Tribe Network is looking to be Canada’s innovation hub for BIPOC entrepreneurs

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Tribe Network, a new initiative based in Halifax, has recently launched, aiming to create an entrepreneurship and innovation hub for entrepreneurs identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

“The truth is that access to trusted networks and information remains a significant barrier for BIPOC entrepreneurs.”

The hub will be accessible to people, communities, and organizations, and is aimed to help BIPOC entrepreneurs build networks and receive information that could assist them with their businesses.

The Tribe Network, created last year, has established partnerships with four incubators and accelerators in Atlantic Canada, with a goal of scaling the development of this initiative across the country.

“The truth is that access to trusted networks and information remains a significant barrier for BIPOC entrepreneurs,” said Alfred Burgesson, founder and community builder at Tribe Network. “We’re developing an online community hub, pathway initiatives, and new ventures in collaboration with partners that are engaged in increasing connectivity, opportunities and outcomes for BIPOC entrepreneurs, innovators and community leaders.”

Volta, Startup Zone PEI, Venn Innovation, and Genesis Centre are all partners, as are Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Community College, Saint Mary’s University, Brilliant Labs, and ONSIDE.

The launch of the fund comes at a time when BIPOC Canadians in the workforce have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s disproportionate impact. An April 2020 report found that eighty-five percent of underrepresented entrepreneurs in Canada experienced a loss in revenue, contracts, and cash flow since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Volta, Black Business Initiative, Ulnooweg team up to support Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada

Though underrepresented workers are experiencing a disproportionate impact from COVID-19, the impact on Black workers and entrepreneurs has been especially concerning. According to research from Operation HOPE, over the course of the pandemic, the number of Black workers and business owners has fallen sharply, over 40 percent, a more severe economic impact compared to other racial groups.

Tribe Network joins a number of initiatives launched over the last year to support BIPOC entrepreneurs. The BlackNorth Initiative, launched in June by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, is another effort intended to push the Canadian business community and the federal government for more procurement opportunities for Black-owned businesses. Bright + Early also recently launched a new fund that will contribute to charities supporting underrepresented individuals in the Canadian tech workforce, particularly BIPOC workers.

According to a report from Entrevestor, Tribe Network has applied for funding from the National Ecosystem Fund, a federal program that provides funding to nonprofits supporting Black entrepreneurs.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Christina @

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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