On Wednesday (Sept. 9), the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau unveiled a new national program that will foster private and public funding for Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses in Canada. During a press conference, Trudeau called the new Black Entrepreneurship Program a step toward addressing systemic racism in the country.
“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,” Trudeau told reporters. “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.”
“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,” he added.
According to an official press release, the government will invest $93 million over the next four years into the program and partner with Canadian financial institutions for a total funding of nearly $221 million. The funds will be split into three initiatives: a National Ecosystem Fund, a Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund and a Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. These initiatives will provide resources and entrepreneur access to funding and capital, financial planning services and sizable business loans. Additionally, the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub — formed by Black business and organization leaders — will collect data to identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success for future program insight.
“For too long, Black entrepreneurs and business owners have faced systemic barriers to their success, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on them,” Hon. Mary Ng — minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade — added. “With Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program, our government is taking real action to support Black entrepreneurs recovering from COVID-19 and empower them to start up, innovate, grow and succeed. We will continue to do whatever it takes to support all small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country.”
Steps to dismantle systemic racism include advancing Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, developing new justice reforms and increasing local community support for Black youth. See Trudeau’s press conference below.