RBC expands access to capital for Black entrepreneurs

Isaac Olowolafe Jr.,

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has announced the launch of the RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan (BEBL) – a new financing solution that provides eligible Black entrepreneurs in Canada with loans of up to $250,000.

“Black entrepreneurs continue to be disproportionately affected by a lack of access to capital and resources that are critical to their success. The financial services sector plays an important role in enabling the inclusion and prosperity of businesses to foster greater diversity in our communities, and accelerate our collective economic growth,” says Greg Grice, Executive Vice-President, Business Financial Services, RBC.

“That’s why we’re proud to offer equitable and inclusive funding solutions, like the RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan, that are tailored to the needs of Black entrepreneurs to help them start and scale their business successfully.”

The RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan is part of the broader five-year, $100 million commitment that RBC made in July 2020 to support the path to prosperity and growth of Black entrepreneurs, which led to the creation of the RBC Black Entrepreneur Program. The overarching Program that this new loan offering is a part of focuses on three key pillars to help Black entrepreneurs successfully start, manage and grow their business: enabling access to capital; providing access to a network of experts, mentors and business resources; and bringing together community leaders to recognize and advance the growth of Black-owned businesses.

“Ensuring that all entrepreneurs have equitable access to loan capital is critical to strengthening our economy and ensuring that communities with barriers can achieve their greatest potential,” says Mark

Mark Beckles

Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “The RBC BEBL program will help accelerate Black entrepreneurship across Canada – as part of RBC’s commitment to addressing systemic racism through empowering our communities.”

This solution complements the bank’s existing investments and resources to support the growth of Black entrepreneurs in Canada.

In March 2021, RBC launched the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program (BESP) – a funding collaboration with Futurpreneur Canada. As part of this funding program, the bank committed up to $40 million over five years to help young Black entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 39 start and grow their businesses. The collaborative initiative provides eligible applicants with $5,000 to $60,000 in financing, and access to advice, mentorship, networking opportunities and business resources to support their startup journey.

In June 2021, RBC also invested $1 million in the Black Innovation Capital (BIC) – a $10 million fund founded by Isaac Olowolafe Jr., founder of Dream Legacy Foundation and Dream Maker Ventures – to support the growth of pre-seed and seed-stage Canadian technology businesses led by Black entrepreneurs.

“Black entrepreneurs are too often under-funded and lack support, which means we’re missing out on a lot of untapped creativity that will help drive economic prosperity for all Canadians,” says Isaac Olowolafe Jr. “The early-stage financial support we’re offering through this Fund is a critical first step in closing this equity gap in entrepreneurship, empowering hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs to launch thriving businesses.”

RBC believes that its purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper is core to its identity as an organization, and that its purpose can only be achieved when everyone has an equitable opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. RBC’s goal is to create a more equitable future, remove biases and barriers, and expand opportunities for BIPOC clients, colleagues, and communities in order to prosper.

“All of these initiatives are part of RBC’s Action Plan Against Systemic Racism. They’re just a few examples of the ways in which we’re continuing to turn our commitments into tangible actions, and investing in the power and potential of Black entrepreneurs in Canada,” adds Grice.

To learn more about the application process, criteria and loan details, visit https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/business/advice/blackentrepreneur.html or speak with an RBC Advisor.