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BMO, Carleton University & The Beacon Agency Release Industry-Leading Report on Risk Appetite of Female Entrepreneurs

Report Findings to Support Implementation of Specialized Programs within the Bank

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 3, 2016) - A new independent study released in partnership among BMO Financial Group, Carleton University and The Beacon Agency has found that women entrepreneurs in Canada have difficulty securing funding from financial institutions because they are mistakenly perceived as risk averse and unable to generate the same economic growth as men.

BMO sponsored the study to get a better understanding of its female clients, improve customer experience and reiterate the bank's commitment to conducting business in ways that resonate with this group at a time when female start-ups are emerging and are outpacing those led by men. For example:

  • The number of self-employed women with an incorporated business has increased by 15 per cent since 2007;
  • Over two thirds (68 per cent) of female owned companies reported capturing a larger share of their existing market through innovation; and,
  • Businesses with majority female ownership report the highest instance of average yearly revenue growth of more than 20 per cent.

Key Findings from the Report

A Force to Reckon With: WOMEN, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND RISK, offers the most comprehensive review to date of Canadian female entrepreneurs, and is based on two years of research and interviews with more than 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Key findings include:

  • Women entrepreneurs make decisions that require risk to grow and build their businesses.
  • Women entrepreneurs tend to take a relationship and longer term approach to business and a holistic approach to calculating risk-based decisions.
  • Women entrepreneurs are misinterpreted as risk averse, although their businesses are not underperforming in comparison to their male counterparts.
  • Women entrepreneurs are eager for information that can assist in making sound decisions around risk, and are not afraid of seeking it out in different forms to grow their business.
  • Women entrepreneurs are more likely to be funded personally, rather than assuming debt from a financial institution.

"Female entrepreneurs are an important group - not only to BMO, but to Canada as a whole. We sponsored this report to debunk how women are being perceived and explore how we can lead the industry to do better," explained Susan Brown, senior vice-president and head of BMO Women's Strategy, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Support of these businesses is essential to fostering Canadian economic development and to help grow the billions of dollars and innovations their businesses already generate. We intend to use this knowledge to support the tailored initiatives we already have coming down the pipeline for our female customers."

"We know that women entrepreneurs are eager for information that can help them make sound decisions around risk," said Clare Beckton, executive director of Carleton's Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership. "We've also identified that they are unaware of some of the existing credit available to them."

"We heard consistently across the country how important mentorship is to the overall success of female entrepreneurs," said Janice McDonald, president of The Beacon Agency. "Mentors help to mitigate risk and build confidence."

How BMO Plans to Expand Support for Female Entrepreneurs

BMO welcomes the report's recommendations, including how to better communicate and build relationships with female entrepreneurs.

In addition to the current partnerships that BMO has with business organizations that support female entrepreneurs, along with the two billion dollars in credit the bank has made available to women entrepreneurs, new actions in response to the report include:

  • Employee education and communication surrounding how female entrepreneurs approach risk decisions, including staff webinars, training videos and programs focusing on how to help entrepreneurs at every stage of their business.
  • Continue to seek out key sponsorships that focus on mentorship of entrepreneurs like Women's President Organization, Grow Your Biz and SheEO.
  • Identify female entrepreneur specialists at the branch level in key markets to emphasize BMO's established customer relationship management approach, which the study highlights is particularly important to women entrepreneurs.
  • Product development that specifically targets female entrepreneurs and is in line with key findings, including the BMO Women in Leadership Fund mutual fund.

"This report is only the beginning of how we are taking measures to truly be the 'bank for women'," said Brown. "By sponsoring this study, we have gained greater insight to execute programs in ways that will be most meaningful to female entrepreneurs. We are committed to ensuring women business owners feel at home at BMO and look forward to enhancing the way in which we serve their needs."

To view the full report, please click here:

Join the conversation and get additional timely updates, related articles and insights by following @BMO and @BMOmedia on Twitter, using the hashtag #BMOforWomen.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of $699 billion as of January 31, 2016, and close to 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

About Carleton University

Located in the nation's capital, Carleton University is a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change. Its internationally recognized faculty, staff and researchers provide more than 28,000 full- and part-time students from every province and more than 100 countries around the world with academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study. As an innovative institution Carleton is uniquely committed to developing solutions to real-world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding daily.

About The Beacon Agency:

The Beacon Agency is a strategic consulting firm that advises clients in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. They have a special focus on working with innovative brands to make the good they do count. Headquartered in Ottawa, it is led by award-winning entrepreneur Janice McDonald @janicemcd

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Michelle Agnelo, Toronto

Carleton University:
Steven Reid, Ottawa

The Beacon Agency:
Janice McDonald, Ottawa