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Canadian women are seeing the benefits of entrepreneurship, according to a report on Canadian entrepreneurs released today by BMO Bank of Montreal.

The report is based on a survey of female entrepreneurs conducted by Pollara. It showed women needed an average of $201,729 to start their businesses, and 63% turned a profit by the two-year mark, belying the common notion that most small businesses fail within their few first years of operation. Additionally, almost three-quarters (73%) are currently turning a profit.

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The report also revealed some key challenges female entrepreneurs face when starting their businesses, including:

  • supporting their families until business was profitable (51%);
  • obtaining capital to get started (43%);
  • building a customer network (43%); and
  • getting advice on how to get started (20%).

The Women’s Business Economic Advisory Council (WBEAC) states that firms wholly or partially owned by women represent 47% of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada.

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Overall, the retail sector tends to showcase the highest number of female entrepreneurs. According to BMO’s report, the major sectors in which women entrepreneurs are currently operating include:

  • Retail (wholesale, imports/exports and distribution): 30%
  • Services (healthcare, real estate and food and beverage): 17%
  • Professional services (technology, financial services, business services, consulting, marketing and telecommunications): 14%

The survey also revealed that manufacturing and construction (automotive, transportation and industrial) were other major sectors in which women are currently operating in at 17%. Both sectors have been hurt by the downturn in energy production, but should improve when oil prices recover.

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Originally published on Advisor.ca

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