Increasingly, governments worldwide are implementing entrepreneurship policies to foster economic growth (Roundy, 2017), address social challenges (Irani and Elliman, 2008; Haugh and Talwar, 2016), and to adjust to structural changes to the global economy (Brown, Ashton and Lauder, 2010). Canada is ranked third globally in the health of the entrepreneurship ecosystem (Acz, Szerb and Lloyd, 2018) and it is consistently ranked highly in terms of its ability to identify business opportunities, create a supportive institutional environment for entrepreneurs, and ensure the availability of capital for entrepreneurs (Acz, Szerb, Autio and Lloyd, 2017; Acs et al.,2018).

However, these opportunities in Canada are not available across the board. Despite decades of well-intentioned efforts to advance women in entrepreneurship, systemic barriers and biases
remain within the innovation ecosystem (Beckton, 2018; Cukier et al., 2018), with women-led firms still showing lower rates of growth and exporting, and with investment focus being maintained within technology and other male-dominated fields (Ezzedeen and Zikic, 2012). Canadian women entrepreneurs are more inclined to run early-stage firms that are more likely to be in the retail, tourism and professional services industries (Jung, 2010) and are more concentrated in consumer services as well as arts and social enterprises (Hughes, 2017).

Additionally, Canadian women have a lower total entrepreneurship activity (TEA) rate compared to men, meaning they are less likely to start a business than men (Robichaud, LeBrasseur and
Nagarajan, 2010). Even as women’s entrepreneurial activity increases across Canada and globally (Hughes, 2017), processes and stereotypes which disadvantage diverse women in this space persist. For example, traditional definitions of entrepreneurship can affect the analysis of data on women and other diverse groups. Women-owned businesses as defined by the Government of Canada (those where at least 51% of shares are owned by women) account for only 16% of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) (Industry Canada, 2015; Jung, 2010). However, when the definition of entrepreneurship is expanded to include self-employment, women account for 37.7% of selfemployed Canadians (Statistics Canada, 2019a). Other factors such as investor biases, incubator  culture, support, capital (including cultural capital) and education shape women’s intentions and opportunities in entrepreneurship (Balachandra et al., 2019; Valliere, 2017; Thoelen & Zanoni, 2011). Given these complex factors, and potential barriers caused by intersecting identities, a gender and diversity lens can offer insights into critical issues for diverse women entrepreneurs (Brush et al., 2009).

This special issue aims to advance women’s entrepreneurship in Canada and to examine how best to support women entrepreneurs by drawing on existing knowledge and identifying where
research gaps exist. Topics of interest in this edition include the following topics, among others:● Context of women entrepreneurship in Canada – ecosystem, infrastructure, culture, policies,
and programs
● Shape of women’s entrepreneurship in Canada – examining trends over time, sectors,
dimensions of geography, sector, stages of development, diversity of founders, and other areas
● Barriers to diverse women entrepreneurs – intentions and motivations, challenges related to
incubation, financing, exporting, and growth
● Enablers of women entrepreneurship in Canada – especially case studies on effective
policies, programs and organizations geared towards supporting diverse women
● Shaping intentions – discussion of education and promotion efforts for increasing the
representation of diverse women among entrepreneurs
● Impact of COVID-19 on diverse women entrepreneurs
● Other topics related to the main theme of the edition

Submission instructions:

Article proposals (between 500-800 words) must be submitted using the JSBE submission site ( no later than July 15th, 2020.

Authors invited to submit full articles must do so on the JSBE platform no later than September 15th, 2020. All articles will be subject to a double-blind review process. Articles must be original and comply with JSBE criteria.

Refer to the JSBE site for submission guidelines and to find the link to the online submission system. Be sure to submit your article and writing as a manuscript type: “Special issue: Advancing Knowledge: Women Entrepreneurship in Canada”.

Dr. Wendy Cukier
Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy,
Director, Diversity Institute
Ted Rogers School of Management