Ottawa, February 26, 2024—The Information and Technology Council (ICTC), Canada’s not-for-profit centre of expertise for the digital economy, announced today the launch of “Changing the Narrative – Unleashing the Full Potential of Women-Owned Enterprises,” a program that addresses the systemic barriers women-owned social enterprises face in Canada’s digital economy.

With a particular focus on social enterprises owned by Black women and women from other minority groups, including official language minority communities, the project aims to elevate the economic security and prosperity of women. The program takes an ecosystem approach to tackling barriers in the wider entrepreneurial environment by broadening the pool and diversity of tech entrepreneurs.

“Changing the Narrative” responds to recent ICTC research that found significant disparities in the Canadian social entrepreneurship ecosystem, such as the following: founders are more likely to be men than women or people of marginalized genders; many women feel they are “not taken seriously” when pitching or negotiating deals; an estimated 90–98% of all venture capital funds are awarded to men.  

Over its 29 months, the program will span five provinces—Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Quebec, and Alberta—and consist of engaging with 500 women-owned businesses, partnership collaboration with 36 subject-matter experts, up to 10 community organizations and entities focused on supporting Black women and minority groups, and work with 150 mentors.

Partners will support the project by raising awareness within their networks and communities, recruiting mentors, providing expertise, and actively assisting in the implementation of key activities, including mentorship opportunities through a Community Learning & Connectivity Hub, knowledge mobilization sessions, pitch events, and networking.

ICTC will also conduct groundbreaking research with a focus on driving long-term systemic change for women-owned social enterprises. This research will involve a deep dive to uncover and showcase indicators and catalysts for success at all stages of social entrepreneurship within the digital and green economy.


Everyday women entrepreneurs are taking risks, bringing new ideas to life, and making contributions to our country. Yet they continue to receive less financing and opportunities than their male counterparts. Today’s investment in the Information and Communications Technology Council is about creating a more inclusive social entrepreneurial landscape, particularly for women from Black and official language minority communities.

- The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Empowering women-owned businesses, with a particular focus on underrepresented and minority groups, will undoubtingly pave the way for innovation and economic growth, forging a path to prosperity and inclusivity.

- Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a neutral, not-for-profit national center of expertise with the mission of strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in the global economy. For over 30 years, and with a team of 110 experts, we have delivered forward-looking research, practical policy advice, and capacity-building solutions for individuals and businesses. The organization’s goal is to ensure that technology is utilized to drive economic growth and innovation and that Canada’s workforce remains competitive on a global scale.

To arrange an interview or for other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at @email or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This program is funded by the Government of Canada.