Earlier this year in September, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $221 million towards the Black Entrepreneurship Fund (BEP) as part of the country’s recently developed Anti-Racism Strategy. Working together with financial institutions and Black-led business organizations, the government aims to support Black Canadian business entrepreneurs in successful growth and innovation.
Through the BEP National Ecosystem Fund, eligible black-led business organizations can access up to $3 million for regional projects, or up to $5 million for national projects, to help support Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs.
As part of the recent updates to the program, applications are now open for the National Ecosystem Fund, which offers financial support for Black-led organizations that directly support the development and progress of self-identifying Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs.
The application is a two-step process, and the first deadline for concept project submission is December 21, 2020.
Funding Snapshot: BEP National Ecosystem Fund
The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) National Ecosystem Fund is a collaborative partnership between the Government of Canada, financial institutions, and Black-led business organizations. The program is a four-year financial commitment to support eligible Black-led business organizations across Canada in their strategies and efforts to provide support, mentorship, financial development, and business training for Black entrepreneurs.
“There is no question that Black entrepreneurs are essential to communities across Canada, and with the new Black Entrepreneurship Program, we are laying the foundation for meaningful change, breaking down barriers, and ensuring the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs.”
– Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
- Up to $3 million for Regional / Multi-regional Projects
- Up to $5 million for National Projects
- Not-for-profit, Black-led organizations defined as those which demonstrate the following criteria:
- leadership positions (Directors, Founders, etc.) are primarily occupied by people who self-identify as Black (minimum two-thirds of positions);
- governance structure (volunteer committee, advisory board, eldership circle, etc.) is primarily composed of people who self-identify as Black (minimum two-thirds of positions); and
- mandate, activities, and outcomes are focused on supporting members of Black communities.
To address a gap and/or build capacity in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black Canadians, project activities should include one or more of the following:
- Networking, matchmaking, and mentorship opportunities;
- Incubator and accelerator programs;
- Business advisory services to help entrepreneurs develop business plans, access capital, etc.;
- Efforts to scale up programs that support Black entrepreneurs across regions and on a national basis; and
- Other activities that will support the objectives of the Ecosystem Fund (such as financial skills – credit, business, loan management, digital literacy, etc.)
- Incremental Operating Costs (management fees, working capital, translation costs)
- Consulting, Subcontracting, and Specialized Services (professional, advisory & technical services, R&D)
- Advisory Expenses:
- planning, counselling advisory services, coaching, mentoring, or networking events
- workshops or conference fees
- fees associated with participation in business training
- Marketing, Production, and Management Tools
- Equipment & Materials
- Two-Stage Application Process:
- First Deadline for Concept Paper: December 21, 2020
- Second Full Application Deadline: TBD
If you believe your organization meets the eligibility criteria listed above, please contact the Mentor Works team and we can assist you in confirming your eligibility for the BEP National Ecosystem Fund. Likewise, if you know a business in your network that you believe could be interested in applying, please share this information with them.
Government Funding for Canadian Entrepreneurs
There are several other government funding programs that offer support for the growth and innovation of Canadian entrepreneurs. If you’re a business owner looking for financial support, you may be interested in Futurpreneur Canada’s $20.1 million investment in support of youth entrepreneurs, or FedDev Ontario funding for women entrepreneurs in tech.
You may also gain insight from our Startup Resources that help early stage businesses with building foundation plans for growth. To stay informed about all types of funding programs, news, and updates, don’t forget to sign up for our free Weekly Funding E-Newsletter.