I2 Action Strategy Final Report

Inclusive innovation (i2) seeks to strengthen the business environment and innovation capabilities of enterprises, including enterprises owned by women, newcomers, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples and other diverse entrepreneurs.
To inform i2 policies and practice, this report highlights the lessons learned of a comprehensive gender-based assessment of Ontario small business, innovation and social enterprise organizations. Activities included secondary analyses of Statistics Canada data, online survey of 117 mainstream and women-focused intermediaries, 25 onsite interviews with leaders of Ontario business support organizations, and six regional workshops. A capstone conference was held at the Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership at the University of Ottawa in June 2019.

Report recommendations:

1. Do not assume that “all are welcome.”

2. Recruit, engage, track and report impact on under-represented groups of entrepreneurs, including social and economic outcomes.

3. Employ an intersectional lens in constructing small business programs and services.

4. Emphasize scale-up within programs and services, rather than seeking to increase the number of self-employed women or women-owned start-ups.

5. Expand mandates of innovation centres to include product, process, organizational, and market innovations.

6. Establish funding to support expert advice on diversity assessments of organizations, EDI strategies, and gender-related barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation.

7. Encourage collaboration among mainstream and women-focused organizations, such as co-development and delivery of entrepreneurship education and training.

8. Build equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) criteria into government funding ‘requests for proposals.’ Hold leaders accountable to the organization’s EDI strategy.

9. Better co-ordinate funding to address program duplication and fragmentation of services. Streamline oversight and reporting, particularly with respect to women-focused programs.

10. Recognize inclusive innovation (i2) requires change at the individual, program, organizational, and broader societal level.

Click here to read the full report