The federal government this week announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
“While we have made progress in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs and address anti-Black racism.”
Designed to help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the program will include:
- Up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
- Up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The federal government is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.
- Up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “the pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians and has underscored the need to restart our economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed.
“That is why today – thanks in part to the leadership, advocacy, and expertise of Black business owners and Black-led organizations – we are announcing Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
“As we move forward, this program will help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”
Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, said “for too long, Black entrepreneurs and business owners have faced systemic barriers to their success, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on them.
“Our government is taking real action to support Black entrepreneurs recovering from COVID-19, and empower them to start up, innovate, grow, and succeed. We will continue to do whatever it takes to support all small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country.”
More details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, are expected to be released in the coming weeks.