The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, the third program of the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP), is now open for applicants. With an investment of $291.3 million – $33 million from the Government of Canada, $130 million from BDC, and a $128 million joint commitment from RBC, BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD Bank, and credit unions Vancity and Alterna Savings – the program aims to reduce barriers Black Canadians face in accessing funding, and thus support the success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
“Thanks to support from the Government of Canada and different financial institutions, the true value of Black entrepreneurship is finally being recognized. This is a historic opportunity to become a sustainable part of the Canadian economic fabric, and we know that Black entrepreneurs are up to the task.”
– Tiffany Callender, CEO of Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE)
The BEP’s other two programs, the National Ecosystem Fund and the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, are currently closed for intake. The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is now accepting loan applications from Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a coalition of Black-led organizations dedicated to stimulating economic growth and creating generational wealth for Canadians of African descent.
What is the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund and How Can It Help Black Canadian Business Owners?
The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is an investment partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and several financial institutions that aims to provide support loans of up to $250,000 to Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs.
“When Black Canadians are able to create prosperity by successfully launching businesses, everyone wins.”
– Greg Fergus, Member of parliament and chair of the Canadian Caucus of Black Parliamentarians
Alongside the core BEP loan program, the Government of Canada has also announced that the Alterna Savings and Vancity credit unions will be partnering with FACE on a new pilot microloan program to offer loans between $10,000 and $25,000 to support smaller businesses in becoming economically and socially empowered.
Funding Snapshot: Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund
Amount of Funding
- Up to $250,000 for eligible applicants – It is worth noting that FACE can only provide loans of up to $100,000. Loans above this amount will be risk shared with the Business Development Bank of Canada.
- Through the microloan pilot program, Alterna Savings and Vancity will offer loans between $10,000 and $25,000.
To be eligible for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, an applicant must:
- Self-identify as Black or Black-led (majority ownership of >51% by Black Canadians);
- Be a majority-owned business by a Black Canadian – businesses may include start-ups, existing for-profit small businesses, corporations or sole proprietors, and for-profit social enterprises;
- Have a business plan, business registration and recent financial statements or financial projections for start-ups;
- Be a legal resident of Canada: i.e. Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or conventional refugee (for microloans only), or a legal entity owned and controlled by a Canadian citizen or citizens; and
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age.
Not-for-profit organizations are not eligible for loans.
Applicants may apply for loans to be used for:
- Capital investments – equipment, leasehold improvements, property improvement, office equipment.
- Working capital – inventory, payroll, lease payments, accounts management, rent, overhead costs.
- Short-term receivable financing (i.e. financing to service a contact).
Loans may not be used to finance items such as:
- Goodwill, restructuring conventional business-related debts, dividend payout, shareholder loan repayment or issuance, bonuses, stock buybacks, option issuance, or an increase to shareholder or management committee compensation.
- The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is accepting applications as of May 31, 2021.
- Time for turnaround will depend on the type of applications received and the actions required by FACE and the Business Development Bank of Canada. As a result, the timelines will vary based on individual circumstances.
Canadian Government Funding Options for Entrepreneurs
While the Government of Canada establishes most of their funding programs for incorporated businesses of at least two years with over 15 employees, there are still funding opportunities and resources that can help Canadian entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running.
If you or someone you know is a Canadian entrepreneur or small business owner looking for educational resources about funding options, visit our Canadian Startup Resources Page to gain access to business advice, networking opportunities, a list of startup funding options, and tips on how to build a successful business foundation.