Canadian Women Still Far Behind When It Comes To Business Growth

Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce marks second anniversary with a look at the reality of women’s business ‘empowerment’

“We’re not selling women empowerment. We’re working to make business equality a reality for all women-identified and nonbinary entrepreneurs.”

Nancy Wilson, Founder & CEO, CanWCC

Toronto, ON – It wasn’t until 1989 that women business owners in North America could ask for a business loan without needing a male to cosign. Although three decades have passed since then, access to capital for women is still intolerably low compared to men. This is just one of the issues that the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC) is highlighting as they mark their second anniversary with a strong call-to-action for women-identified business owners across the country.

“There are a lot of women’s business networking groups out there but they’re doing very little to actually drive change and advance equality at a higher level,” said Nancy Wilson, CEO and founder of CanWCC. “To do that we need a single, unified voice. It’s imperative that we dismantle the system that exists, but we need to create a powerful network to shift the balance of power.”

CanWCC has set an aggressive agenda to grow their membership by 5,000 women-identified business owners across the country. This will enable even further insight for the organization into women’s ongoing challenges in business, and contribute to the development of a stronger advocacy platform.

As part of their growth, the organization has redeveloped their visual identity to better communicate the advocacy and community benefit to future and current members. The new brand, website and communications was developed with a team of women entrepreneurs led by Rise Agency creative.

Wilson founded CanWCC, a national non-profit organization, while working as an accountant and witnessing first-hand the frustrations of her women-identified business clients when it came to financing and operations.

“I could see that women were not only facing obstacles common to all entrepreneurs, but they were also struggling with things inherently taken for granted by men – asking for financing without questions about their family commitments, closed business deals and connections through power networks that open up access to suppliers and equity,” Wilson explained. “We believe a lot of gains can be made by advocating en masse for policy changes around access to debt and equity financing, supplier diversity and affordable childcare.”

CanWCC also recently entered into a partnership with the Dress for Success Canada Foundation to pay it forward. A portion of membership fees from every CanWCC member will be donated to the foundation to help give a hand-up to other women in business.

“The Dress for Success Canada Foundation is excited to partner with CanWCC to elevate women from coast to coast.  Through this groundbreaking partnership, CanWCC members will be helping other women on their journey to economic independence,” said Kathryn Babcock, CEO Dress for Success Canada Foundation. “To each member, we say thank you for providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools that enable women to thrive in work and in life.”

About CanWCC: The Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce is an advocacy organization working to support women-identified business owners and make equality in business a reality. CanWCC provides community and connections for its members and makes an impact through a yearly advocacy agenda using the input and feedback from women business owners across the country. For more information, please visit

About Dress for Success Canada Foundation: Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to more than 150 cities in 25 countries and has helped more than one million women work towards self-sufficiency.

Media contact:

Susan Mackasey

Sarah Kiriliuk