This Black History Month, we wanted to put together a helpful guide on the resources available for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. We are proud of the inspiring achievements of Black Canadians and their contributions to shaping Canada’s future, and this guide can help those with entrepreneurial ambitions. Running a business is challenging, especially if it’s a Black-owned business.\r\n\r\nFewer support networks and unequal access to resources all add up, but Black-owned businesses have been resilient and continue to thrive. Acknowledging that Black entrepreneurs face systemic barriers to success is the first step in the journey. Funding opportunities for minority-owned businesses are crucial, along with mentorship and support initiatives for Black-owned businesses.\r\n\r\nHere are some resources that will be helpful for Black entrepreneurs and those who dream of launching their business.\r\nBlack Entrepreneurship Program\r\nThe Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) is a collaboration between the Government of Canada, Black-led businesses, and financial institutions in Canada. The Government of Canada has pledged to invest up to $265 million to help Black Entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.\r\n\r\nWithin the program, there are different funding opportunities. At the time of writing this post, the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is still open for applications. This program provides loans up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs and you can learn more here.\r\nRBC Black Entrepreneur Program\r\nIn July of 2020, RBC made a five-year commitment to invest $100 million to fund small business loans to Black entrepreneurs. With this program at RBC, Black entrepreneurs can access loans of up to $250,000 to start and grow their business. The program also offers a strong network of peers, advisors, and mentors that can help guide Black entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses. \r\n\r\nThere are several other offers available within this program, such as partnerships with H&R Block for easy tax filing and TELUS for savings on business technology and tools. Learn more about this program and how you can apply here.\r\nFuturpreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Startup Program\r\nThis program allows Black entrepreneurs to access loans between $5,000 to $60,000. There are some eligibility criteria that one must qualify for:\r\n\r\n \tThis program is open for Black entrepreneurs between the age of 18-39.\r\n \tThe business must be less than 12 months old in full-time operation. Purchasing an existing business or a franchise business is also eligible within this program.\r\n\r\nThe program also offers up to two years of mentorship, plus access to resources and networking opportunities with other Canadian entrepreneurs.\r\nSupporting Black-Owned Businesses in Canada\r\nBlack-owned businesses are an integral part of our communities. Check out this curated list of Black-owned/operated businesses that you can support right now. Be sure to share the list—and let us know about other Black-owned/operated businesses you love.\r\nA Different Booklist\r\nA Different Booklist is an African-Canadian-owned bookstore co-owned by Itah Sadu and Miguel San Vincente, that opened over two decades ago. The store showcases the literature of the African and Caribbean Diaspora, the global south, and all the major publishers and independents.\r\nKinkyCurlyYaki\r\n\r\nKinkyCurlyYaki was born out of the need for high-quality textured hair extensions that blend perfectly with all hair types. Their products are handcrafted with 100 per cent virgin human hair and steam processed to create perfectly blendable curls and kinks. There are no synthetic fillers, chemicals or artificial shine or sheen added to any of their products.\r\n\r\nFounder and CEO Vivian Kaye has single-handedly built the company to over seven figures in revenue, and is a business coach focusing on e-commerce.\r\n\r\nhttps://youtu.be/ybaubwrjDW4\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nLondon Ivy\r\n\r\nOwner and Creative Director Monique London created London Ivy out of a need for Canadian-made quality products that helped to achieve radiant hair and skin.\r\n\r\nLondon Ivy is a beauty and wellness company inspiring women to embrace their beauty without compromise. London Ivy’s mission is to help you achieve clearer skin and healthy, hydrated curls, with products you can feel good about. Their handcrafted beauty indulgences are produced in Toronto, Ontario.\r\n\r\nMary’s Brigadeiro\r\nMary’s Brigadeiro is a Black-woman-led business based in Toronto with the mission of realizing Mary’s dream of sharing moments of happiness, joy, and fun through her chocolate creations with the rest of the world—through Canada’s vast multicultural influence.\r\n\r\nBrigadeiro is a composition of sweetened condensed milk, real butter, pure cocoa powder, and fine chocolate. Handcrafted and made with local ingredients, here you can find a variety of delicious flavours and different variations.\r\n\r\nBeach Hill Smokehouse\r\n\r\nBeach Hill Smokehouse is a Toronto-based BBQ joint, co-owned by Terrence Hill and Darien List. They offer central Texas-style brisket, smoked sausage, chicken, and a ton of mouth-watering sides like their souther mac and cheese and loaded beans, and desserts, including their famous bourbon banana pudding.\r\n\r\nBlooming Flower Bar\r\n\r\nOwned by Anji Shukla, Blooming Flower Bar is a boutique flower shop located in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood. Here, you can find a wide assortment of fresh-cut flowers sold by the stem, a DIY flower bar, and a unique selection of plant pots, plants, flower-themed gift items and more.\r\n\r\nFor a comprehensive list of Black-owned businesses to support, visit Afro Biz, where you can find businesses run by Black entrepreneurs all over Canada. Similar resources include the Black Business Directory that can help you find and support Black entrepreneurs in Canada. You can also visit We Buy Black Marketplace to find products from Black-owned businesses that you can support.