Applications have officially opened for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, the third pillar of the Government of Canada’s previously announced Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP).
The fund aims to reduce some of the systemic barriers faced by Black Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners by providing them with the financing they need to start and grow their businesses. The federal government co-developed the fund in partnership with the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) as loan fund administrator.
The fund is set to provide financing of up to $250,000 to eligible Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Alongside this core loan program, the federal government has also launched a new pilot microloan program that aims to offer loans between $10,000 and $25,000.
Businesses eligible for loans must be majority-owned by a Black Canadian. They may include startups, existing for-profit small businesses such as sole proprietorships, social enterprises, partnerships, or co-operatives. They also must possess a business number, a business plan, and financial statements or projections.
- The Black Entrepreneurship Program includes:
- up to $53 million for the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital and provide them with mentorship, financial planning services and business training. Budget 2021 has proposed investing an additional $51.7 million in this fund.
- up to $291.3 million in support through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which will provide loans of up to $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is investing $33.3 million, and BDC will be the first partner financial institution with an investment of $130 million. An additional $128 million in support has been jointly committed by financial institutions, including the Royal Bank of Canada, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, the National Bank of Canada, TD Bank, Vancity and Alterna Savings.
- up to $6.5 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which will conduct qualitative and quantitative research and collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The hub will be run by partnership between Black-led community and business organizations and post-secondary educational institutions.
For detailed information on the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, please click here.