A report on Canadian entrepreneurs released by Bank of Montreal revealed that while there are challenges involved, Canadian women are seeing the benefits of entrepreneurship.
The report, which surveyed female entrepreneurs and was conducted by Pollara, revealed that they needed an average of $201,729 to start their businesses. However, 63 per cent turned a profit by the two year mark, belying the common notion that most small businesses fail within their few first years of operation. Additionally, almost three-quarters (73 per cent) are currently turning a profit.
The report also revealed some key challenges that female entrepreneurs faced when starting their businesses, including:
Supporting their families until business was profitable (51 per cent)
Obtaining capital to get started (43 per cent)
Building a customer network (43 per cent)
Getting advice on how to get started (20 per cent)
“Entrepreneurship is a challenging but rewarding venture when you have a plan in place and have the right help and advice. We’re here to help woman-owned businesses as they continue to expand in this growing market,” said John MacAulay, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “In 2014, BMO made an additional $2 billion in credit available to women-owned businesses across Canada over the next three years. Part of BMO’s commercial banking mandate is to address the growing needs to women in business.”
Service and Retail Sectors Featuring the Highest Number of Female Entrepreneurs
The Women’s Business Economic Advisory Council (WBEAC) states that firms wholly or partially owned by women represent 47 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada.
Overall, the retail sector tends to showcase the highest number of female entrepreneurs. According to BMO’s report, the major sectors in which women entrepreneurs are currently operating include:
Retail (wholesale, imports/exports and distribution): 30 per cent
Services (healthcare, real estate and food and beverage): 17 per cent
Professional services (technology, financial services, business services, consulting, marketing and telecommunications): 14 per cent
“The service sector, which includes retail trade, has been a stalwart this year, despite the talk of a technical recession,” said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. “Service sector real output is up 2.2 per cent in the six months to July relative to the same period last year, with retail trade up 2.7 per cent.”
Mr. Guatieri noted that continued steady consumer spending amid low interest rates should sustain steady growth in the service sector and retail industry in 2016.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed that manufacturing and construction (automotive, transportation and industrial) were other major sectors in which women are currently operating in at 17 per cent. Both sectors have been hurt by the downturn in energy production, but should improve when oil prices recover next year, added Mr. Guatieri.