The Banff World Media Festival kicked off with a major federal funding announcement aimed at empowering women in business, and in particular female entrepreneurs in the screen industries.
The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy is a $2-billion investment that aims to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, was in Banff to make the announcement, which includes an investment of nearly $2 million in the Banff Television Festival Foundation to deliver the Banff Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media. The accelerator helps women entrepreneurs build and grow their own business within the screen-based industries.
The program is expected to connect 200 women with networking, matchmaking, or mentorship opportunities and help at least 50 participants grow their businesses. It will support 16 women as they start a business.
“This program will address a systemic gap in our industry, providing hundreds of women with high-level business training, essential international connections and access to potential capital investment. Our mandate is to make a meaningful impact within the Canadian media industry leading to the launch and growth of significantly more women-owned and women-led businesses that are competitive on the world stage,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival, in a press release.
The federal government says advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian economy by 2026. Right now, just 16% of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in Canada are majority women-owned. Only 11.2% of majority women-owned SMEs export, compared to 12.2% of majority male-owned SMEs.
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