A groundbreaking new certificate program aimed at supporting aspiring Black founders in the Clean Technology sector is set to launch at Sheridan.

A joint effort between the Afro Caribbean Business Network (ACBN) and Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub, with support from the Pilon School of Business and Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS), Black Founders in Clean Technology will be delivered in a primarily virtual format from October 4 – December 6. ACBN is offering up to 10 scholarships for Black founders and aspiring entrepreneurs to help remove barriers to participation.

As the demand for sustainable and innovative solutions in the cleantech industry grows, the first-of-its-kind program provides a platform for Black entrepreneurs to thrive and make a significant impact in the sector.

Black Founders in Clean Technology focuses on engaging participants in an Afrocentric and non-traditional approach to learning. Upon completion of the program, participants will have examined existing business ideas within the cleantech industry, reviewed the market potential of their own start-up ideas, crafted compelling value propositions and developed connections that sustain continued personal and professional growth.

In-person program components will be hosted at Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub, located at the Davis campus in Brampton. The program will be delivered in a learning environment that aims to honour the personal experiences of students and works to build their business networks through reflective and group coaching activities.

“EDGE is proud to work with ACBN to support the growth of Black founders within clean technology. Our goal is to see new Black-led cleantech at the forefront of this work that’s so crucial for our planet’s sustainability,” says Renee Devereaux, Director of Sheridan EDGE.

The Black Founders in Cleantech program builds upon the ongoing collaborative relationship between educators at Sheridan and ACBN. To date, the partnership has yielded a collaborative research project and continued development of a best practice guide for Black business owners. Sheridan has also co-hosted some of ACBN’s flagship events including the Legacy Symposium and Federal Black Ecosystem Conference.

Ryan Knight, President of ACBN, said, “While working with Black entrepreneurs, we saw gaps in business infrastructure, mental health support, intergenerational connections and representation in the cleantech industry. ACBN decided to tackle these gaps through the Federal Black Entrepreneurship Program, mandated to support Black entrepreneurs. The findings of our Labour Market study identified a lack of Black founders in the cleantech industry. We combined forces with our long-standing partner, Sheridan’s EDGE, to design an introductory certificate in Cleantech to expose Black founders to the industry. We hope to see Black founders gain a deeper understanding of the industry and start businesses in the sector.”

Black Founders in Cleantech was developed and will be led by Sheridan professor Shereen Ashman, along with guest speakers who are experienced clean technology entrepreneurs. The program is designed to not just provide theoretical foundations for participants, but also provide learnings from active practitioners who will share real-world examples.

“It’s been my honour and joy to develop learning experiences that centre Black identity alongside ancestral principles and practices that value nature, community care and collaborative edge,” said Ashman. “I look forward to playing a supportive role in their entrepreneurial journeys to bring about innovations that are good for people and the planet.”

The program has 15 spaces available to the public. Early registration is encouraged to secure a spot. Register for the Black Founders in Clean Technology program.

About Clean Technology

Clean technology refers to any process or product that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy-efficient improvements, the use of sustainable resources and environmental protection actions.

About Afro Caribbean Business Network (ACBN)

Founded in 2018, ACBN works to unify and educate Black entrepreneurs in its network of more than 3000 businesses. ACBN has cultivated a community for Black business owners where they can cross-promote their products and services to build their ventures and participate in relevant business and personal growth workshops.

About Sheridan’s EDGE

Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub helps purpose-driven entrepreneurs and changemakers create equitable and sustainable change for a more just and socially, culturally and economically responsible world. We are an integral part of Generator at Sheridan, where researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and changemakers, united by passion and purpose, come together to drive meaningful impact for industry and communities. Visit edge.sheridancollege.ca

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