Ryerson University in Toronto is launching a program aimed at helping Black-led startups secure seed funding and mentorship from other Black entrepreneurs.
The Black Innovation Fellowship will focus on incubating startups with tech-enabled products, though companies don’t need to be a “screen-based business.”
“Black entrepreneurs in Canada face distinct barriers to access, from access to seed capital to fewer publicly-recognized role models,” said Dasha Pasiy, a media relations officer at the Toronto university. “For some groups of black Canadians – like newcomers and women – these challenges can be multiple and magnified.”
The program is funded in part by real estate entrepreneur Isaac Olowolafe Jr., President of Dream Maker Corp.–an organization offering capital to seed early-stage startups.
Entrepreneurs will get help seeking venture capital and networking with opportunities to pitch to potential investors. Program participants may also receive seed funding from Olowolafe’s investment fund.
The program will start accepting applications in the new year for its first spring cohort.