Femmessor has been engaging itself with women entrepreneurs for more than 20 years

Femmessor was created in 1995 to facilitate women entrepreneurs' access to financing and consulting services. Since 1997, the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) has supported this local initiative, which has enabled the creation of 17 offices across Quebec.

Femmessor was founded in 1995 from an initiative led by socio-economic stakeholders from the Côte-Nord region. In 1997, the MEI started supporting this initiative by creating a working group of women from the business community. The Quebec government wanted to put in place the necessary means to support the start-up, consolidation, and growth of women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). From 2001 to 2013, Femmessor was gradually rolled out across Quebec's 17 regions.

Over the years, the directors and presidents of the various Femmessor organizations have been striving to increase the awareness of the regional entities. They want to support more entrepreneurs across Quebec with these organizations’ financing and support services. Originally known as Organismes régionaux de soutien à l’entrepreneuriat féminin (ORSEF), in 2010, the regional organizations choose to unite under a common brand identity, named Femmessor. In 2011, the Femmessor network was created with the goal of developing the notoriety of the regional organizations, establishing partnerships with key stakeholders in the financial and business sector, and promoting best practices in corporate governance.

In 2015, the 17 regional organizations were merged to form one: Femmessor Quebec. The year 2016 marked the complete reorganization of the company. The 17 Femmessor offices are now administered by a single board of directors. Operations are carried out by a permanent team working in all regions of Quebec.



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.



to 2014

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.