Putting in place the Femmessor approach
Following a study conducted by the Quebec government and the creation of a working group that brought together many representatives of the business community, it was clear that the female clientele had specific needs in terms of support, training, networking, and financing. It was shown that the needs of women entrepreneurs were not met by the resources available in the market. The need to put in place a distinctive approach to better support Quebec women business leaders was imminent.
As a result, six regional organizations dedicated to the development and promotion of women's entrepreneurship were created as part of the economic development strategy of resource regions. The establishment of these organizations was made possible thanks to the investment and support of Filaction, a division of Fondaction CSN. This involvement made it possible to grant loans to women entrepreneurs who held the majority of shares in their businesses.
Five new Femmessor organizations are created
In 2007, new Femmessor organizations started to emerge in central regions. This initiative was made possible thanks to the Pour que l’égalité de droit devienne une égalité de fait policy and the Plan d’action pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes of the Secrétariat à la Condition féminine (SCF).
The SCF recognized the importance of Femmessor’s approach in its 2007-2011 action plan.
Creation of the Femmessor network
In 2011, directors and presidents of regional organizations came together to establish strategies to reach more women entrepreneurs in Quebec. They wanted to raise the profile of organizations, establish partnerships with stakeholders in the financial and business sectors, and promote best practices in governance. Their findings lead to the creation of the Femmessor network, in which the eleven regional organizations were grouped under the same brand identity.
Six new regional organizations are founded
Over the 2011 to 2014 period, six new Femmessor organizations were created, all aimed at providing support to women entrepreneurs, wherever they were located in Quebec. Femmessor communicated its commitment to support and accompany them to success. These organizations were funded under the Stratégie québécoise de l’entrepreneuriat.
A new partnership is concluded
In 2014, the Femmessor network entered into a private partnership with Capital Croissance PME, which is supported by Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins and the CDPQ. This partnership provided $5 million to the initial capitalization of $1.15 million held by the network. The goal was to support small and growing, women-owned businesses by way of share capital.
Merging of Femmessor organizations
In 2015, the business model of the Femmessor approach was modified so as to optimize the resources available within the 17 regional organizations. All entities were merged into a single organization, named Femmessor Quebec.
Creation of a FQ fund for women entrepreneurs
Following the merger of the 17 regional organizations, financial partners joined the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) to create the Fonds pour les femmes entrepreneures FQ. Thanks to the financial involvement of Fondaction, Investissement Quebec and Femmessor, since 2016, the organization has a fund totaling $ 19 million dollars to support Quebec women-owned businesses.
Thanks to partnerships with the Fonds pour les femmes entrepreneures FQ and Capital Croissance PME (CCPME), via conventional loans and share capital, Femmessor facilitates access to nearly $25 million dollars of funds to support companies with at least one woman in a strategic position and owning at least 25% of the shares.