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Women Driving Growth

Supporting women leaders in driving Canada's economy


Women entrepreneurs are a growing force in Canada's economy, bringing unique perspectives, bolstering growth and innovation across diverse industries, and making substantial contributions to the business landscape.

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do. According to the World Bank, long-run gross domestic product (GDP) per capita would be on average 20% higher if gender employment gaps were closed. Studies estimate economic gains in the order of $5-6 trillion if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate men do.

At BDO Canada, we support women leaders every step of the way through our Women Driving Growth suite of services.

“We are focused on ensuring the continued success of women leaders by giving them the support they require. We have a team that's prepared and a full strategy behind our approach,” says Shilpa Mishra, Partner, Capital Advisory Leader, and Leader of Women Driving Growth.

As the only Canadian professional services firm offering advisory solutions for enterprise-level women leaders, our all-woman team of dealmakers, trailblazers, and financial professionals is committed to helping advance women in their respective businesses in the market.

“We recognize that service delivery preferences differ among our clients and we're really proud to offer this as an option,” adds Steph Fox, Market Leader, Advisory, and Women Driving Growth advisor.

“As a firm, we're dedicated to serving our clients in a way that meets their needs and preferences, and we are ready to support women leaders in how they want to work.”

Want to know more about Women Driving Growth?

Navigating four key opportunities facing women leaders

Women leaders are focused on growing their business, bringing innovative ideas and driving progress within their industries. They are transforming the business landscape and making valuable contributions to long-term economic growth.

With a highly strategic and experienced team fully devoted to championing the success of women-led businesses, we help women entrepreneurs navigate and thrive in the competitive business landscape to achieve new levels of success. Below are four areas of focus where we can assist women leaders.

number 1

Access to capital

A strong balance sheet is critical in positioning businesses for recovery during economic contractions and possible recessions. With banks enforcing more stringent capital requirements due to limitations in their own capital reserves, the availability of capital becomes increasingly vital for businesses seeking to navigate these challenging times and sustain their operations.

Significant progress has been made in increasing access to capital for women-led businesses through financial institutions. The WEKH notes that loan approval rates for women- and men-owned businesses are similar in Canada. Still, the average amount of financing authorized for men-owned businesses is approximately 150% higher, according to the WEKH, signalling an opportunity to further foster a more equitable landscape and increase capital opportunities for women-owned businesses.

As business owners, Bay Street deal makers, and financial advisors, our all-woman team has deep connections with banks, lenders, investors, and other financing institutions that can help you access the capital you need to secure your business. From loans and grants to investment opportunities, our knowledgeable team will work to connect you with the right resources and help you unlock the financial support necessary to drive your success.

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number 2

Talent attraction and retention

People are the pumping heart of a successful business, but navigating today's challenging labour market requires strategic talent acquisition and retention strategies to ensure a competitive edge.

This area was identified as a key obstacle to women-led business success in Statistics Canada's Q1 2023 analysis of businesses majority-owned by women. The labour force shortage, recruiting skilled employees, and retaining skilled employees made up the top three obstacles that women leaders identified as having a high impact on their ability to deliver goods and services.

Whether your enterprise needs assistance in recruiting and retaining top professionals, developing leadership skills, implementing remote and hybrid return-to-work policies, managing complex union environments, or other labour-related issues, our team can help you unlock the full potential of your workforce.

number 3

Tax planning and efficiency

As your business grows, the complexity of tax obligations can quickly become overwhelming. Proactive tax planning helps you avoid unexpected tax liability and improve your financial position.

From leveraging woman-owned business tax incentives to enhancing tax structures, we are committed to helping women entrepreneurs minimize their tax burden and set their businesses up for further growth. Our Women Driving Growth team can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and the tax regulations in your jurisdiction and industry.

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number 4

Strengthening environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices

At BDO, we're taking action to address and reduce barriers for women in our firm through our National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council. With this advocacy experience at our own firm, our team can help women entrepreneurs drive DEI programs and ESG change within their own businesses.

These areas are rapidly becoming vital components for success, as customers, investors, regulators, and other stakeholders expect businesses to operate in an increasingly responsible, transparent, and accountable manner. As our professionals explain, improving ESG performance offers clear strategic benefits to businesses, from increasing the long-term value of a company and helping build competitive advantage, to attracting investors and consumers and mitigating reputational risk.

Gender parity and empowerment start from within

BDO is committed to supporting the advancement of women in business—and this commitment starts right here in our own firm.

We are proud to report that 44% of our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) are women and 58% of our people identify as women firm-wide. We've set measurable targets to achieve 50% gender parity across all senior roles.

“At BDO, we are committed to the continued advancement of our future and current women leaders, and we are also committed to helping Canadian women entrepreneurs grow and succeed through our Women Driving Growth initiative,” says Giselle Bodkin, Partner and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at BDO Canada.

Our firm continues to deliver education, mentorship programs, and awareness-building initiatives to support DEI and the success of women within BDO.

Women Driving Growth: A suite of services by women leaders for women leaders

We begin with a free consultation to help us assess your needs and understand how to best position you and your business for continued success. From there, we work with you to build a customized strategy that aligns with your short- and long-term objectives.

We also offer workshops and events specifically for women, providing them with networking and learning opportunities.

Our services include:

Capital Advisory
ESG Solutions
People Advisory
Risk Advisory Services
Strategy, Value Creation & Analytics
Transaction Services
Technology Advisory
Audit & Assurance

Redefining the landscape for women entrepreneurs

Are you a female entrepreneur wanting support to scale?

Our all-woman-led Women Driving Growth team is here to support you and help empower and elevate women entrepreneurs even further. We're committed to providing women leaders with the resources, support, and community they need to succeed.

Redefine what's possible for your business–reach out to book a free consultation or contact our Women Driving Growth team.

Shilpa Mishra, CPA, MBA – Partner, Leader Capital Advisory
Steph Fox – Market Leader, Advisory

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