DeeBee Organics owner Dionne Laslo-Baker is photographed at her office in Victoria on Monday, August 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

DeeBee Organics owner Dionne Laslo-Baker is photographed at her office in Victoria on Monday, August 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was shocked by the patronizing feedback she says she received from a male banker.

“One of them said not only that they couldn’t fund us, but, why am I bothering to do this?” she said. “I have a very successful husband, who makes a very good salary… Why are you kind of disrupting the peace?’”

She felt defeated.

Her request for funding to scale up B.C.-based DeeBee’s Organics was “quashed without question.” It was one of the first times she realized that women entrepreneurs face bigger barriers than their male counterparts.

And a lack of access to capital is one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs, a new study suggests.

The wage gap between men and women has been long-standing – with women on average making 74 cents for every dollar of annual salary made by men, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data – but research from by PayPal Canada and consulting firm Barraza and Associates suggests that this dynamic also applies to those who own small-and- medium sized businesses as well.

Related: ‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

Related: B.C. MLA calls for equal pay in the workplace

Businesses owned by women generate an average of $68,000 less revenue than men who run similar businesses, representing a gap of 58 per cent, according to the online survey of 1,000 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses between Jan. 26 and Feb. 28.

The findings suggest that the median annual revenue for businesses owned by men across six different categories of firms ranging from manufacturing to services was $118,000, but $50,000 for those owned by women. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

The gender revenue gap is slightly smaller for businesses operating online, at $55,000 or 44 per cent, compared to offline businesses which had a gap of $71,000 or 64 per cent, according to the survey.

One barrier to growth for women-owned businesses is access to capital, the survey suggested. Roughly 53 per cent of women-owned businesses with an e-commerce component said it was “easy” for their company to get business credit to grow their business, falling short of the 67 per cent of men who reported getting loans with ease, the survey found.

Becky Reuber, professor of strategic management at the Rotman Business School at the University of Toronto, cautions it’s difficult compare businesses based on the gender of the owner, as there is some research that suggests that women tend to start businesses in sectors that have lower-growth rates, such as service-based businesses.

For example, there are fewer women engineers and in turn fewer with the background to start high-tech businesses, which often see higher growth, she added.

Still, when you compare the performance of similar businesses owned by men and women, recent studies have shown that there is no difference, said Reuber.

That being said, there is a difference when it comes to seeking capital from investors, she said.

“There is evidence that some stereotypes play up in that. And women may have more difficulty getting high value investment,” she said.

That is also what Laslo-Baker found.

Last year when she wanted to raise capital for DeeBee’s and met with some food industry players, one of which told her they would consider investing if she got a “man in here who could be the CEO and run this company.”

“I thought, ‘What? A man in here? I’ve already taken this product to Canada and parts of the United States. Is that nothing?’” Laslo-Baker said.

Despite these challenges, DeeBees has continued to expand. Its frozen treats are sold at major grocery chains such as Metro and Sobeys, and in every Canadian province and 20 states in the U.S. including California and New York.

The company also has a commercial loan from Bank of Montreal, backed by Export Development Canada, and at DeeBee’s last capital raise, which closed in June 2018, the company’s enterprise valuation was $16 million, she added.

She believes attitudes are slowly changing, with more people expressing that her background as a mother and female entrepreneur is an asset not a drawback, she said.

“As more women succeed, it’s going to pave the way.”

The Liberal government has prioritized gender equality and increased participation in the workforce. Among the many initiatives aimed at this goal as part of its latest budget, Ottawa has allocated $1.4 billion over three years from the Business Development Bank in new financing for female entrepreneurs and $105 million over five years to help the regional development agencies support women-led businesses.

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read