Expect more women entrepreneurs

By Vikram Barhat | March 5, 2012 | Last updated on March 5, 2012
2 min read

While women have made great strides toward workplace equality, the world of business ownership remains male-dominated. But there are signs that could change.

Three days before the International Women’s Day (March 8), a new study from BMO Bank of Montreal reveals that 71% of Canadian women would become their own boss if they had the opportunity.

The online survey of 1,523 women found 83% said success as a business owner is greatly impacted by having access to role models or mentors. In addition, 25% said that balancing work and life as a ‘mompreneur’—mothers with an entrepreneurial spirit—would be a challenge.

Read: Don’t overlook entrepreneurial women

“Balancing work and life commitments such as caring for children or elder family members is a big consideration, one that is almost as important as translating ideas into practice and finding customers,” said Cathy Pin, vice-president, commercial banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Yet, being your own boss can also give you greater flexibility in your life and also provide an opportunity to build something you are passionate about.”

One-third of those surveyed want to start a business in the food and hospitality or arts and entertainment sectors. Only 5% indicated a preference for information technology or a skilled trade.

“Fortunately, when striking out on your own business venture, you don’t need to be alone,” said Pin. “There are a variety of resources available including online blogs, websites, and organizations such as the Women President’s Organization where you can share information with other women business owners, seek out mentors and take inspiration from role models.”

According to Statistics Canada, there are approximately 910,000 self-employed women in Canada, accounting for about one-third of the national total. Forty-six per cent of small and medium-sized businesses have some degree of female ownership, 16% are majority-owned by females. More than half (51%) of female business owners have over 10 years of management or ownership experience.

Vikram Barhat