entrepreneurs have long been major players in the North
American economy, but if you are a woman in business, some
playing fields are easier to win in than others.
According to American Express, there are over 8.3 million
women-owned businesses in the United States. North of the
border, according to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), "There
are more than 821,000 women entrepreneursÖwho annually
contribute in excess of $18 billion to Canadaís economy."
numbers add up to about the same amount of women in business
per capita within each countryís borders, with Canada having a
small lead, but RBC adds that in Canada, "4 out of 5
businesses are started by women." In the United States, there
is still enormous growth with women-centered businesses;
however the American organization Women in Business states
that women only account for 47% of new business start-ups.
might be some of the reasons behind the difference?
issue repeatedly highlighted is the lack of programs for
American families that require help taking care of children or
older relatives, thereby putting caretakers at a disadvantage.
According to the government funded Womenís Employment
Initiative and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities agency,
Canada has a diverse and plentiful supply of such services,
making it easier for women to become self-employed. There are
even government schemes to hire help if need be, at little to
no charge to lower income start-ups, allowing them to become
more established. Such programs are practically nonexistent in
the USA, though they are highly sought after, according to the
US Governmentís Small Business Association.
American women and Canadian women are nearly neck-and-neck
when it comes to smaller businesses and being self-employed,
but is it easier to be a small business owner if you are a
woman, in Canada or in America?
According to The Global Banking Alliance, "Canada is a global
leader in womenís entrepreneurship (GEM, 2000). The
participation rates of Canadian women business owners are
comparable to those in the United States and higher than those
of other leading nations such as Denmark, Finland, and New
Zealand (Brush, Carter, Gatewood, Greene, & Hart, 2006)." The
report continues, "Öfemale entrepreneurial activity in Canada
is also higher than in Germany, France, U.K., Italy and
Elizabeth Stock, an American born in Canada, and who has
worked on both sides of the 49th parallel, explains the
differences your address can make.
created and run a handful of things over the years. Iíve
worked as a vintage VW mechanic and an alternative fuels
engineer, as well as now doing more creative things like
jewelry design, and itís much harder to make a go of it, here
in Florida than it was in Nova Scotia.
US has a serious issue with credit, which makes it harder for
a woman to get started with a small business. In the US women
also can be pushed into small business. Families have to have
two bread winners now, but it seems to me like itís only the
women who are expected to have their work revolve around their
home and family responsibilities. I find this to be the case
in the US, especially.
the positive though, there are many more doors opening for
home-based work than ever before. I know women who are running
two or more things at once out of their back doors; flower
shops, gift shops and hair salons are now being taken over by
graphic designers, web designers and multi media specialists
as they find other things they can do from home."
isnít to say that American women arenít doing well, because in
fact, they are. American women are the single, fastest
expanding group of entrepreneurs in the US at the moment,
responsible for a ninth of all American business and growing
stronger every year. Letís say instead then, that if youíre a
woman with your own business, living the American dream might
be just a little bit easier for you and your family, if youíre
living in Canada.