Although entrepreneurship is alive and well in Canada, statistics show that women-owned businesses are not growing as quickly as those owned by men.
According to Statistics Canada, a 2007 study estimated that just 16 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in the country were majority-owned by females. These firms are also likely to be smaller in terms of the number of employees they have.
"The survey showed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) majority-owned by women were less likely than other SMEs to employ more than 20 employees," reported Industry Canada.
In addition, The Financial Post reports that revenue at male-owned businesses grew 6.7 percent in between 2004 and 2008, compared with 3.9 percent at women-owned businesses.
Why are women-owned businesses less common in Canada? A recent report by TD Economics cites the fact that women tend to choose slower-growing industries such as healthcare and social assistance more often that faster-growing industries, such as construction.
"Women entrepreneurs also have a different set of motivations compared to men in their choice to start a business," the report states.
Additionally, some may be unwilling or unable to put in the long hours often associated with starting a new business, as they are responsible for raising a family and may be working to achieve a good work-life balance.
"Entrepreneurship typically entails putting in long hours to ensure the success of your business, with 40 percent of the self-employed putting in more than 50 hours per week in 2010, compared to only 5 percent of paid employees," wrote TD economists Beata Caranci and Leslie Preston.
The fact that female employees have seen their compensation increase over the past decade may also cause fewer to venture out on their own. The Financial Post reports that data from Statistics Canada shows wages for women aged 25 to 54 rose 13 percent from 2001 to 2011, compared with 5 percent for men.
"Better pay could keep many women from taking the risks of owning a business or a franchise," the news provider reported.
But while the risks associated with a start-up may not be appealing to some women, many are turning to franchising as a way to flex their entrepreneurial muscles with fewer risks.
"You see these passionate, engaged, women entrepreneurs and I'm always amazed at the power of the business represented by that group," John DeHart, co-founder of Nurse Next Door, Inc., which has about 68 percent of its franchises owned by women, told the Financial Post.
"When you find the business that suits who you are and can also suit a family lifestyle, it becomes a perfect fit," franchisee Lucie Shaw told the news source.