To celebrate Black History month in Canada, we took a closer look at a few funding opportunities from government organization, public-private partnerships and non-profits specifically intended for black and other minority business owners across the country. This article offers an overview of some key funders and support organizations Black business founders in Canada should know about as well as some details on some of the opportunities they offer.
Futurpreneur Canada: Black Entrepreneur Startup Program
Futurpreneur is a non-profit organization that offers financing, mentoring and support tools to business owners aged between 18 to 39 years old.
The Black Entrepreneur Startup program provides startup loan financing from $5,000 to $60,000 and up to two years of one-on-one expert mentorship. Recipients also have access to resources and the opportunity to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and Black-led community organizations at a variety of entrepreneurship events.
This program is funded by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and BDC.
The FACE Coalition: Entrepreneurship Loan Fund
The FACE coalition is a Black-led non-profit organization focused on providing resources and information to the Black community across Canada. They support sustainable economic initiatives and help develop strategic partnerships to accelerate the creation of generational wealth in Canada’s Black communities. The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund was created to provide funding for Black business owners seeking investments, working capital, or additional resources to expand their businesses.
The fund offers micro and macro loans to eligible entrepreneurs. The micro loans are administered by Vancity Credit Union and Alterna Savings and are available in Ontario and British Columbia. Their macro loans, on the other hand, are funded by BDC and the Government of Canada and are available across the country. Macro loan amounts range from $25,000 to $250,000 and principal payments can be deferred for up to a year.
EVOL: Business Financing
Evol is an organization financially supported by the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development and the Government of Canada. It supports the development, acquisition, and growth of diversified and inclusive businesses with positive impacts in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and seeks to contribute to the development of more diverse and sustainable businesses. With a combination of financing and personalized guidance, as well as adapted complementary services, EVOL supports under-represented groups in entrepreneurship and their businesses. EVOL defines these underrepresented groups as those who identify as one or more of the following: women, racialized people, immigrants, First Nations, Inuit, LGBTQ2+ community and people with disabilities.
Afro Caribbean Business Network Foundation: Micro Loan Fund
The Afro Caribbean Business Network Foundation supports African and Caribbean entrepreneurs with their business projects. They develop funding programs and compile tools and resources to help all kinds of entrepreneurs. Their network of experts also provides assistance for all stages of business planning and development.
Their Microloan Fund offers low interest loans to African and Caribbean. The program offers micro-loans ranging between $500 and $2,500.
DMZ: Black innovation fellowship
DMZ supports several technology incubator and accelerator programs around the world. Their programs support tech startups by offering them expert mentoring, access to capital and a community of entrepreneurs and influencers.
Their incubator program supports early-stage tech startups by helping them start their business in earnest. Startups join with a minimum viable product and some form of market validation, and over the course of 8 to 12 months receive the hands-on support needed to further develop their product, build their team and create a sales strategy.
The Black Innovation Fellowship offers a number of added benefits and opportunities in addition to the incubator’s regular programming and is specifically destined for black tech startup founders. These opportunities include tailored workshops, exclusive marketing and networking opportunities and dedicated support from DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs staff.