Trudeau announces nearly $221 million funding for Black business owners

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced nearly $221 million in funding support for the first Black Entrepreneurship Program. In the next four years, the initiative is set to award $93 million from the Government of Canada to black business owners, while the rest of the funds are to come from partnerships with Canadian financial institutions.

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The press release says, “Every day, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to communities across the country, and their success is essential to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity.”

“While we have made progress in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and address anti-Black racism.”

The press release says that these funds will be used to help Black business owners and entrepreneurs in Canada recover from the economic crisis that the pandemic created and to help grow their businesses. 

The breakdown of the funds, as set in the press release, are as follows:

up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.

up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.

up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.

The press release says that the new program builds on the government’s “work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians” and includes “steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.”

The Minister of Small Businesses Mary Ng said of the program, “For too long, Black entrepreneurs and business owners have faced systemic barriers to their success, and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on them.”

This announcement comes just days after the Parliamentary Budget Officer said the current deficit level will become ‘unsustainable’ within one to two years unless the government cuts spending or increases taxes. 

Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer said that “if the government has plans for additional spending, it will clearly have to make difficult choices and either raise taxes or reduce other areas of spending. Because it’s clear that we cannot afford to have deficits of that magnitude for even the medium term.”

CBC News also recently reported that a Liberal insider said that the government plans on spending “on a scale we haven’t seen before.”

This insider also said, “We are not turning off the taps at this moment,”.

Watch the press conference below:

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