Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs make important contributions to the Canadian economy, yet they continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working to address these long-standing systemic barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program.
Yesterday, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, joined by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government and Chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus, Marci Ien, Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, and Tiffany Callender, CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), met with a group of Black business support organizations, entrepreneurship organizations and community leaders for a round table to discuss the progress made on the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.
Participants shared their insight and asked the government officials and Ms. Callender about the co-development and rollout of the loan fund. Participants highlighted the importance of connecting the loan fund, the Black Entrepreneurship Program more broadly and other government programs, as well as links between FACE and existing Black-owned businesses. The government officials acknowledged the progress that has been made with the historic Black Entrepreneurship Program, the first of its kind, but also noted that more work needs to be done across government, now and into the future. FACE emphasized that it has been working, and will continue to work, with all Black businesses and support organizations to ensure that the loan fund helps increase access to capital and provides the support that Black business owners and entrepreneurs need to succeed and grow.
Minister Ng took the opportunity to thank the participants and FACE for their leadership, contributions and engagement in building the Black Entrepreneurship Program through consultations over the past year, while also recognizing FACE’s continued progress supporting Black business and community groups across the country.