February is Black History Month, a time we dedicate to Black Canadians and their contributions to our communities.
Being an entrepreneur is challenging, and Black entrepreneurs have amplified obstacles when trying to start a business due to systemic barriers. In 2023, QuickBooks released a study about Black entrepreneurs in Canada and found that 55% of Black business owners had been denied a bank loan at least once when trying to start their business. Additionally, only 56% of Black entrepreneurs said they were able to pay themselves in 2022. With limited access to seed capital, we need to close these gaps for Black entrepreneurs.
This year, we’re bringing back our resource guide for Black Entrepreneurs in Canada – featuring additional resources, including funding opportunities, loans, access to mentors, and opportunities to build your network!
Calgary Black Chambers
Calgary Black Chambers supports young Black and BIPOC entrepreneurs in the Calgary area through their student mentorship, scholarship, and fellowship programs.
Black Business Ventures Association
The Black Business Ventures Association helps Black founders start and build their tech businesses through events, resources, and programming. A program they offer all year is the Mwanzo Program, which is a free 4-week, hybrid, and virtual program with ongoing enrollment that helps bring business ideas to life.
Real Ventures’ Rep Matters
Real Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that supports entrepreneurs through resources and connections, guidance, and mentorship. Real Ventures created “Rep Matters” to inspire Black entrepreneurs and tell the stories of successful Black business owners and investors.
Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA)
Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA) is an accelerator that supports Black entrepreneurs through their different programs, such as their Product Feasibility Bootcamp, Investment Bootcamp, and more. They even offer Idea Consultations where you can register to meet one-on-one with a BEA team lead so they can evaluate your career roadmap and provide you with feedback!
TD Bank Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program
The Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program is made to provide Black entrepreneurs with access to credit in order to drive their businesses forward. The program offers an enhanced credit review process that includes a holistic view of your credit application. As well as services such as business banking advice, financial planning, borrowing advice, mortgage solutions, and more.
Scotiabank Black-Led Business Financing Program
Scotiabank offers a Black-Led Business Financing Program to lend eligible Black entrepreneurs financing for capital investments and/or working capital needs. Businesses can apply for a term loan for capital investments up to $250,000!
DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs
The DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs provide Black-owned tech startups with the support of their incubator network, as well as programming, mentorship, and events. They also facilitate connections to industry advisors, investors, capital, and an alumni network of successful founders to support the growth of Black entrepreneurs.
BKR Capital is a Canadian venture capital fund that solely invests in Black-led startups and businesses. The team focuses on early stage disruptive companies in the technology space.
Black Business Association of BC
The Black Business Association of BC provides a variety of programs and resources for building your supply chain, preparing for trade shows, and maintaining positive mental health as a founder.
Tribe Network’s Black Start-up Project
Tribe Network’s Black Start-up Project provides access to resources, education, training, capital, mentorship, and coaching to Black, Indigenous, and BIPOC entrepreneurs and business owners in Atlantic Canada. There are currently 280 entrepreneurs registered in the program from across Atlantic Canada!
Black Founders Network
The Black Founders Network is open to Black-identifying University of Toronto’s students. In partnership with U of T’s accelerator programs, BFN provides access to an inclusive community for Black entrepreneurs at all stages of their business. They provide access to mentors, investors, and resources to increase the number of Black-led U of T startups.
Black Entrepreneur Startup Program by Futurpreneur and RBC
Futurpreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Startup Program partnered with RBC to provide startup loan financing and access to mentorship for Black Entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39. The program guides you through all the steps of writing a business plan, from financing to launch.
Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund by FACE
FACE’s Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund provides loans of up to $250,000 to support Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada. They also offer a number of micro-loans of up to $50,000 for earlier stage businesses.
RBC Black Entrepreneur Program
RBC’s Black Entrepreneur Program provides access to advice, connections, and banking solutions to grow your business. With RBC’s program, you can access loans of up to $250,000. Their website also has access to a variety of helpful tools, including a business loan calculator, business cash flow calculator, and business plan builder.
Black Opportunity Fund
Black Opportunity Fund is a community-led Canadian charity on a mission to create a healthy and thriving Black Canada by challenging anti-Black racism and responding to long-standing underinvestment in Black communities. The fund facilitates access to capital for Black-led businesses and provides access to grants to Black-led non-profits and charities.
Atlantic Canada Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Program
The Atlantic Canada Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Program provides access to business development support, counselling, and mentorship opportunities to Black entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian provinces. You can seek advice on marketing and communication strategies, procurement and supply chain, and building your business acumen. They also provide a specific stream for youth entrepreneurs titled “Business is Jammin’”.
ANZA’s Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program
ANZA’s Black Entrepreneur Ecosystem Program is designed to help Black youth ages 18 to 30 generate business ideas, convert those ideas into business plans, and seek financing to launch their businesses. Based in Alberta, this program teaches participants transferable skills that they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
Canadian Blk Women in Excellence Society
Canadian Blk Women in Excellence Society works to empower and support both Black women and Black Female Youth through a dynamic, multifaceted approach. Through tailored empowerment programs, interconnected mentorship initiatives, and collaborative educational and skill advancement opportunities, they cultivate a culture of shared experiences, guidance, and mutual support across generations.
There’s more! Tune in to our latest Startup Women Podcast episode titled “How To: Funding for Black Women Entrepreneurs” with Tia Upshaw, CEO of Canadian Blk Women in Excellence Society and Tashauna Reid, Owner of College Creative Curations