Women-owned enterprises take on increased role in Canada

The number of women-owned enterprises and the employment in these enterprises increased faster than men-owned enterprises

Mario ToneguzziA new Statistics Canada study says there were 275,300 women-owned enterprises on average each year from 2005 to 2013 throughout the country, employing 828,700 workers.

The federal agency reported on Monday in its Women-owned Enterprises in Canada study that women-owned enterprises accounted for 18 per cent of all private enterprises and 15 per cent of employment in private enterprises for which the gender of business ownership could be identified.

“In contrast, there were over one million men-owned enterprises on average each year from 2005 to 2013, accounting for 4.1 million employees. These enterprises represented 67 per cent of all private enterprises and 73 per cent of employment in private enterprises,” said StatsCan.

“Despite the significant difference between the number of women- and men-owned enterprises, the number of women-owned enterprises (+33 per cent) and the employment in these enterprises (+20 per cent) increased at a faster pace relative to men-owned and equally-owned (women and men) enterprises from 2005 to 2013.

“Equally-owned enterprises (enterprises owned by both women and men) saw similar growth (+32 per cent) in the number of businesses, but slower growth (+12 per cent) in employment. In contrast, the number of men-owned enterprises grew 22 per cent and employment in these enterprises rose eight per cent.”

The study said women-owned enterprises were more prevalent in service industries, such as educational services; health care and social assistance; and arts, entertainment and recreation. In contrast, men-owned enterprises were more prevalent in goods-producing industries such as agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; utilities; and manufacturing.

“The share of women-owned enterprises was highest in the educational services industry (35 per cent) and lowest in the construction industry (seven per cent) from 2005 to 2013. The number of women-owned enterprises grew much faster relative to that of men-owned enterprises in most service industries, with the fastest growth in education and health care and social assistance,” said the study.

“Women-owned enterprises were also more prevalent in small enterprise categories (enterprises with no employees, fewer than five employees, and five to 19 employees). Women-owned enterprises accounted for 17 per cent to 19 per cent of enterprises within those categories, while they represented 11 per cent of enterprises with more than 100 employees.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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