Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced investments of up to $221 million to create Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
In a statement, Trudeau noted that the success of Black business owners and entrepreneurs is “essential to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity” and the COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners in Canada.”
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“The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians, and has underscored the need to restart our economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed. That is why today – thanks in part to the leadership, advocacy, and expertise of Black business owners and Black-led organizations – we are announcing Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program,” said Trudeau.
“As we move forward, this program will help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”
The multimillion-dollar investment comes in partnership with Canadian financial institutions and will include nearly $93 million from the federal government over the next four years and will help facilitate a number of initiatives for Black entrepreneurs in Canada.
Up to $53 million will go to a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations in Canada. Up to $33.3 million in support will establish a new Black Entrepreneurship Loan fund to provide loans between $25,000 to $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
Up to $128 million in additional supports will be made available through a partnership with Canada’s major financial institutions. The federal government will also allocate up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub to collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada.
The federal government says it is “committed to working closely” with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across the country to ensure the program reflects the needs of Black Canadians.
“The new program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians,” stated the federal government in a release.
“This includes taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.”