A new award created and funded by the Anucha family is the first of its kind to support Black entrepreneurs at YSpace, York University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub.
The award commemorates the family’s son and brother Alfred Anucha, a visionary, young entrepreneur who passed away at the age of 26. A former York student, Alfred was also the founder of Stay Ulo, a network of properties that offers flexible apartment rentals with a hotel experience.
Alfred’s passion for entrepreneurship and his unwavering belief in the potential of young people to create were the cornerstones of his life, shared family members at a recent event to announce the award. “ ’Bet on yourself. Bet on the future.’ This was Alfred’s mantra and encapsulates the vision of the Alfred Anucha Award,” said Adanna Anucha, Alfred’s sister. “Our family is excited to support young, Black entrepreneurs to ‘bet on yourself’ just as Alfred did. We hope this award will serve as a living tribute and memorial to honour Alfred’s legacy as a true innovator and dreamer.”
The award will support aspiring Black entrepreneurs in partnership with YSpace and the Black Entrepreneurship Alliance. Self-identifying Black individuals (Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected refugees) are eligible for this award, with a preference given to Black male entrepreneurs under the age of 30, in recognition of the historical underrepresentation by Black male entrepreneurs in this space.
Each year, a maximum of four entrepreneurs will receive $2,500 each in recognition of their commitment to their craft. Additionally, recipients can take advantage of YSpace’s specialized programming free of charge to nurture their ventures. Current and past program participants are eligible and encouraged to apply for this award, which will be available annually for the next five years.
The award is also a testament to the deep connection the Anucha family shares with York University. Alfred’s mother, Uzo Anucha, is an associate professor at the School of Social Work in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She is also the York Research Chair in Youth and Contexts of Inequity. Alfred’s four siblings have also attended York University.
David Kwok, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at YSpace, said, “YSpace is honoured to have this partnership and support of the Anucha family. This award will be a catalyst for many young, Black entrepreneurs to receive the funding and support necessary to continue their impactful work in the community. Our collaborative efforts will create greater access and growth for these Black-led businesses.”
Applications for the first round of awards are open from Nov. 20 to Dec. 15. More information about the application processes will be available on the YSpace website.