On April 19 the Federal government introduced the 2021 Federal Budget. There have been two debriefs so far to determine what is in it for the Black community and I attended to see what was in there for Black Entrepreneurs.

As I break down the items remember the definition of “Power” The ability to… do something or the ability to direct or influence behaviour.

Item 1 – Increase of 51.7 million to the Black Entrepreneur Program

Item 2 – Increase of funding towards procurement to support the Black Entrepreneur. Undisclosed Amount

Many people are happy about this which is fine but again lets go back to the question of Power. From what I see these two initiatives do not give the Black Entrepreneur Power. Below I have identified where true funds are going in this budget that we need to increase our ability to access. Excerpts from Minister Ng update email below…

“Here are some of the highlights for Canadian businesses:

  • Both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will be extended until September 25th 2021, with the possibility of extension till November depending on the economic and public health situation.
  • Introducing the Canada Recovery Hiring Program: This $595-million-dollar investment will help businesses pivot to recovery with incentives to hire back, grow hours, or increases wages.
  • We announced a historic $4-Billion-dollar investment into a Digital Adoption Program to help Canadian small businesses become more competitive, go digital, take advantage of e-commerce, and become more competitive in Canada and around the world.
  • Supporting Women through COVID-19: We are building on the initial $5-billion-dollar investment in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy through a suite of federal investments and activities totaling $146.9M to address remaining persistent barriers, and support growth opportunities.
  • Starting and Scaling up: We want our Canadian companies to start-up, scale-up, access new markets and be global leaders for innovation. To do this they need access to financing. That is why we are expanding loans to include start-up costs and intangible assets, increasing the maximum loan for the Canada Small Business Financing Program to $500,000 and extending the coverage period to 15 years.
  • Creating the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program: Our government will invest over $100 million dollars to ensure Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is supporting inclusive growth. This program provides new funding for national organizations to support diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses across Canada with financing, mentorship, and advisory services, and will help all Canadians have an equal chance to succeed and contribute to economic recovery and growth.
  • We are investing $450M to enable Canada’s venture capital industry to ensure robust access to capital for the next generation of innovative firms that will emerge and power inclusive growth during the recovery – both broadly across innovation-intensive industries and specifically within the health and bio-sciences sector.
  • As we have always said, the environment and the economy go hand in hand, our budget today invests $17.6 billion into Canada’s green recovery.”

The Final one I believe we need to pay very close attention to. The Federal government has earmarked a large amount of money to create a “Green Economy” so we need to ask ourselves are we part of building this infrastructure. The Federal government spent over 200 billion dollars in procurement in 2020 but how much of that money went to the Black Entrepreneur? The Federal government has a National Housing Strategy with over 26 billion dollars already allocated through CMHC and 3 billion more has been budgeted. How many black developers are getting the contracts to build affordable housing for Canada?

Stay tuned to see how ACBN is helping company access the bigger pool of funds that exist for the Black entrepreneur.

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Ryan Knight Executive Director of Afro Caribbean Business Network

Thoughts from the desk of Ryan Knight.

Executive Director of the Afro Caribbean Business Network Foundation.

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