The federal government has opened applications for two previously-announced programs aimed to increase and support Black entrepreneurship in Canada
The National Ecosystem Fund and the Knowledge Hub, which are now accepting applications, are both part of the federal government’s Black Entrepreneurship Program, first revealed in September to support Black Canadian entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“This is a testament to the years of hard work and advocacy of Black entrepreneurs and communities across the country.”
The federal government committed $93 million to the program overall, with the remaining money coming from Canadian financial institutions.
“With the new Black Entrepreneurship Program, the first of its kind in Canada, we are laying the foundation for meaningful change, breaking down barriers, and ensuring the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs,” said Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion Mary Ng.
“This is a testament to the years of hard work and advocacy of Black entrepreneurs and communities across the country,” she added.
The National Ecosystem Fund is accepting applications until December 21. Of the $93 million the government is providing to the broader Black Entrepreneurship Program, $53 million is being dedicated to the National Ecosystem Fund. The fund is aimed at helping Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.
Eligible organizations include Black-led regional and national organizations, which will be required to submit high-level concepts first, and if selected, work with their local regional development agency (RDA) on their final proposal.
The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is accepting applications until January 18, 2021.
The goal of the Knowledge Hub is to collect information, research, and statistics on Black entrepreneurship. Of the total commitment of $93 million, the government is providing up to $6.5 million to create the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
The Knowledge Hub will be run by a partnership between a Black community organization or consortium of Black community organizations and an accredited educational institution. Interested partners can apply by submitting a concept online.
The successful partners will receive up to $5 million over four years to develop and implement the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
The third feature of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund includes the partnership of financial institutions, including Canada’s Big Five banks as well as Vancity and Alterna Savings. In its most recent announcement, the federal government said it would share more details about the loan fund “as soon as possible.”
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