New Funding Increases Women’s Equality in Alberta

The Status of Women grant program gives more than $1.5 million to community projects boosting women’s safety, economic security and leadership.

Minister McLean and Carrie Belcourt, founder of Mother Earth Essentials

The ministry had originally budgeted $500,000 for grants and, through careful budgeting, tripled it to more than $1.5 million in fiscal year 2016-17.

“We tripled the funds because there’s a deep desire to tackle women’s inequality in all corners of this province. Every dollar of our Status of Women grant goes to improve the lives of women and girls in Alberta. We know when Alberta women succeed, our economy grows and our communities flourish.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

Today, Minister Stephanie McLean announced one of 34 innovative projects funded following Status of Women’s first-ever call for grant applications in November 2016.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) will receive $100,000 for NextStep to Success, a training and peer-mentoring program that helps Indigenous women start their businesses and create jobs. In partnership with Indigenous communities, this program provides much-needed support to women who face more barriers than most.

“We believe our communities are strongest when women are full participants in entrepreneurship. Thanks to the grant from Alberta Status of Women, we can support Indigenous women with entrepreneurial aspirations who wish to start, build and grow their own businesses.”

Marcela Mandeville, Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

“My journey to start my own business came from a place where I could see ways to break down the stereotypes and showcase the beauty of my culture. I also realized how much a program like this would have really changed things for me.”

Carrie Belcourt, founder, Mother Earth Essentials

“As one of Alberta’s progressive First Nations, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation is encouraged by the investment made to help our Aboriginal women entrepreneurs. We hope to create lasting partnerships between our people and the Alberta government to create sustainable economic development for all Albertans.”

Erwin (Dino) Letendre, band councillor, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation 

Successful grant applicants come from across Alberta. Their work expands successful programs into new parts of the province or kick-starts new projects that improve the lives of women and girls, such as programs that:

  • empower more girls to play sports
  • offer leadership training to girls and teens
  • support women in the technology sector
  • provide skills training for immigrant and Indigenous women
  • raise awareness about consent and sexual violence
  • engage underrepresented women in the political process
  • support women experiencing domestic violence
  • address challenges of women entering the agricultural industry

Quick facts

  • Thirty-five Alberta communities will benefit from funded projects and 8 projects have province-wide programming.
  • Grants range from $3,000 to $100,000.
  • According to a 2014 ATB Financial report, approximately 38 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Alberta are owned or run by women.

About AWE’s NextStep to Success program

The program will provide guidance, expertise and peer-mentoring to Indigenous women entrepreneurs who are ready to develop a comprehensive business plan. It is comprised of seven sessions addressing business plan essentials, and participants benefit from the support of a peer circle led by a facilitator.

With this grant, AWE will also run The NextStep to Success Train the Trainer Program, which provides training on how to deliver the program’s curriculum to facilitators from across the province.