April 21, 2019

51 Percent Equity Definition for Women Owned Businesses introduces yet another form of discrimination against women

CanWIT (Women in Tech) Group

Ottawa, ON…CATAAlliance (www.cata.ca), Canada’s One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group, has launched an Advocacy Campaign calling for governments and agencies at all levels to fully open access to international trade promotion, procurement and related growth resources to women-led or women founded companies, rather than excluding women-owned businesses that are not at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women.


According to Dr Cindy Gordon,  CATA National Spokesperson, CEO, SalesChoice, an AI, Saas company, and a Sara Kirke Award winner, “ We are concerned that government policy places an emphasis on “women owned” business, defined as 51% equity in the company, rather than on women-led or women-founded companies and how this guidance affects access to growth capital and related resources.”

While in the early stages of setting up a company, a 51% rule makes some sense, company owners are often in the position where they have to seek equity-based investment to get the capital needed for rapid growth. Given that there are proportionally few women investors in the market (estimated at about 14% of the total), this places women-led and founded companies at a disadvantage. 

We also have a challenge of retaining women in the technology sector, and to achieve Canada’s goals for innovation, it is imperative we ensure women are not disadvantaged.

The unintended result is to reduce the capital supply pool to women led businesses or to force owners to opt to dilute their company and thus loose their status for extra consideration for contracts and export opportunities.


Amy Millman, President, Springboard Enterprises, said, “ Governments in their pursuit of diversity do not seem to get the fact that they may be introducing systemic discrimination against women-founded and led businesses by setting the requirement of 51% ownership. In Canada, the U.S. and around the globe, we must avoid creating legislative brick walls that set up unconditional ownership and control of 51%.”

Dr Suzanne Simpson, Ph.D., C. Psych., Founder & CEO, HRSG and a 2018 Sara Kirke Award winner concluded, “ The current government in its pursuit of diversity does not seem to get the fact that they may be introducing systemic discrimination against women-founded and led businesses by setting the requirement of 51% ownership (view video interview).”

Related:  
Top Tech Groups in Canada & the U.S. Team Up to Call for Removal of Artificial Barrier Impeding the Growth of Women Owned & Led Enterprises

 Call to Action

  • Executives interested in working with CATAAlliance to advance diversity, STEM and Women in Tech mentorship, should contact CATA CEO, John Reid at jreid@cata.ca
  • Click here to send an email to your Member of Parliament to ask them to support the Campaign. It is quick, easy and very important. Parliamentarians need to know that their constituents care about Canada’s role in space and need to share these views with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
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The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance), Canada’s One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group, crowdsources ideas and guidance from thousands of opt in members in moderated social networks in Canada and key global markets. Supported by evidence-based research, CATAAlliance then mobilizes the community behind public policy recommendations designed to boost Canada’s innovation and competitiveness success.

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Contact: CATAAlliance CEO, John Reid at email jreid@cata.ca, tel: 613-699-8209, website: www.cata.ca, tags: Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Advocacy

CanWITAbout CanWIT (Women in Tech)

Interact with your Women in Tech Peer Group Now: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3307815/

CanWIT (Women in Tech) is a CATAAlliance initiative designed to promote mentorship, STEM disciplines, Innovation advocacy and successful women led enterprises in Canada.

CanWIT crowdsources ideas and guidance from thousands of opt in members in moderated social networks in Canada and key global markets.

Among it key programs are, the Sara Kirke Awards for recognizing women entrepreneurs, Social Groups for peer information exchange, Video Sharing Channels for sharing of best practices, Competitive Innovation nation advocacy and member events on topics of the day.