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MONTREAL, Feb. 25, 2021 /CNW/ - The Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.), a coalition of Canada's prominent Black business and community support organizations, is pleased that the Government of Canada has partnered with the organization to support the advancement of Canada's Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the delivery and co-development of the federal Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade announced today applications for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund are expected to be accepted as soon as May 2021. There will be up to $30 million in support through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The Government of Canada is also partnering with a group of Canadian financial institutions who have pledged $128 million in additional lending support.
F.A.C.E. which was created by several prominent not-for-profit Black-led organizations, namely the Africa Centre, Black Business Initiative (BBI), Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA),Cote des Neiges Black Community Association, and Groupe 3737, is eager to move forward advising that this investment is vital and comes at a critical time for Black entrepreneurs and business owners who are disproportionately being impacted by the pandemic.
Minister Ng said, "We are pleased to work with F.A.C.E on the delivery of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Program. This is another important step in our continuing work to address systemic racism against Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Loan Fund will be instrumental in helping Black business owners and entrepreneurs get the financial support they need so they can start up, scale up, and grow across Canada and across the world."
Research shows that access to financing to start or grow their business is one of the top barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and business owners. A recent study from the Black Business and Professionals Association (BBPA) comparing the experiences of members of the BBPA and those of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows that the impact of COVID on Black business owners has been more pronounced. Only 10% of Black-owned businesses were fully open, compared to 20% of CFIB member businesses and 80% of BBPA member businesses reported that they did not have cash flow compared to 30% of CFIB members.
"While Canada's small and medium enterprises and self-employed entrepreneurs have faced catastrophic effects including layoffs and closures during the pandemic, Black entrepreneurs are facing an even greater burden in part because of structural inequality, discrimination and access to needed supports," said Tiffany Callender, CEO of F.A.C.E. "Access to these loans will help to support not only Black business owners and entrepreneurs but will also create jobs and support their families, communities and the Canadian economy."
As the country turns to a post-pandemic recovery, it is essential that there be a more meaningful inclusion of Black Canadian voices in policy and economic decisions and that structural barriers such as anti-Black racism and barriers to capital are addressed. The Government of Canada's Black Entrepreneurship Program which includes the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is an important step forward in creating change and providing more inclusive opportunities for Black business owners and entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast.
"The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is an important milestone in opening up capital, innovation and job creation to Canada's Black entrepreneurs and business owners, said Louis-Edgar Jean-François,CPA, CA, Chair and Treasurer, of The Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.) "This provides not only an opportunity to level the playing field but to support the growth of Black-led small and medium enterprises to advance here at home and abroad. We are very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada and some of Canada's leading financial institutions in delivering the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund."
F.A.C.E is a coalition that consists of several prominent Black business and community organizations with a collective 35 years of experience in serving Black Canadian business communities across Canada:
SOURCE Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.)