Project under study | Products could be labeled “women’s business”

(Montreal) Discussions are underway between the Caquiste government and the Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec (RFAQ) to assess the implementation of identification to identify the products and services of Quebec companies majority-owned by women.

Posted yesterday at 10:21 a.m.

Frederic Lacroix-Couture
The Canadian Press

Somewhat in the same vein as the “Aliments du Québec” brands, the RFAQ wishes to create a label bearing the words “women’s business product”. It would make it possible to offer better visibility to this under-represented group in entrepreneurship, both with consumers and large companies, mentions the president and general manager of the RFAQ, Ruth Vachon.

A “super interesting” project for companies run by women, often with fewer than five employees, says Mme Vachon in interview.

“These companies need help to be able to penetrate new markets. Bringing in labeling that would allow them to identify themselves much more easily would make their lives much easier,” she says.

It is estimated that women-owned companies represent around 1% of the value of contracts in the supply chains of large companies.

In the interest of responsible purchasing, the latter increasingly want to encourage suppliers from under-represented groups, including women. But their main challenge is finding these companies, M Vachon.

A “boost” for development

Luis Cisneros, professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at HEC Montréal, is in favor of this seal project, which he says is easy to implement to support women in business.

He sees a growing number of women entrepreneurs, but they still face more obstacles than men.

“Entrepreneurship for men and women is a kind of staircase. You have to climb different steps. Just that for women, the steps are slippery. To prevent them from slipping, there are ramps (e.g. support)”, illustrates the director and co-founder of La base entrepreneuriale.

An identification could thus serve as a “ramp” to give a “boost” to the development of a female enterprise, argues Mr. Cisneros.

This initiative emerges at a “good time”, in his opinion, since the business community is more favorable to inclusion, equity and diversity.

Female identification could also end up on store shelves. “The more we are able to identify the origin of the products, the more we help the consumer in his choices” according to his values, indicates Vachon.

Consumers now act as social actors and pay more attention to what they buy based on causes or principles, underlines Mr. Cisneros.

An identifying logo is “an important tool for consumer decision-making,” he says. Nevertheless, the quality of a service or a product remains an essential condition for the success of a company, adds the expert.

Talks with the government

Following the major “Cap vers la Réussite” conference, where François Legault was questioned about his interest in such identification, discussions began between the government and the RFAQ.

Mr. Legault was open to studying this avenue, during the RFAQ event held in June in Montreal.

The Prime Minister’s office confirms the holding of discussions on this file, which are also held with the team of the Minister for the Economy, Lucie Lecours.

“It is far too early to set a deadline. For the moment, we are still evaluating the implementation of such identification, “said Mr. Legault’s office by email.

The RFAQ ensures that the identification process could be set up at low cost and without bureaucratic heaviness.

The organization already has a database of women-owned businesses in Quebec, set up in conjunction with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. He also has experience in the field of certification with approval for companies whose share capital held by one or more women varies from 25% to 50%.

This dispatch was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta Exchanges and The Canadian Press for the news.