Government of Canada invests in Black entrepreneurship in Alberta
Two Alberta Black-led organizations to receive $5.4 million in federal funding through the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund supporting over 300 businesses and providing training for 100 Black entrepreneurs
February 16, 2022 – Edmonton, Alberta – Prairies Economic Development Canada
Black entrepreneurs in Alberta and across Canada make important contributions to the economy and their communities. Yet, they continue to face systemic racism and obstacles in starting and growing their businesses.
Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, met with two Black-led organizations to hear from them about their vision to support entrepreneurship and meet the needs of Black business owners across Western Canada and announced a federal investment of $5.4 million to help them turn that vision into a reality.
A healthy economy is one where everyone has equal opportunity to participate and thrive and where no one is left behind. The Government of Canada is continuing to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Canada’s Black entrepreneurs and business owners. The Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund supports not-for-profit Black-led organizations to develop new services or expand those they already offer. These organizations provide mentorship, networking opportunities, financial planning and training for entrepreneurs, enabling businesses to grow and create quality jobs.
The two organizations receiving funding are:
- Canadian Imperial Advantage – Edmonton, Alberta – is receiving $2.8 million to establish and deliver the Black Business Advancement Program. This program will support entrepreneurship and meet the needs of Black entrepreneurs and business owners in central and northern Alberta. The program will provide expertise and knowledge to Black business owners to help them find and create business opportunities, access financing, and strengthen their businesses.
- BIPOC Foundation – Lethbridge, Alberta – is receiving $2.6 million to establish a business accelerator program for Black entrepreneurs in Western Canada. The accelerator will be based in Southern Alberta and will use digital tools to provide programming across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This initiative will provide early-stage entrepreneurs with foundational business and growth training. It will also connect Black business owners and entrepreneurs with investors.
These investments are expected to help support over 300 businesses to start and grow across Western Canada, as well as provide training for 100 Black entrepreneurs across Alberta.
“In a healthy economy, everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and thrive. The additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic meant more barriers for businesses – particularly those who face barriers already. Our government’s strategic investments through the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund will support Black-led organizations, and Black entrepreneurs and business owners create quality jobs and succeed. It’s a smart investment in our economy, in our communities and in our people that ensures no one is left behind.”
- The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
“Black business communities have faced significant barriers in accessing traditional avenues for growth and support. Today’s investments will help enable our vibrant communities, both big and small, to contribute to a Canadian economy that is more inclusive, more just and more prosperous – both now and for future generations.”
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“Our Government’s investment in Alberta-based Black-led organizations is the right thing to do to ensure our economy works for all Canadians. This investment in Black entrepreneurs in the West will help build the foundation for lasting, meaningful change.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
“Our government is investing in the long-term sustainability of Black-owned businesses in the West. These investments will help level the playing field and enable black businesses to grow, compete and thrive. I look forward to seeing lasting results from this program across Alberta and Western Canada.”
- George Chahal, Member of Parliament, Calgary-Skyview
“Access to capital is a key factor for most businesses, especially SMEs, so we have made it our core offering to support the business network with credit advisory services. There are opportunities out there, change the way you think about business, think big and let’s do it!”
- Popoola Akande, President, Canadian Imperial Advantage
“At BIPOC Foundation, our mandate and mission is to be the catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Black and racialized communities in Western Canada. Our purpose is to advance racial equality, gender equality and empowerment while building awareness to eliminate anti-blackness and Indigenous invisibility. Our Black Founders Hub accelerator program will provide underserved businesses, Black tech startups and scale-ups with training, mentorship, educational resources, business opportunities, cooperation and representation –– closing the economic ecosystem involvement gap evidenced by the low number of Black-led businesses in the region.”
- Clement Esene, Executive Director, BIPOC Foundation
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 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.
With PrairiesCan, Canada’s regional development agencies are delivering the National Ecosystem Fund in regions across the country and working with selected partner organizations to assist implementing their services.
The West has demonstrated the fastest growth in Canada’s Black population, having nearly tripled in size since 1996.
February is Black History Month, a time to learn more the many important contributions that Black Canadians and their communities on the Prairies and elsewhere have made to the history and continued growth of this country.
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
Prairies Economic Development Canada
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