FedDev Ontario invests over $1.9 million to support 275 Black entrepreneurs and Black-led businesses and create 80 jobs
MEDIA RELEASE via Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
August 16, 2022—Hamilton, ON
Black entrepreneurs are a vital contributor to Canada’s economy and our nation’s rich culture, though they are often faced with barriers to success. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of these contributions and is proud to support projects that provide Black entrepreneurs with support and contribute to building a strong, inclusive and equitable future for all Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a non-repayable investment of over $1.9 million for Empowerment Squared. Empowerment Squared is a not-for-profit organization that empowers newcomer, racialized and marginalized communities in Canada through mentorship, access to post-secondary education, professional skills development, entrepreneurship, sports and recreation in the greater Hamilton and Windsor areas.
With this investment, through the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) Ecosystem Fund, Empowerment Squared will create the Southwestern Ontario Black Business Network. This consortium of partners will provide Black entrepreneurs in the Hamilton and Windsor areas with advisory services, mentorship, entrepreneurial training and networking opportunities to help them succeed.
Today’s investment will support the creation of 80 new jobs and 275 Black entrepreneurs and reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to removing barriers to success and celebrating the positive economic impacts of Black entrepreneurs in Canada
“We are proud to support Empowerment Squared and the work it does for Black entrepreneurs in Hamilton and Windsor. The Government of Canada’s support through the Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund is an important step to ensure that Black entrepreneurs and business owners have the tools they need to access the capital, services, mentorship, and networking opportunities to succeed and drive inclusive economic growth in our communities.”
– The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“Through the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Government of Canada is working alongside Black-led not-for-profit organizations and academic institutions to ensure Black Canadian entrepreneurs have access to critical knowledge, capital, tools and supports they need. This is just one part of our whole-of-government approach to taking action against anti-Black racism and supporting an inclusive future for all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“The Government of Canada is committed to providing every Canadian with equal opportunity for success. With this support, Empowerment Squared will be able to provide invaluable on-the-ground support, mentorship and guidance to Black entrepreneurs in Hamilton to help our community succeed.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for Public Services and Procurement and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas
“Through the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Government of Canada is working alongside Black-led organizations to ensure Black Canadian entrepreneurs have access to critical knowledge, capital, tools and support they need. This investment in Empowerment Squared to create the Southwestern Ontario Black Business Network is just one part of our whole-of-government approach to supporting an inclusive future for Black entrepreneurs in Windsor-Tecumseh and across Canadians.”
– Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh
“As the Black community continues to deal with the historical deficits caused by marginalization, we are pleased to have a partner in FedDev Ontario that is willing and intentional about providing the resources and investment required to empower Black entrepreneurs. This initiative will also support the COVID-19 recovery efforts where businesses in the Black community were disproportionately affected.”
– Leo Nupolu Johnson, Founder & Executive Director, Empowerment Squared
- Empowerment Squared is a registered Canadian charitable organization dedicated to empowering newcomer, racialized and marginalized youth and communities. It was founded in 2007 as Global Citizens Care for Underprivileged and Refugee Empowerment as a means to respond to the needs of the newcomer community in Hamilton. It has supported more than 3,000 newcomers, youth and their families since its inception.
- The Government of Canada is working to address long-standing barriers with its first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP)—a $265 million investment to support the long-term success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Canada’s Regional Development Agencies deliver the BEP’s Ecosystem Fund, and work with selected partner organizations to assist them in implementing their services.
- Including today’s announcement, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has announced over $50 million for over 22 Black-led for-profit and not-for-profit organizations through the BEP Ecosystem Fund in southern Ontario.