Minister Ng provides update on Black Entrepreneurship Program

News release

February 25, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working to address these long-standing, systemic barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, alongside the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, hosted a virtual roundtable discussion and provided an update on the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s third pillar, the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.

The ministers were joined by Rachel Bendayan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade and Member of Parliament for Outremont; Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government, Member of Parliament for Hull–Aylmer and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus; Marci Ien, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre; Emmanuel Dubourg, Member of Parliament for Bourassa, and leaders from Black-led business organizations from across Canada.

As part of the update, Minister Ng highlighted that the Loan Fund will begin accepting applications in May and announced that the government’s investment in the Loan Fund will be administered by the Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.), a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization. The founding organizations of F.A.C.E. co-designed the Loan Fund in partnership with the government and participating financial institutions.

The F.A.C.E. founders, who collectively have more than 35 years of experience serving Black Canadian business communities, will continue working on the delivery of the Loan Fund along with participating financial institutions, to ensure that it meets the needs of Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast. F.A.C.E. is a coalition that consists of several prominent Black business and community organizations:

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund seeks to address the specific systemic barriers Black business owners have too often faced when seeking financing. It will also demonstrate the government’s commitment to addressing these barriers with long-term solutions by co-developing programs to better support Black entrepreneurs on their road to success.

Quotes

“We are pleased to work with F.A.C.E. on the delivery of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. This is another important step in our continuing work to address systemic racism against Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Loan Fund will be instrumental in helping Black business owners and entrepreneurs get the financial support they need so they can start up, scale up and grow across Canada and across the world.”
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“As we build back even better and consciously aim to be more inclusive, we must continue combatting all forms of systemic racism and discrimination, including within our institutions. Black businesses have long struggled with a lack of financing in addition to a variety of other impediments. The government is taking another step toward economic equity for Black business owners and entrepreneurs in accessing funding, capital and other necessary supports.”
- The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

“This pandemic continues to shine a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians. That’s why the government is providing additional support for Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs across the country who make invaluable contributions every day to our communities, our economy and our country. We know there is more work to do, and we are committed to moving forward together and making sure that every Canadian has an equal and fair chance to succeed.”
- The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“We are pleased to work with the Government of Canada to address the disparities and inequalities in accessing capital that Black business owners and entrepreneurs have historically encountered when starting or advancing their companies, and that are now exasperated due to the pandemic. The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is an essential support that has the ability to provide economic opportunities for Black business owners and improve the sustainability of our communities.”
- Tiffany Callendar, CEO, Federation of African Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E)

“The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is an important milestone in opening up capital, innovation and job creation to Black entrepreneurs and business owners.  This provides an opportunity to not only level the playing field but also support Black-led small and medium‑sized enterprises in advancing here at home and abroad. We are very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada and some of Canada’s leading financial institutions in delivering the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.”
- Louis-Edgar Jean-François, Chair and Treasurer, Federation of African Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.)

Quick facts

  • 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 help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital and provide them with mentorship, financial planning services and business training.
    • 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 a group of  Canadian financial institutions including Royal Bank of Canada, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, TD, Vancity and Alterna Savings, that have pledged $128 million in additional lending support.
    • up to $6.5 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which will conduct qualitative and quantitative research and 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.
      • Please note that calls for concepts for both the National Ecosystem Fund and the Knowledge Hub are now closed and applications are currently under review.
    • The amounts above include costs associated with operating the funds.
  • For businesses looking for short-term supports to meet the challenges of COVID-19, please refer to information on emergency response business supports including the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account. Please visit canada.ca/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information on Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Contacts

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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