The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) and the Bay Mills Investment Group today launched the Black Presidents Club, which the two described as a “first of its kind in the investment community.”
According to a release, plans call for a group of business leaders to be charged with investing in, guiding and championing young Black entrepreneurs and creating the next generation of Black presidents, CEOs and senior leaders.
The goal of the partnership, they said, is to “mobilize early-stage capital for Black-led businesses and help raise up the next generation of great Canadian success stories.
“Leveraging the networks and expertise of both organizations, this new group will work to address the inequities faced by Black entrepreneurs by providing them with crucial resources to grow their businesses in communities in southern Ontario and across Canada.”
Recent findings have revealed that Black-owned start-ups in Canada receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. Without this support, the release stated, many early-stage companies will continue to face barriers to growth and their potential economic and social impact will go unseen.
A recent study commissioned by the African Canadian Senate Group and Senator Colin Deacon found that Black entrepreneurs face significant barriers to success. 76% of survey respondents reported that their race makes it harder to succeed as an entrepreneur and access to capital was reported as the number one challenge by a large margin.
“The disproportionate effects of this pandemic on Black communities can’t be ignored,” said Bay Mills Investment Group CEO Sheldon James. “As we look towards economic recovery, now is the time for business leaders and investors to make a significant effort to support Black entrepreneurs. The actions we take today can have an incredible impact for generations to come.”
Early-stage investors, the two organizations said, “provide much more than just capital, often mentoring entrepreneurs and providing access to their own professional networks to drive the business forward. Without access to these supports at the crucial early stages of development, many businesses will fail to grow.”
Claudio Rojas, the CEO of NACO, said the partnership will “mobilize early-stage capital for Black-led businesses and help raise up the next generation of great Canadian success stories.
“Entrepreneurship drives economic development by introducing new innovations and creating jobs and wealth in local communities. Funding Black entrepreneurs is a powerful way to drive widespread change and create inclusive prosperity.”
For more information, please visit www.blackpresidents.ca.
Pictured in the accompanying photograph are Sheldon James (right) and Claudio Rojas.