BMO Financial Group partners with Black Opportunity Fund
To create a more inclusive Canadian business environment, BMO Financial Group today announced it has committed $100 million to launch the Business Within Reach: BMO for Black Entrepreneurs lending program. Launching during Black History Month, the program provides business owners with greater access to working capital, educational resources, and professional partnerships to start up, scale up, and grow.
“Every business owner deserves access to the financial support they need for their business to make real financial progress, now and in the future,” said Mike Bonner, Head, Canadian Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Business Within Reach: BMO for Black Entrepreneurs increases access to capital and networks that break down barriers to inclusion. We are proud to be a catalyst for an inclusive recovery from a pandemic that has hit minority-owned businesses particularly hard.”
Through the program, Black business owners and entrepreneurs can receive loans of up to $250,000. These loans can be used for capital investments such as equipment and leasehold improvements, working capital – including inventory, payroll, and lease payments – and short-term receivable financing.
The program aligns with BMO’s Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, which included a commitment to double the bank’s support for small business and women entrepreneurs when launched in 2019.
“Black entrepreneurs face inequitable access to capital, which inhibits their ability to build and scale businesses,” Stanley Julien, Head, Special Accounts Management Unit – Canada, BMO Financial Group. “We believe this program’s funding and resources will enable Black business owners to expand operations and enhance the opportunity to participate in Canada’s economic growth.”
To support the new program for Black Entrepreneurs, BMO has partnered with the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) – a community-led organization committed to removing financial barriers for Black-led businesses. The partnership will provide wrap-around educational programming to Black business owners in key areas such as business planning, financial management, sales, marketing, and budgeting.
“We applaud BMO’s intentional steps to help dismantle the systemic barriers facing Black entrepreneurs,” said Craig Wellington, Executive Director, Black Opportunity Fund. “BOF is pleased to partner with BMO to provide capacity building supports for Black business owners to increase their opportunity for sustained success.”
Black Opportunity Fund is a community-led registered Canadian Charitable organization, whose mandate is to help dismantle anti-Black racism by establishing a sustainable pool of capital to fund Black led businesses, entrepreneurs, and Black led not for profits and charities, in order to improve the social and economic well-being of Canada’s Black communities.
For full eligibility requirements and to apply, BMO customers are encouraged to visit: https://bmo.com/blackbusiness