In a press conference on Wednesday, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the launch of Canada’s first Black Entrepreneurship Program, according to a press release. The program offers investments of up to $221 million in partnership with multiple Canadian financial institutions and the Canadian Government in support of businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

“The pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately hurt Black Canadians, and has underscored the need to restart our economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed,” said the Prime Minister, according to the release.“As we move forward, this program will help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”

The press release reveals the program includes a new National Ecosystem Fund with $53 million dedicated to helping Black entrepreneurs gain access to funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training. A $33.3 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund offers $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners. Plus an allocated $6.5 million will help start a Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub run by Black community leaders and business organizations. 

“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects this. This program was created through collaboration with Black-led organizations, because Black Canadians know what their communities need best,” said The Hon. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. “This is another step towards removing the systemic barriers that exist within our society to create a truly inclusive Canada.”