Futurpreneur Canada on Wednesday announced a new funding collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to deliver the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, an initiative that supports “aspiring, young Black entrepreneurs launching successful, new businesses in communities across Canada.”
The program, it said, is designed to “foster greater equity and diversity among Canada’s entrepreneurs, with enhancements that will help address the systemic barriers to capital and other support that some aspiring young Black entrepreneurs face.”
Futurpreneur CEO Karen Greve Young said the organization is committed to “fostering the success of diverse, young entrepreneurs to drive inclusive economic prosperity nationwide. This new collaboration with RBC is an important step in advancing our Diversity & Inclusion commitments.
“We recognize that young Black entrepreneurs disproportionally face barriers to success that have nothing to do with the potential of their business idea, notably access to financing and mentorship.”
The program will provide young, Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 across Canada with a $5,000–$60,000 in startup loan financing (up to $40,000 of which will be funded by RBC and up to $20,000 loaned by BDC).
In addition, individuals will receive “two years of mentorship, opportunities to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and community organizations at a range of entrepreneurship events, and a variety of relevant tools and resources.”
Participants who are keen to scale their businesses even further will also be eligible for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing funded by RBC, based on the first two years of successful business performance, a release stated.
“The financial services industry plays an important role in enabling economic recovery and prosperity, and small businesses are the engine of that growth,” said Neil McLaughlin, group head, personal and commercial banking at RBC.
“By providing access to capital, backed by dedicated advice and business services, the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will help Black entrepreneurs finance, launch and manage their business ideas. Working alongside Futurpreneur, we believe this program is an important first step to making Black-owned businesses a meaningful part of Canada’s economic growth and future prosperity.”
Meanwhile, Michael Denham, president and CEO of BDC, said “we know one of the biggest challenges facing Black entrepreneurs is access to capital to grow their businesses, adding that “we are here to listen, learn and act to help them reach their full potential.”