In honour of Small Business Month a new funding option for Black Entrepreneurs

This innovative fund was developed in partnership with (ACBN) Afro Caribbean Business Network Foundation, (SETSI) Social Economy Through Social Inclusion, (DLF) Dream Legacy Foundation, (E4x) Empowered 4x and Alterna Savings Credit Union.

Providing low interest loans at prime plus 1.25% for entrepreneurs of African and Caribbean descent. One of the first of its kind in Ontario, Canada, the launch of this community lending program with the support of Alterna Savings Credit Union. Provides a remarkable opportunity for Black business founders to obtain loans between $500 and $25,000.

Join us for our launch event on November 5th at 10am for a deep dive into the details of the program and to hear from each partner.

Afro Caribbean Business Network Foundation is a Not-for-Profit Black-led, Black serving organization that strives to provide Brampton and the Greater Toronto Area’s Black business owners with the necessary tools to increase their financial literacy through workshops and coaching. ACBN is now establishing the ACBN MicroLoan Fund that not only provides business support and but is able to approve low-interest loans to entrepreneurs that are having trouble getting funding through traditional banks.

Empowered 4x is on a mission to create spaces to empower entrepreneurs to be top performance leaders and exponentially amplify the difference they   make. Our collaborative spaces equip founders with our Business C.R.E.W. (Capacity Resource Empowerment Workforce), composed of experts in business planning, legal, funding, marketing and accounting to take your business to the next level. We will hold you accountable to execute on your vision by putting the right supports around your idea.

It’s for people who are serious about transforming the status quo of business operations and stepping into the next phase with an entity that will be profitable and have maximum impact for the community. When executed right, ventures are positioned to raise additional Social Finance funds to further grow and amplify the great work that they do.

The Dream Legacy Foundation (DLF) is fostering black entrepreneurship across Canada. With our six core program areas, we are harnessing the talent that is found within the Black community in Canada. We aim to #ChangeTheNarrative. We are taking a holistic and self-help approach to eliminating all systemic barriers so that our communities can thrive. There is a wealth of entrepreneurial talent and a hunger for innovation that is within our community. DLF is working towards creating the conditions for unlocking that full potential. The partnership includes the use of our multi purpose venue Dream Suites as the headquarters for the MicroLoan Program. A place that entrepreneurs can use as office space and meet with business coaches.

Areas of focus include:

  • Entrepreneurship: Fostering the next generation of Black Canadian entrepreneurs.
  • Economic Inclusion: Breaking the economic barriers for the underrepresented.
  • Financial Literacy: Providing tools and skills to make responsible financial decisions.
  • Convening: Connecting the community through the means of technology.
  • Health Research: Building innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for all.
  • Cultural Identity: Promoting our rich culture and the contributions of Black Canadians.

Underrepresented communities continue to face barriers in accessing lucrative entrepreneurship opportunities created by Canada’s burgeoning technology-driven innovation sector. Black entrepreneurs in particular encounter steep challenges when starting and growing a business – from accessing seed capital to having fewer publicly recognized role models.

This is why Dream Legacy Foundation joined forces with Ryerson DMZ and a community of Founding Partners to develop the Black Innovation Fellowship (BIF). The first-in-Canada fellowship program will provide startups led by Black entrepreneurs with the strengthening support of a top university-based incubator network, as well as additional programming, mentorship, events, and connections to industry, capital and an alumni network, to support their success and growth.

Social Economy Through Social Inclusion (SETSI) has worked diligently to raise awareness of social finance and community economic development amongst African Canadian communities from the inception of the org. As an ally, they have effectively provided opportunities and contributed extensively to many organizations. Over the first nine months of 2020, they have convened 39 webinars and training sessions that have engaged 2459 social purpose organization leaders and constituents from across Canada. They have also developed and maintained a network table, participated in multiple network planning tables, as well as supported many ecosystem mobilization initiatives.

As an organization, they are laying the groundwork for a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible economic development ecosystem. It is clear that diversifying the face of the social finance, social economy, and community economic development institutions and organizations in Canada to establish equitable access to capital for African Canadian entrepreneurs. For greater context please review From the Margins.

Since they embarked on this ambitious journey of adding to the “faces” of the aforementioned sectors leadership, they have cultivated remarkable relationships and on-boarded allies. The following link articulates some of their partners in this work and collective key actions, Joint Statement.

Building on the work of the joint statement with notable leaders, SETSI’s goals are clear:

  • Meaningful engagement of BIPOC
  • Establishing and deploying anti-racist practices, especially addressing anti-black racism
  • Diversifying board governance
  • Deepening the conversation on equity
  • Enhancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) practices
  • Mandating diversity and inclusion
  • Implementation of race-conscious approaches to counter persistent racial inequities in access to capital.
  • Establish new social contracts that enable shared prosperity.

Social Innovation is often defined as having new approaches that generate better results for people, communities and the world in which they live in. The ACBN Foundation Micro Loan Fund is a prudent and practical opportunity to build organizational and community capacity to innovate and improve outcomes for entrepreneurs.

This fund starting with the capacity of $250,000 will cater to entrepreneurs that need less than $25,000 to sustain business operations or help with bookkeeping and getting financial documents completed which can support them to qualify for new incentives similar to CEBA Canadian Emergency Business Account.

Research findings provide context to the challenges facing business owners of African Descent.  Unfortunately, disaggregated, business-focussed research on Canadian people of African Descent is limited. However, we can consider the small sample size survey ACBN was able to complete to understand how business owners are navigating Covid supports from the Government. For the full report visit this link

“Most people think of microfinance as something that helps people in the developing world alone, but the impact of microfinance can be felt in any community that supports creative, industrious entrepreneurs,” said Premal Shah, President of “Kiva’s micro-loan model is extremely relevant to low-to-moderate income, entrepreneurs, especially given the current economic conditions which makes access to credit a very real problem.

We ACBN are in prime position to get supports out the door to those that need it quickly and build on this foundation to help more as we grow. This is a call out to the community to not be patient and for us to begin to create our own solutions. If the government would like to come on board to support that will be great but we cannot wait for aide.

We must create our own. The time is now!


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