Minister Valdez marks Black History Month by announcing additional support for Black entrepreneurs

News release

February 8, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario

Today, the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, marked Black History Month by announcing that the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH) is developing a new ecosystem mapping tool designed to help Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses in Canada. This tool will provide data and insight to help ensure Black entrepreneurs have the support they need to start up and scale up their businesses and contribute to an economy that works for everyone.

BEKH’s new ecosystem mapping tool will enable Black-owned businesses to tap into a network of resources, support and opportunities, as well as boost their profile among customers and investors, so they can grow and succeed. In addition, the mapping tool will encourage partnerships between businesses and connect them to mentoring and support services.

The new tool will also provide data that can be used to inform future programs and policy on how to best support Black-owned businesses across Canada. The ecosystem mapping tool is expected to be fully operational early next year.

In addition, Minister Valdez highlighted the success achieved by Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) since its launch in 2021. The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund has approved almost $50 million in loans to Black-owned businesses. The National Ecosystem Fund, through its 43 Black-led delivery organizations, has helped almost 9,000 Black entrepreneurs get mentorship, business training and financial planning advice so they can grow their businesses.

BEP is part of a whole-of-government approach to address centuries-old systemic barriers that Black entrepreneurs have faced in growing their businesses and accessing supports. Through tools like the one announced today, BEP will ensure Black-owned businesses can grow and succeed in the months and years to come.


“Building an inclusive economy means building a stronger economy. The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub’s ecosystem map will help Black-owned businesses improve their visibility, foster greater collaboration and access new data to grow and succeed. This is great news for Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country and is part of our government’s commitment to working with the community to ensure the playing field is level for all businesses across Canada. Through programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program, we are making sure Black-owned businesses from coast to coast to coast have the supports they need to succeed.”
– The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business

“I’m pleased that the Government of Canada is providing comprehensive support through the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub’s new ecosystem mapping tool so that Black entrepreneurs have the resources to thrive. This ensures greater participation of small businesses in our economy—in an inclusive and equal way.”
– Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“The infrastructure our government is building, the partnerships it’s nurturing and the work being put into programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub are exemplary collaborative efforts to achieve full equity, diversity and the inclusion of Black entrepreneurs in business.”
– Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West

Quick facts

  • 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. It has three components:

    • The $100 million National Ecosystem Fund, which has funded 43 not-for-profit organizations across the country that are now delivering mentorship, business training and financial planning services to businesses.
    • The $160 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, delivered by the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), provides loans of up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
    • The $5 million Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub conducts qualitative and quantitative research and collects data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada to help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. Carleton University and the Dream Legacy Foundation have partnered to establish the Knowledge Hub.


Nadine Ramadan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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