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Trudeau announces cash for loans, support to Black Canadian entrepreneurs

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 9:34 am PDT

FILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, July 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The prime minister has announced more than $220 million to support Black business owners and entrepreneurs

The program will help thousands of Black-owned businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow: Trudeau

Black Entreprenership Program includes access to business loans, creation of a hub to identify, overcome barriers

OTTAWA — The federal government is creating a new national program backed by more than $220 million in funding to help Black Canadians get business loans with national banks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black Canadians and put a spotlight on inequality in Canada.

Trudeau announced the creation of Canada’s first Black Entrepreneurship Program while speaking at HXOUSE, a Toronto company aimed at supporting start up businesses.

The federal government, in partnership with financial institutions, will pump nearly $221 million into the program over the next four years.

“It’s another step towards our commitment to address the systemic racism that affects Black communities,” Trudeau said on Wednesday. “We know there’s still more work to be done and we’re committed to doing that work.”

The new program will include $53 million for Black business organization to help entrepreneurs access funding, mentorship, financial planning and business training. Another $6.5 million will go to collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship and identify the barriers preventing Black Canadians from succeeding in business.

The government’s share will total about $93 million over the four years, he explained, adding the program will help thousands of Black-owned businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow.

Ottawa and eight major financial institutions are also creating a loan program to fund Black entrepreneurs with loans between $25,000 and $250,000.

“To Black entrepreneurs: we heard you when you said that investing in the right tools and support create good, sustainable jobs. You’re absolutely right. An investment in Black excellence is an investment in economic empowerment,” Trudeau said.

Support for Black businesses was one of the requests in a June letter penned by the Parliamentary Black Caucus calling on governments across Canada to immediately address systemic racism.

-With files from Monika Gul