Pitch competition to spotlight cultural and economic contributions of Black women entrepreneurs 

News release

In this collage, several Black women entrepreneurs are pictured networking.

Government of Canada supports increased visibility and customer reach for new business owners

August 2, 2022 · Halifax, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Black women entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Atlantic Canadian economy, despite facing systemic racism and obstacles in starting and growing their businesses. Reducing these barriers fosters a more inclusive and collaborative economy, leading to the innovations and technologies that improve our daily lives and drive our country forward.

Today, the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, announced a non-repayable contribution of $52,920 to the Canadian Blk Women in Excellence Society, an organization that educates, mentors and empowers women through their ownership journeys. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This investment will support the preparation and delivery of a pitch competition for Black women entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia who have owned their businesses for five years or less.

Let’s Pitch It: Building Success for Black Women Entrepreneurs will offer participants expert feedback and coaching and provide visibility for their businesses. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with mentors and investors and learn about resources, potential funding sources and prospective customers. The winner of the pitch will receive a prize of cash and support services to help them grow their enterprise.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to reduce barriers and provide opportunities for women to fully participate in a more inclusive economy. 


“Supporting Black women-led businesses and entrepreneurs is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Providing women new to the business sector access to mentoring and networking can help them showcase their products and services to wider audiences while increasing their chances of success. This project highlights our commitment to working towards creating a more diverse, inclusive and resilient economy in Atlantic Canada.”
- The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“This is a homegrown success story, and I am thrilled our government is supporting the Canadian Blk Women in Excellence Society and its founder and President, Tia Upshaw, and her efforts to hold a pitch competition. As the owner of four businesses, she knows what it takes for Black women entrepreneurs to succeed, and she is willing to share that knowledge freely to give others the same opportunity. Her passion and dedication are tireless, and I wish this venture nothing but success. I look forward to the new and wonderful ideas that will come out of the pitch competition, which will further strengthen our communities’ economic vitality.”
 - The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West 

“We are in a position as Black women to become independent, educated, self-sustainable business owners and the best way to celebrate is to pitch your business!! It's a beautiful day to be a Black woman.”
- Tia Upshaw, Founder and President, Canadian Blk Women in Excellence 

Quick facts

  • Established in September 2020, Blk Women in Excellence is a not-for-profit organization that supports the education and empowerment of Black Women in Nova Scotia to be self-employed in sustainable businesses.

  • The Let’s Pitch It: Building Success for Black Women Entrepreneurs competition is scheduled for September 10. Twenty Black women entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges.

  • Various event sponsors and investors are also providing $14,000, which will go toward cash and sponsorship prizes for the winner and runner-up of the competition. 

  • Funding for this project is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

Associated links


Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Lauren Sinclair
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Tia Upshaw
Founder and President
Canadian Blk Women in Excellence

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