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.
Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier announced that the Africa Development Network (ADN) will receive $832,000 to deliver the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund in the National Capital Region and Montréal.
“For years,” said Minister Fortier, “racism and discrimination have kept Black business communities from reaching their true potential. This funding will help eliminate barriers to success for entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region by helping companies grow and create more good local jobs. I commend the Africa Development Network on the important work they are doing.”
This funding will allow ADN and its partners to develop and establish a new incubator centre for Black Francophone entrepreneurs and businesses. The centre will offer supports such as one-on-one mentoring, Black industry advisors, and custom training for micro, small and growth companies. The project is expected to support 400 entrepreneurs and 200 Black-led businesses, as well as create 150 new jobs through the companies supported.
The support is provided through the National Ecosystem Fund, which was created to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners across Canada. In Ottawa, FedDev Ontario is administering the Fund.
“Receiving this funding,” said Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean, “under the Black Entrepreneurship Program means ADN and its partners will be able to provide coaching, mentoring and training to Black entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region and beyond. This support will help Black-led businesses overcome challenges to their growth and development and create jobs.”
“After years of hard work,” added André Gallo Azambou, Chair of the Board of Directors, Africa Development Network, “ADN is very pleased to receive this financial support from the Canadian government for our national business development centre project. This funding will help Black entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses and so increase the number of Black-led businesses in Canada by the end of the project.”
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.
The Black Entrepreneurship Program is an over $400-million investment that includes: up to $53 million for the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country in providing Black entrepreneurs and business owners with access to funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services and business training. An additional $51.7 million was provided in Budget 2021; $291.3 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs; $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 on the ground helping businesses weather the effects of the pandemic. With the measures proposed in Budget 2021, FedDev Ontario continues to be a trusted partner to deliver targeted support in the National Capital Region.