Whether you’re in the startup phase or your business is set for expansion, the proper support plays a crucial role in your journey. Here’s a list of resources that support Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses.
Founders of Pitch Better, Amoye Henry and Adeela Carter, noticed fewer opportunities for women of colour in the Canadian business sphere. In an interview with The Edge, Amoye said, “We conducted research and recognized that there was a government fund that had [been distributed] to entrepreneurs, but only two Black women of the 300-plus applicants got access to the funding.” Pitch Better was founded here to enable Black and equity-seeking women to build thriving businesses through research and innovation, education and capacity building, and networking and finance. Pitch Better also has a private membership network called the Modern Hustle Collective that focuses on connecting and supporting Black Women founders with practical business planning.
RBC Black Entrepreneur Program
Regardless of what stage you’re at with your business, this fund is dedicated to supporting Black entrepreneurs by creating opportunities, growth, and equity. The RBC Black Entrepreneur Program offers support with various stages of a business, from Business Plans to the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program to loans of up to $250,000. By connecting with an Advisor, you can find the best direction for you and your business.
Black Entrepreneurship Program
In Partnership with the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and financial institutions, the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) offers an investment of $265 million over four years to help Black Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses, and owners grow their businesses and find sustained success into the future. Within the program, the BEP created the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which provides loans of up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs across Canada.
The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE)
FACE is a Canadian, Black-led non-profit organization that supports the Canadian Black community through resources and support. In partnership with the Government of Canada, FACE has launched the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which provides access to Black business owners with capital investment, working capital, and other business resources.
The Black Opportunity Fund (BOF)
“We Back Black” is the foundational pillar of the Black Opportunity Fund as they provide capital support to organizations, businesses, and individuals that support Black communities across Canada. As part of their mandate, they created the Black Entrepreneur Program, which provides business education, financial literacy, skills training and support to Canadian Black entrepreneurs who have been unable to access traditional funding from financial institutions.
The Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC)
The CBCC is focused on connecting Black Businesses in Canada to the Global Black diaspora and mainstream global markets. They offer various programs such as the Financial Literacy Program, AVRO Business Accelerator Program, Business Plan Writing Program, Mentor Portégé Program, Mastermind Program, Black Entrepreneur Program, and Ethnic Food Incubator Program.
Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)
The BBPA is a non-profit, charitable organization that addresses equity and opportunity for Black communities within business, employment, education, and economic development. Their ongoing programs support business, education, and economic development and include Zoom webinars, various courses, resources for business success, and their “Ask a Professional” series.
The Government of Canada: Business Benefits Finder
The “Business Benefits Finder” section of the Government of Canada website allows you to filter benefits based on Province/Territory, what you need most, what your goals are, and owner information (i.e. Black Canadians, women, 2SLGBTQI+, etc.), the number of employees, if your business is incorporated or not, and if your business is for-profit or not-for-profit. This is a helpful tool for finding up-to-date government-approved programs, funds, and support.
CILAR: The Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism
Made up of Canada’s top innovation leaders, CILAR is focused on creating transformational opportunities for Canada’s Black Community, Indigenous Peoples and People of Colour (BIPOC). CILAR focuses on increasing access and creating opportunities through its five integrated pillars – Youth Development, Job Opportunities, Venture & Capital Support, Leadership & Community, and Inclusive Innovation & Technology. Whether looking for a new job or seeking venture capital support, you can contact CILAR through their contact submission form.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in Alberta
To combat systemic racism, Digital Alberta created a directory of Black-owned businesses across Alberta – touching down in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, and Fort McMurray.
Africa Centre’s Entrepreneurial Support
Africa Centre is the largest Pan-African non-profit organization in western Canada, functioning as a community hub that supports various areas, including business. Their Entrepreneurial Empowerment Program’s mission is to build a larger business community in Alberta by directly taking on the systematic barriers that block aspiring Black entrepreneurs.
ANZA Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program
The ANZA Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program is designed to support Black youth with developing business ideas, business plans and providing mentorship and support when seeking loans. This program is created for Black youth between 18 and 30 with a business idea or at the beginning stages of their business in Edmonton and surrounding areas. The term ‘ANZA’ translates to “new beginning” in Swahili.
Black Business Association of BC
The Black Business Association of BC (BBABC) focuses on supporting Black entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community. Through their programs, resources and services, the BBABC has elevated businesses and ensured their continued success. They offer entrepreneurial support with grants, loans, and pitch competitions. Members will find mentorship, networking opportunities, and advocacy support at various levels of government within their membership. The BBABC also offers a marketplace and directory of Black-owned businesses provided by their community.
BEBC Society: The Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society
The BEBC Society is a Black-owned and Black-focused non-profit organization that supports Black businesses and the entrepreneurs that built them. A few initiatives that the BEBC Society focuses on include the Black Youth Business Program, Black Financial Literacy Program, Black Business Certification Program, Black Business Summit, Black Pitch Contest, Black Business Research & Data, and Loan | Investment Readiness Program.
The Black Business Initiative (BBI)
The Black Business Initiative (BBI) was founded in 1996 by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia to address the challenges confronting Nova Scotia’s Black business community. The organization has become a catalyst for job creation, equitable participation, and advancing economic prosperity across Canada.
The BBI supports Black entrepreneurs every step of the way—from start-up and development to growth and expansion. One of the many ways they support is a helpful directory that businesses can list themselves on for discoverability.
The Tribe Network’s Black Start-Up Project
Tribe Network’s Black Start-Up Project is a unique program created to provide Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Atlantic Canada with access to services and opportunities in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem to help START, BUILD and ACCELERATE their businesses. This program provides Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Atlantic Canada with access to education and training, capital, mentorship and coaching. Look out for the 2023 program registration dates.
For helpful tools, we recommend looking at our article, Tools For Canadian Small Businesses.