November 23, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

Every day, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to communities across the country, and their success is essential to Canada’s future economic prosperity.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the opening of applications for the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund and the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s Knowledge Hub.

The National Ecosystem Fund will provide funding to Black-led not-for-profit business organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide support, financial planning services and business training for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations that serve Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses are encouraged to apply through the National Ecosystem Fund web page by December 21, 2020.

The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will gather data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify critical gaps, barriers to success, and opportunities for growth. It will be jointly run by Black-led business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations and educational institutions are encouraged to come together, develop an application, and apply through the Knowledge Hub web page by January 18, 2021.  

More information about the third pillar of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, will be available as soon as possible.

The Government of Canada continues to work closely with Black-led organizations, entrepreneurs, and academics from across Canada to hear their expertise and feedback so that the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians everywhere.

The government will continue to support Black entrepreneurs and create opportunities for Black-owned businesses so that they can innovate, grow, and succeed for years to come.

“There is no question that Black entrepreneurs are essential to communities across Canada. With the new Black Entrepreneurship Program—the first of its kind in Canada—we are laying the foundation for meaningful change, breaking down barriers, and ensuring the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs. This is a testament to the years of hard work and advocacy of Black entrepreneurs and communities across the country. We look forward to working with Black-led business organizations and Canada’s educational institutions on this important new program.”
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“Our government remains committed to diversity and to the inclusion of all Canadians as we continue to grow the economy. The new National Ecosystem Fund, delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies, will help remove systemic barriers faced by Black business owners and entrepreneurs as they tackle the challenges of starting and growing their businesses over the coming years.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

  • The Black Entrepreneurship Program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes advancing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy; creating a $25-million fund for Black-led organizations; developing justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards; and enhancing mental health and community supports for young Black Canadians.

  • For Black-led not-for-profit business organizations interested in applying to either the National Ecosystem Fund or the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, “Black-led” is defined as having at least two-thirds of their leadership, directors or founders who self-identify as Black.

  • For more information on eligibility for the National Ecosystem Fund and the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, please consult the application guides.

  • Canadians may provide feedback on the Black Entrepreneurship Program by contacting ic.bep-pecn.ic@canada.ca.

  • The National Ecosystem Fund will be delivered and administered by Canada’s regional development agencies (RDA). The RDAs will also help organizations develop their proposals and implement their services, ensuring organizations from each region of Canada are represented.

  • The Black Entrepreneurship Program includes:

    • up to $53 million for the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will provide support, financial planning services and business training for Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
    • up to $33.3 million in support through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $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 available up to $128 million in additional lending support.
    • up to $6.5 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which 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.
    • The amounts above include costs associated with operating the funding.
  • As part of the government’s work to better understand the barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs in Canada, Statistics Canada is also working to improve disaggregated data collection on Black entrepreneurship.

Associated links

Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
343-551-0246
youmy.han@international.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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