This year, Canada is witnessing a surge in initiatives aimed at empowering Black entrepreneurs and fostering a more equitable entrepreneurial landscape. From government investments to corporate partnerships, a wave of positive change is making its way into Canada’s business economy, creating opportunities and breaking down barriers for aspiring Black entrepreneurs.
The Ontario government recently launched an initiative to invest $15 million over three years in the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program to provide one-time grants, as well as free access to business coaching, training, and other opportunities. The initiative will train over 1,200 Indigenous, Black, and other racially diverse entrepreneurs, with a specific target of assisting 450 entrepreneurs during the 2023-24 period. According to News Ontario, the program aims to eliminate barriers to economic opportunities for Indigenous, Black, and other racialized entrepreneurs.
Investments like these aim to equip aspiring Black entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship successfully. By removing financial barriers and offering tailored support, Ontario is laying the foundation for a more inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Financial institutions across Canada are also taking proactive steps to reduce barriers for Black entrepreneurs. Major banks approved millions of dollars in loans specifically designed for Black-owned businesses, with CBIC Bank approving $8.5 million in loans and grants, and Ottawa authorizing about $35.1 million in loans thus far. These financial institutions are leveling the playing field and empowering Black entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.
The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a nonprofit coalition that aims to help Black Canadians build generational wealth, approved 481 applications worth $45.6 million for its Black Entrepreneurship Loan.
In 2021, FACE was overwhelmed with thousands of applications and was not set up to handle the volume. As a result, the non-profit company built a staff of 50 to better equip enthusiastic entrepreneurs, which led to an increase in approved applications.
TD Bank has also shown its commitment to supporting women and Black entrepreneurs through a series of initiatives aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion. The Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program is designed to provide equitable access to financing, support, and financial education for Black-owned businesses. As part of TD’s Black Customer Experience Strategy, the Program’s specialized Account Managers and regional teams support Black business owners as they drive their businesses forward.
Bharat Masrani, President and CEO of TD Bank Group, emphasizes the importance of economic progress in reversing the impacts of systemic racism and bias. To this end, TD has expanded its Diverse Business segment teams with a dedicated focus on Black communities and businesses. These funded and trained teams are equipped to support the specific financial aspirations and needs of Black communities and businesses.
As we celebrate Black History Month, it is essential to recognize the success and creativity of Black entrepreneurs across Canada. Through continued support, mentorship, and investment in diverse talent, Canada is poised to create a more equitable and strong entrepreneurial ecosystem where every individual has the opportunity to succeed.
Associate News Editor (Volume 50) — Karine is currently completing her bachelor’s degree specializing in Digital Enterprise Management at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2022 as a contributor. She hopes to contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers during her time at The Medium. Her goal is to take her interest in ongoing research within the business and technology field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she enjoys going on walks, FaceTiming her family, and painting sunsets with her friends. Moreover, she passionately pursues the chase of the Aurora Borealis, seeking to experience and capture the breathtaking beauty of these natural light displays. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.