Government Funding

Black Entrepreneurship Program: Government of Canada Invests $93M

Black business owners

Last year, Canada created and launched a nationwide Anti-Racism Strategy through federal guidance, community empowerment solutions, and awareness campaigns to take critical action in reducing and preventing racial discrimination. Last week, the Government of Canada furthered their approach by announcing investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with financial institutions across the country, including up to $93 million in direct government funding, to implement Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.

“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.”
– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs to rebuild their economic status following impacts caused by the global pandemic.

The BEP grants and loans will be distributed via selected Black-led business groups supported by the recently revealed National Ecosystem Fund. The full details on eligibility criteria have been promised to be released in the coming weeks.

Support for Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Canadian Black business owners and Black-led organizations will work closely with government officials and financial institution leaders to make sure that funding from the BEP will prioritize the needs of Black Canadians.

“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. With Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program, our government is taking real action to support Black entrepreneurs recovering from COVID-19, and empower them to start up, innovate, grow, and succeed.”
– Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

In addition, Statistics Canada will monitor data collection on Black-led businesses and organizations to better understand the continuous barriers that Black entrepreneurs face across Canada. The overall goal is to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy with enhanced local support systems for all Black Canadians.

About the Black Entrepreneurship Program

Unquestionably, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make valuable contributions to economic growth and innovation all across the country, but many of them have gotten to where they are now having to face challenges that white people simply do not and have never had. In light of these troubling realizations, the government has decided to increase continued and growing success for Black Canadians through the new BEP initiative.

The $93 million government funding for the BEP is set to be allocated as such:

  • $53 million: To employ a new National Ecosystem Fund that supports Black-led business organizations across Canada in order to help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding for mentorship, financial services, and training.
  • $33.3 million: To deliver loans of up to $250,000 for Black entrepreneurs.
  • $6.5 million: To unveil a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the status of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth.
  • Up to $128 million in additional support from financial co-investments, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings.

“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects this. This program was created through collaboration with Black-led organizations, because Black Canadians know what their communities need best. This is another step towards removing the systemic barriers that exist within our society to create a truly inclusive Canada.”
– Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Government Funding for COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Similar to the BEP, the Government of Canada has introduced many funding programs to support Canadian business owners and employees during the ongoing pandemic, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA).

Learn more about government funding opportunities for small businesses by attending one of our upcoming webinars, and stay up to date with all updates and new programs by subscribing to our Weekly Funding Newsletter.

Canadian Government Funding Events for Small Business

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14 Comments

  1. Could you please provide the eligibility criteria as well as the application process to follow in order to obtain the Black Entrepreneurship loan announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 9, 2020.

    This is the loan between $ 25,000 – $ 250,000 the black business owners can receive from the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.

  2. If someone can contact me with more information and details I would appreciate it. I am a small business owner and Interm CEO of The Nova Scotia Black Wallstreet.
    I have Black Owned Businesses trying to access program and business development services.

      1. Hi Chris. There appears to be some limitation in the form for the funding newsletter – I have an outlook address and it won’t accept it. Is there another way to sign up:?

        1. Hi Rachael – That’s right, as the newsletter is catered to established Canadian businesses with 15+ employees, a website, and an email domain since these are common eligibility factors in the government funding initiatives we support. We welcome you to visit our blog regularly, follow us on social media, and/or add us to your RSS reader for the latest funding news. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. To: Chris CASEMORE

    Greetings from Montreal with a big dash of holiday cheer!

    We are a nascent, fully black-owned Tech-tilted enterprise with a very ambitious initiative, focused on Health Care/Wellness/Disease Avoidance. From the thread, we are aware that this new program has yet to be fleshed out; accordingly, we look forward to receiving your feedback, when your outfit gets wind of the relevant details.

    Meanwhile, our signup details below provide our contact information. We now look forward to working with your Team, for mutual benefit, going forward.

    Best,
    Pelham Moore,
    Founder,
    TRAKPOP Inc.

    1. Hi Pelham – Thanks for your message. We’re interested in learning more about your organization and mission. Can you please let us a bit more about what you’re interested in using BEP for by filling out a contact form? We can then explore this and other funding opportunities in more depth together.

  4. Will this funding be available to startups? I will am interested in knowing because I just started up a new business.

  5. Hi Chris,

    Are applications opened yet for the National Ecosystem Fund?
    This seems to be taking forever to be opened

    Thanks
    Terence Tante

    1. Hi Terence – As it turns out, the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund closed on December 21, 2020. There doesn’t seem to be future intake periods planned for this program, as of the time I’m posting this comment, however we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter, as we’ll be sharing any relevant updates on this program as they’re released and sharing them through our newsletter.

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