The Black Lives Matter movement has sparked new dialogues around the world. This week, Canada announced its efforts to address systemic racism.
According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the government will create a $221 million partnership with various financial institutions to establish the Black Entrepreneurship Program to aid Black businesses in the country recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians, and has underscored the need to restart our economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed,” said Trudeau in a press statement.
“That is why today–thanks in part to the leadership, advocacy, and expertise of Black business owners and Black-led organizations–we are announcing Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. As we move forward, this program will help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”
The new program will also include $53 million to develop a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-owned businesses develop through mentorship programs and capital funding. Another $6.5 million will go to sustain the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub to collect data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify how they can thrive. The Canadian government will contribute $93 million over the next four years as part of the partnership to help fund the various initiatives.
“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects this,” said Hon. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, in a press statement.
This program was created through collaboration with Black-led organizations because Black Canadians know what their communities need best,” Chagger added. “This is another step towards removing the systemic barriers that exist within our society to create a truly inclusive Canada.”