Over 40% of young women had to start a company to go into business, as opposed to only 32% of men.
What is women’s agricultural entrepreneurship?
Do women start fewer businesses than men do?
Are there certain issues that women entrepreneurs are facing in Quebec?
According to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), a number of challenges remain in the world of women’s entrepreneurship. These challenges fall into three main categories:
- Access to financing (lack of savings, inadequate or inappropriate public financing, difficulty securing private financing)
- Availability of land and value of agricultural assets
- Work and family: doing double duty and striking a balance
Not only does lack of savings constitute a problem in and of itself, but it also hinders access to financing given that most financial institutions require some kind of assets for the financing to be approved. The proportion of women who get their financial support from family and friends is 22.5%, as compared to 9.9% for men.
The CED also reports that women entrepreneurs think of themselves as being less skilled at negotiating and devote less time to business networking than men do. At the same time, there is greater need for entrepreneurship coaching among women than men.
What the literature says
An overview of Canada’s economy
Women control 16% of active SMEs in the country.
of women have access to credit to develop their business.
of businesses owned by women are considered microbusinesses and have fewer than 20 employees.
of women entrepreneurs apply for commercial loans.
Most of the time, investors buy into projects pitched by men over women.
of new businesses in Canada are started by women.
Source: Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, August 26, 2020
Starting a farm business in Quebec
Source: Cultiver les possibles du Conseil du Statut de la femme
Nearly 75% of women farmers rent the land they farm, while the figure for men is about 50%.
In agriculture, only 43% of women managers are at the head of family businesses that are transferred.
In Quebec, family farm businesses are most often transferred to men (61% of cases).
Division of family tasks within entrepreneur couples
Source: Société d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) Centre-de-la-Mauricie
Women entrepreneurs care for children three times more often than their partners on average.
Women spend about two more hours per week on family activities than men do.
Quebec’s agricultural sector
Source: Portrait de la relève agricole au Québec 2016 (MAPAQ)
27% of women who own shares in farming operations are the business owners.
Dimension E is designed for women agricultural entrepreneurs who want to:
Get exclusive access to resources to start a new business or develop an existing one
Upgrade their administrative skills and learn more about business management
Network with other women entrepreneurs working in agriculture
Who is Dimension E for?
Young women agricultural entrepreneurs
Ex: Next-generation agricultural entrepreneurs (under 40 years old)
Ex: Women who own or co-own a registered farm business
Future women agricultural entrepreneurs
Ex: Women farm employees who plan to start their own farm
Experienced women farmers
Ex: Women farmers who have been established for a few to as many as ten years and who seek to diversify production
Women agricultural business leaders
Ex: Women who own or co-own agricultural companies
Wives of farmers
Ex: Women who are married to farm business owners and who work on the farm, whether or not they are paid by the business
Women in the agricultural industry
Ex: Veterinarians, agronomists, agricultural consultants, etc.
Women farm workers
Ex: Women who work on farm operations that neither they nor their spouse owns
Women agriculture students
Ex: Any woman interested in starting a career in the farming world
Dimension E was developed with the help of a grant from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), in October 2019, to create an agricultural entrepreneurship project aimed at women. The project was developed to address the difficulties encountered by women who run businesses in the agricultural world as well, as women farmers interested in starting and growing businesses.
Dimension E is funded by CED as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), which has the mission to foster women’s full and equal participation in the economy. The WES is a whole-of-government approach to help women grow businesses through access to financing, skills development, networking and expertise.
By the end of the project in 2023, Agricultrices du Québec members will have access to various tools including:
- A professional co-development program
- A service to provide referrals to the different financing programs
- Consulting services offered free of charge, including tax and legal advice
- Videos outlining the services open to women agricultural entrepreneurs
- Targeted tools to meet women farmers’ needs (training sessions, fact sheets, etc.)