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Addressing the challenges to growing women’s business

PARO Centre receives funding to study obstacles to entrepreneurial growth
PARO funding

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise has netted federal funding to find out the root causes of why a gap exists when it comes to growing women’s business in Northern Ontario.

The Thunder Bay small business support organization received $280,061 for their project, "Collaborating for Transformation: Advancing Women's Economic Security."

Over the next three years, PARO will dive into the details of why women-led businesses in Northern Ontario seem to start off well but are unable to expand.

According to the government’s Aug. 14 news release, the barriers already appear to be an unequal access to growth capital for women and investor attitudes, among other reasons.

The project will also address the role that sexism, rural isolation and ageism play in hindering the growth of women's enterprises.

The release said “women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity.” Canadian women are earning just 87 cents for every dollar earned by men. They’re also more likely to work on a part-time basis, as they make up 76 per cent of all part-time workers in Canada.

Last October, Status of Women Canada issued a call for proposals, inviting organizations to propose projects that support women's economic security across Canada by addressing some of the causes of inequality, including barriers such as access to childcare, unequal pay and the gender wage gap.

More than 30 projects have been approved for a total of $10 million in funding.

"We are thrilled that the Government of Canada is supporting our project to help more women entrepreneurs find the right financing and other supports to help grow and expand their businesses,” said PARO executive director Rosaline Lockyer in the release.

“We hope that our efforts over the next three years will see many more women-led businesses in Northern Ontario succeed and continue to grow."

"Addressing barriers to women entrepreneurs in our rural areas will mean more participation and economic development in Northwestern Ontario,” added Thunder Bay-Superior North Patty Hajdu.

"The PARO Centre does amazing work across Northern Ontario to break down barriers affecting women entrepreneurs in our communities,” said Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Don Rusnak.