CanadaOne Twitter CanadaOne Linkedin CanadaOne Facebook CanadaONe RSS

This project will support women in York Region and Simcoe County, Ontario.

There are three main phases in this project: ecosystem mapping (2015), technology development (2016) and marketing (2016-2017).

According to GEM (2009), regardless of country, educational attainment, work status and income, women tend to be less confident and more pessimistic when compared to their male counterparts. (Maura, 2013)

Positioning Women for Success: Accelerating Women

Women entrepreneurs make up an important part of the Canadian economy, yet research indicates that this group of business owners face unique challenges.

Here is statistic that should be a wake-up call for why we need to better support smaller companies: Research from Statistics Canada identified a significant productivity gap between large and small companies, where companies with fewer than 500 employees earn just 47% of the revenue per GDP hour of what a larger firm will earn. To put that in lay terms, that means that smaller companies do two hours of work to put the same dollar in their pocket that a larger company will earn, on average, in just one hour.

Now consider this: The productivity gap was for companies up to 499 employees in size. We strongly suspect that the equation is even worse for micro companies with fewer than 25 employees. What's more, research also shows that women-owned firms tend to have lower revenues and may experience an even more substantial gap.

While CanadaOne supports all entrepreneurs, our initial research indicates that the best way to support these companies is to consider intersections with other characteristics of the entrepreneurs, including gender (which is where this project will focus).

The bottom-line benefit is clear: Strengthening women-led business, in particular their profitability can have a significant impact on the local economy. The Canadian Task-Force for Women's Business Growth noted that " a 20% increase in total revenues among majority female-owned enterprises will contribute an additional $2 billion per annum to the Canadian economy."

We believe that is a goal worth working towards. As a women-owned and led company that has also helped over 6 million Canadians start and grow their businesses, bizZone / CanadaOne is uniquely positioned to drive this project.

Project At a Glance

Target: Women-owned businesses in York Region/Simcoe County with an emphasis on "Main Street" businesses.

Purpose: To identify ways to enhance the economic success of women business owners in Simcoe County/York Region.

Scope: Accelerating Women is a pilot project that has four main components:

  1. Map out the "eco-system" of support organizations and programs available to women business owners in York Region and Simcoe County;
  2. Conduct a gap analysis to identify factors that may create barriers to success;
  3. Develop a technology portal that will create a one-stop information sources for women entrepreneurs in the target region; and
  4. Train and market the portal.

Funding: This project is being conducted by bizZone Inc. and We are grateful to Status of Women of Canada for the project funding under their "Economic Prosperity: Positioning Women for Success" mandate.

Specific Aims & Goals:

Through interviews, online surveys, and focus groups, the project will:

  • Identify competencies, profitability and evaluate the perceived and unperceived needs of women-owned businesses in Simcoe County/York Region.
  • Identify the gaps on supporting women business owners in Simcoe County/York Region.
  • Identify all supports for women business owners in the target region.
  • Build an online access portal for the ongoing provision of a support database.
  • Create a way for the technology

Our goals in doing this work are two-fold:

  • To identify ways to enhance the economic success of women-owned businesses in Simcoe County/York Region.
  • To map the ecosystem supporting women business owners in Simcoe County/York Region.

The Team:

Project Champion: Julie King (

Project Lead, Research & Marketing: Katherine Rizzi

Gender Research Consultant: Rita Nketiah

Statistical Modeling: Jenny Guo

Administrative Assistant: Carmen Radut (

Project Timeline


January: Project launch / initial ecosystem mapping

April: Media Launch

May: Hire the team, research begins

July: Video & individual interviews

August: Facilitated focus group sessions begin, online survey launch

September - December: Finalize ecosystem mapping and gap analysis


January: Phase I report is ready, technology platform development begins

April: Portal testing

June: Portal launch, marketing and training begins


January - March: Portal marketing continues

Accelerating Women

Funders and Partners:

The City of Barrie logo
Barrie Small Business Centre logo
YSBEC logo

Accelerating Women

A project to strengthen support for women entrepreneurs in York Region and Simcoe County.