Government invests $3M in York partnership supporting Black-led organizations

Woman laptop computer FEATURED
Woman laptop computer FEATURED

The Government of Canada has announced an investment of close to $3 million for the Black Creek Community Health Centre (BCCHC) and the Black Creek Community Farm, in partnership with York University’s Innovation York’s YSpace, Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC), and TD-Community Engagement Centre, to support Black-Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses in Humber River-Black Creek. The funding comes as part of the federal government’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) – an investment of more than $400-million to support the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Canada.

Black-Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic racism and obstacles in starting and growing their businesses. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working to address long-standing barriers through the BEP.

Judy A. Sgro, member of parliament for Humber River-Black Creek on behalf of Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, made the announcement Aug. 12. The funding will be delivered through the National Ecosystem Fund in North York, which was created to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and business owners across Canada. In Southern Ontario, FedDev is administering the fund.

With the recommended funding of $2,999,431, BCCHC in partnership with York University, will launch an agri-food program called the Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA), offering a full spectrum of education, mentorship and acceleration supports to Black entrepreneurs seeking to establish or grow agri-food businesses. Building off the success of the YSpace food and beverage accelerator, SEEC’s internationally renowned leadership curriculum, and TD-CEC’s continued commitment to community engagement, BEA will support more than 350 entrepreneurs over the course of the next three years. A graduate of the YSpace program, It’s Souper – an Afro-fusion gourmet soup and sauce line founded by Lola Adeyemi in 2018 – is an example of the type of entrepreneur the program will support.

“Today was a fantastic event that will offer great opportunities to through Black Creek Community Health Centre, and York University. It was also wonderful to meet the founder of It’s Souper, Lola Adeyemi. I’m excited to the potential and impacts this funding will provide for everyone involved,” said Sgro during the announcement.

“The Black Entrepreneurship Alliance will build on the Black Creek Community Health Centre’s leadership within the Black Creek community – as well as York’s historic strengths in business, innovation, and entrepreneurship – to provide educational support and training to Black entrepreneurs,” said Amir Asif, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “We look forward to continuing our long history of partnership with the Black Creek Community Health Centre in providing increased access to education and opportunities for members of the Black Creek community – and creating a fairer, more equitable and more prosperous city.”

About the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP)

  • The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, post-secondary or other accredited educational institutions and financial institutions.
  • Canada’s Regional Development Agencies deliver the BEP’s National Ecosystem Fund, and work with selected partner organizations to assist them in implementing their services.
  • The Black Entrepreneurship Program is an over $400-million investment including:
    • 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. An additional $51.7 million for the BEP was provided in Budget 2021.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Canada’s regional development agencies are on the ground helping businesses weather the effects of the pandemic. With the measures recently proposed in Budget 2021, FedDev Ontario continues to be a trusted partner to deliver targeted support in Southern Ontario