The federal government this week announced a pledge valued at $221 million to the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
Contained in the Fall Economic Update from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, what ended up being a funding pre-cursor occurred in late November when Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international Trade, announced the opening of the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund and the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s Knowledge Hub.
“There is no question that Black entrepreneurs are essential to communities across Canada,” said Ng. “With the new Black Entrepreneurship Program – the first of its kind in Canada –we are laying the foundation for meaningful change, breaking down barriers, and ensuring the long-term success of black entrepreneurs.
“This is a testament to the years of hard work and advocacy of Black entrepreneurs and communities across the country. We look forward to working with Black-led business organizations and with Canada’s educational institutions on this important new program.”
The National Ecosystem Fund will provide funding to Black-led not-for-profit business organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide support, financial planning services and business training for Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
Black-led not-for-profit business organizations that serve Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses are encouraged to apply through the National Ecosystem Fund web page by Dec. 21.
The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will gather data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify critical gaps, barriers to success, and opportunities for growth. It will be jointly run by Black-led business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations and educational institutions are encouraged to come together, develop an application, and apply through the Knowledge Hub web page by Jan.18, 2021.
“The Black Entrepreneurship Program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians,” a government web site states. “This includes advancing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy; creating a $25-million fund for Black-led organizations; developing justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards; and enhancing mental health and community supports for young Black Canadians.
“For Black-led not-for-profit business organizations interested in applying to either the National Ecosystem Fund or the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, “Black-led” is defined as having at least two-thirds of their leadership, directors or founders who self-identify as Black.”