Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

Women entrepreneurs lead businesses across Canada, from small storefronts to high-growth scale-ups. The WEKH builds evidence and advances effective practices to support their businesses and growth.
Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

Project Team

Coralie D’Souza
Director of Operations + Employee Engagement
Heather Russek
Collaborator, Innovation Design + Futures
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Viet Vu
Economist
Yasmin Rajabi
Project Manager

Why we’re doing this project

The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) launched at Ryerson University in 2019, led by the Diversity Institute, the Ted Rogers School of Management, and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and funded by the Government of Canada through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy

The Hub, along with its regional networks and community of experts, will:

  • Engage women business support organizations across the country;
  • Strengthen cross-sector collaboration to support the success of diverse women entrepreneurs;
  • Support the implementation of more inclusive policies, programs, and practices across the innovation ecosystem;
  • Provide a platform to better connect women entrepreneurs across Canada to resources;
  • Challenge stereotypes and build awareness of women’s entrepreneurial success.

The Brookfield Institute is excited to bring our track record of research and policy analysis on entrepreneurship and expanding access to economic and entrepreneurial opportunities into this partnership.

Our women entrepreneurship research sits at the intersection of two workstreams:

  1. Our Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Workstream tracks trends in entrepreneurial activity and improves understanding of the experiences, success factors, and barriers impacting Canada’s entrepreneurs, as well as the tools and resources they need to succeed.
  2. Our Innovative and Inclusive Economy Workstream assesses the distribution of risks and benefits in Canada’s innovation economy and informs policies for advancing equity and broadening economic participation.

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Our Previous Entrepreneurship Work

Scale-Up Activity in Ontario

Scale-ups are vital drivers of job creation and GDP growth; in Ontario, revenue scale-ups generate $282 billion in business revenue and young employment scale-ups employ close to 10% of employees working for young companies. Using a new methodology, Scale-up Activity in Ontario maps and benchmarks scale-up activity in Ontario, their geographic distribution, and their economic impact.

Beyond the $ Value: Attitudes, Behaviours, and Aspirations of Ontario Entrepreneurs

Drawing on data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, this report quantifies Ontario’s flourishing entrepreneurial system and compares Ontario to over 20 OECD countries. Produced in partnership with BII+E, the Centre for Innovation Studies, and Ryerson University, we go beyond conventional measures of entrepreneurial success to focus on entrepreneurs themselves including individual attitudes, behaviours, and aspirations and adds a valuable dimension to understanding an essential driver of innovation and growth.

The State of Canada’s Tech Sector

Part of our growing series of sectoral deep dives, The State of Canada’s Tech Sector examines the sector’s economic contribution, its regional and industry distribution, and firm and employee-level characteristics. 

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

This project aimed to understand the barriers that women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses while also exploring how novel forms of co-design and community-led intervention can address complex systemic issues such as economic exclusion.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement
The Brookfield Institute applies an intersectional lens to our entrepreneurship research with a focus on advancing and sharing knowledge on womens’ entrepreneurship and conducting comparative analysis across gender, ethnicity, geography and other intersections of demographics or personal identity.

Across all our research and operations, the Brookfield Institute is committed to ensuring that our work is national and representative, providing insights into the specific experiences of vulnerable and marginalized groups. This includes conducting demographic analysis to understand the different experiences of, for example, women, Indigenous peoples, immigrant and refugee populations, visible minorities, people with disabilities, youth, LGBTQ2S+ people, and individuals at the intersections of these groups, whenever data is available, and ensuing these perspectives are reflected in our research design, communicated in the results, and considered in the selection of expert advisors, stakeholders, and event participants. We commit to identifying and recognizing gaps in data collection and availability, acknowledging who is left out, and working around these gaps as best we can, in collaboration with communities. 

Coralie D’Souza
Director of Operations + Employee Engagement
Heather Russek
Collaborator, Innovation Design + Futures
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Viet Vu
Economist
Yasmin Rajabi
Project Manager

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Aug 21, 2020

Artists and creative businesses took a hard, direct hit from the pandemic. This article explores the state of creative work and entrepreneurship in the era of physical distancing.
Abstract illustration of creative items including theatre mask, video game controller.
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