Minister Ng announces first round of successful applicants to the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund
August 13, 2021 – Vancouver, British Columbia
Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic racism and obstacles in starting and growing their businesses. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working to address long-standing barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program—an over $400-million investment to support the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, was joined by Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, Marci Ien, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, Dr. Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, and Sukh Dhaliwal, Member of Parliament for Surrey–Newton, to announce that the first round of organizations have been selected for the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund.
While in Vancouver, Minister Ng announced that more than $2.7 million in Ecosystem funding has been allocated to the Black Business Association of BC to create and deliver a portfolio of business services for Black entrepreneurs, including programs for start-up, scale-up, market expansion and youth businesses. The funding will also enable the association to expand its online learning platform, create an incubator program, and open a physical business centre with skilled professional staff and contractors to support Black entrepreneurs.
The National Ecosystem Fund is an over $100-million program designed to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners across Canada. It provides funding to Black-led not-for-profit organizations to develop new services or expand those already offered, such as mentorship, networking, financial planning and business training for Black entrepreneurs.
To date, 30 projects across the country have been approved—with more to come in the following weeks—totalling an initial investment of more than $58.8 million in Ecosystem organizations.
“Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make significant contributions to the Canadian economy and to the communities around them, but they continue to face systemic barriers. Our government’s investment to support Black entrepreneurs and business owners through the historic Ecosystem Fund is an important step forward towards a more inclusive, more just and more prosperous Canada.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
“Through the National Ecosystem Fund, Black-led not-for-profit organizations will be able to expand existing initiatives or create new ones and provide critical support, services and resources to Black entrepreneurs and businesses across the country. This important investment is another example of our government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, while working to address systemic racism against Black Canadians.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
The Black Entrepreneurship Program is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, post-secondary or other accredited educational institutions, and financial institutions. Program funding includes:
- up to $104.7 million for the National Ecosystem Fund, including $51.7 million from Budget 2021;
- up to $291.3 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs; and
- 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.
Canada’s regional development agencies are delivering the National Ecosystem Fund in regions across the country and working with selected partner organizations to assist them in implementing their services.
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
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