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.