and their businesses. The idea of growing the business is sometimes frightening in terms of, I can’t possibly work any more hours, I don’t have a wife at home.”

McCooey says something in the neighbourhood of three per cent of venture capital goes to woman-owned businesses, making it hard for women to obtain financing. She also points to industries like high-tech that employ very few women.

“Women-owned businesses traditionally still fall into the service industries, consulting, retail, what might be considered traditionally female types of  businesses.”

McCooey said many fledgeling businesswomen have opted to become “social-preneurs,” starting up companies with a social focus.

One of the main challenges women face is confidence in themselves. McCooey points to a survey that showed men will apply on jobs where they might only meet 70 per cent of the criteria, while women will only apply if they met them all.

“Women move forward usually in more of a methodical and planned way, which is why women-owned businesses succeed at the get-go, because they are often planned differently,” she said, adding that businesses started by women tend to have a better initial success rate than those of men because more thought was often put into the project in the initial stages.

She said one of the ways to encourage more women entrepreneurs starts with highlighting the success women have enjoyed in the business world.

“If you ask the average person on the street to name a successful female entrepreneur, they have a hard time doing that. It’s about role models, it’s about the way we speak to children, and the assumptions and unconscious biases that are out there. It’s that awareness.”

She points to things like the Saanich News Women in Business event as a way to embrace women entrepreneurs and celebrate their success. And McCooey fully expects to see businesswomen continuing to enjoy success in the future.

“We’re in a sharing economy, and I think that speaks to what some would argue are more traditional ways of females doing business. As those opportunities expand and grow, I think you’ll see more and more jumping on board with some of those kinds of opportunities,” she said, adding the growth of online businesses and home office startups creates a perfect fit for young mothers.


Just Posted

Sooke cougar sighting unconfirmed

Boy had a close encounter with the big cat

Sarah McLachlan performs and donors raise $555,000 for inclusive outdoor activities

Power To Be reached their fundraising goal at their Nature Gala on July 12

Victoria shipyard awarded one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contracts

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Vancouver Island mom says she will go to court overseas to try to get daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt sees rising costs

A staff report to the CRD shows rising costs for wastewater treatment project

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

Anglican Church to review governance structure after same-sex marriage change fails

Some say the current system to change doctrine gives too much voting power to a smaller class of bishops

B.C. adding fast-charge stations for electric highway trips

Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Kootenay stations ready for use

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

Most Read