Minister Ng announces partners to establish Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub
December 13, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic racism and obstacles to 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 through its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program—an investment of over $400 million to support the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced that Carleton University and Dream Legacy Foundation have been chosen to establish the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, the third pillar in the Black Entrepreneurship Program. Minister Ng made the announcement at Carleton University and was joined by Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Treasury Board and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, and Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre.
Once operational, the Knowledge Hub, created through a $5 million investment from the government, will conduct research and collect data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and identify barriers to success as well as opportunities to help Black entrepreneurs grow their business.
The Hub will be an important component of Carleton University’s recently formed Innovation Hub, an incubator and accelerator that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship and contributes to the university’s equity, diversity and inclusion commitment. Dream Legacy Foundation is a Black-led not-for-profit philanthropic organization based in Toronto that focuses on diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on the Black community and other under-represented groups. Its vision is to ensure an inclusive market economy in which systemic barriers are eradicated and the contributions of under-represented groups are amplified and valued.
In order to ensure a pan-Canadian reach, Carleton University and Dream Legacy Foundation will create regional hubs across the country. Each hub will be led by a recognized post-secondary institution and will work collaboratively with community organizations to co-develop research on Black entrepreneurship, including a mapping of the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“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, many of which have been greatly increased by the pandemic. Our government’s investment to establish the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub will lead to a better understanding of the barriers Black entrepreneurs face and help identify opportunities for growth. This is another important step toward a more inclusive, more just and more prosperous Canada now and for future generations.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“We are excited about a partnership that unites the public sector, academia and the non-profit sector to solve one of the world's greatest challenges through entrepreneurship. Black Canadians have long been waiting to be included in initiatives that bolster start-up culture within our community, and Dream Legacy Foundation is grateful to partner with ISED and Carleton University to fill the data gaps that will enable and propel Black entrepreneurs in Canada today and for generations to come.”
– Pako Tshiamala, Director of Communications, Dream Legacy Foundation
“Carleton University is pleased to partner with Dream Legacy Foundation in engaging and mobilizing an extensive network of Black entrepreneurs, non-profits, community organizations and academic institutions in the co-generation of culturally relevant research and in capacity building that will contribute to the socioeconomic health and well-being of all Canadians. This exciting initiative aligns closely with Carleton’s values of inclusion, collaboration, community and purpose. Our sincere thanks to Minister Ng and to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for your partnership and your commitment to breaking down the barriers to inclusion for Black entrepreneurs across Canada.”
– Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University
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, including operational costs, is broken down as follows:
- up to $104.7 million for the National Ecosystem Fund, including $51.7 million from Budget 2021
- up to $291 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs
- 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.
Following a commitment in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada has also launched a procurement pilot program to open bidding opportunities for Black owned/operated businesses to support opportunity and economic growth for Black Canadians.
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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