Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, combat barriers to economic success and scale up their businesses.
Today’s historic announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding support for Black Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners was spearheaded by a national collective working together for over a year. The consortium consisted of Montreal based entrepreneurial development groups, Groupe 3737 and Côte-Des-Neiges Black Community Association, the Black Business Initiative from Halifax and the Black Business and Professional Association located in Toronto. The group surveyed Black businesses and heard first hand about their challenges, concerns and what they required to move businesses forward. After compiling and processing the national data, the collective reported their findings to the government which spawned further research and ultimately resulted in this historic announcement today.
Despite the several systemic obstacles Black businesses have faced over time, they still managed to make invaluable contributions across the country and they play an integral role in Canada’s economic prosperity. However Black businesses today are now in dire need of assistance. With the recent shocks to the economy due to COVID-19, the toll on Black businesses has undeniably been detrimental.
This insertion of government support is widely needed and appreciated. The funds announced today will help Black businesses to create new opportunities and enable the Black community to become self sufficient.
The Black business community sincerely thanks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Hon. Mary Ng; Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, government staff and the participating financial institutions who worked on making this initiative a reality.
The Black Entrepreneurship 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. This will help grant 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 Government of Canada 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.
In the Honorable Prime Ministers’ words, “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.”
In addition to the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Government of Canada in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will work to improve disaggregated data collection on Black entrepreneurship in order to better understand the barriers faced by the Black Community and the needs of Black entrepreneurs in Canada.