The Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will increase Futurpreneur’s support of aspiring, young Black business owners through a tailored version of its core offering March 24, 2021 (Toronto, ON) – Futurpreneur Canada today announced a new funding collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to deliver the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, building on its longstanding partnership […]
Launch your dream business with support from an expert team with lived experience.
Our team will guide you through all the steps to embark on your business journey—from planning to financing to launch. Our program for Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 provides startup loan financing and up to two years of mentorship, plus access to resources and networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs across Canada.
With Diversity & Inclusion as core values, Futurpreneur supports young Canadian entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, helping them launch and grow successful businesses.
We launched this tailored version of our core Startup Program specifically to help address some of the barriers to success faced by many aspiring Black entrepreneurs.
This program is funded by RBC, with additional loan financing from BDC.
- Financing from $5,000 to $60,000 in startup loan financing * (up to $40,000 of which is delivered by Futurpreneur, funded by RBC; and up to $20,000 loaned by BDC)
- Up to two years of 1-1 expert mentorship.
- From our interactive Business Plan Writer to our Cash Flow Template, gain access to the resources you need to succeed.
- Engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and Black-led community organizations at a range of entrepreneurship events
- The opportunity to apply for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing funded by RBC, based on the first two years of successful business performance.
Discover and Learn
Tune into our new podcast, Startup + Prosper! Our podcast focuses on key elements of entrepreneurship, while providing a special spotlight on the current state of Black entrepreneurship within Canada. Episodes alternate in English and French. Transcribed translations are available on our YouTube videos. Tune in every other week for a new episode! Listen and subscribe here:Listen to our new Black Entrepreneur
Startup Program podcast:
Startup + Prosper!
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The following are the high-level eligibility requirements for the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program:
- Participants must self-identify as Black and be Canadian citizens or permanent residents age 18-39; and
- When there are only two partners (owners) of the applicant business, the business must be majority Black-owned (> 50%); and
- When there are more than two partners (owners), the business must be at least 25% Black-owned (≥25%).
To review our full general eligibility requirements, see this page.
The Black Entrepreneur Startup Program offers participating Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 across Canada:
- Inclusive financing: from $5,000 to $60,000 in startup loan financing (up to $40,000 delivered by Futurpreneur, funded by Royal Bank of Canada [RBC]; and up to $20,000 loaned by BDC); and
- Mentorship: Up to two years of 1-1 expert mentorship; and
- Resources: From our Rock My Business series, interactive Business Plan Writer to our Cash Flow Template, we provide access to the resources you need to succeed; and
- Networking opportunities: Engage with a growing national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and Black-led community organizations at entrepreneurship events; and
- Follow-on financing: The opportunity to apply for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing delivered by Futurpreneur, funded by RBC, based on the first two to three years of successful business performance.
Starting a business is challenging. Access to capital, financial literacy and unsatisfactory credit are just a few of the key barriers to success for many young entrepreneurs. The access to capital barrier, due to racism and systemic bias in the current financial system, along with business financial literacy are particularly acute for young Black entrepreneurs.
According to the Government of Canada’s fall 2020 consultations with the Black entrepreneurship community, “The issue of access to capital was identified by many participants as the most important issue for Black entrepreneurs. Participants noted that access to capital is crucial for any entrepreneur and that Black entrepreneurs have more difficulty than other entrepreneurs accessing capital.”
This is one of many statements about financing barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs from organizations, including Government of Canada, BDC, Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, and others. Unfortunately, there is sparse data about the extent of this capital barrier, as most institutions do not collect demographic data about borrowers or credit eligibility.
In October 2020, Futurpreneur began collecting data about the barriers faced by our entrepreneurs in different communities, and the findings related to credit barriers are stark. Within the first three months of collecting data, only 17% of all entrepreneurs identified “bad credit score” as a barrier to their success; however, 31% of entrepreneurs who identify as Black identified “bad credit score” as a barrier—more than twice the 15% response rate of entrepreneurs who identify as White.
This is why, alongside mentorship and other supports, our Black Entrepreneur Startup Program includes more inclusive financing criteria for Black entrepreneurs, recognizing and addressing the impact of systemic credit barriers to their business success.
At Futurpreneur we welcome aspiring, young entrepreneurs age 18-39 from all backgrounds to apply for support through our core Startup Program. Successful applicants receive up to $60,000 in loan financing (up to $20,000 from Futurpreneur and up to $40,000 from BDC) and up to two years of mentorship. They also gain access to a range of events, programs and resources.
Building on this program, we also offer the following initiatives:
- Side Hustle program: Sponsored by TD Bank, supports young entrepreneurs who want to launch or grow a part-time business, providing them with up to $15,000 in Futurpreneur loan financing, plus up to two years of mentorship and resources.
- Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program: Provides tailored support to aspiring, young Indigenous entrepreneurs. Delivered by an Indigenous team with lived experience, this program builds upon all the offerings of our core Startup Program, and also provides access to workshops and events led by Indigenous business experts, national networking opportunities and specialized resources.
- Black Entrepreneur Startup Program: Launched in March 2021, this program is delivered by a team with lived experience and builds upon all the offerings of our core Startup Program. Funded by RBC, with additional loan financing from BDC, it provides participants with $5,000 to $60,000 in inclusive startup loan financing and networking opportunities. It also offers the opportunity to apply for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing, funded by RBC, based on the first two years of successful business performance.
In addition to meeting all eligibility requirements for our regular Startup Program, participants in the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program must meet the following requirements:
- Self-identify as Black and be Canadian citizens or permanent residents age 18-39; and
- When there are only two partners (owners) of the applicant business, the business must be majority Black-owned (>50%); and
- When there are more than two partners (owners), the business must be at least 25% Black-owned (≥25%).
To participate in this program, participants must self-identify as Black. Intersectionality is also welcomed (e.g., those who identify as Black and Indigenous are eligible for this program).
Yes, for the purposes of this initiative, intersectionality is welcomed (e.g., those who self-identify as Black and any other ethnicities are eligible for this program).
Our 2,500 volunteer mentors are a diverse group of business professionals, representing a range of ethnicities, including Black, and based in communities across Canada. As part of this initiative, we will continue to build our network, actively onboarding expert Black business mentors who would like to volunteer their time to support young Black entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses. Mentorship is core to the support Futurpreneur provides and has been proven to be a key determinant to the success of a business in its critical first years post launch. While not all mentors for this program will be Black or BIPOC, we know that having strong Black role models with lived experiences will allow for a meaningful, dynamic and authentic experience for mentor and mentee, and will do our best to accommodate requests for Black mentors.
We always welcome new mentors to our mentorship program. If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, please read about our program and sign up to learn more on this page. You can also contact us to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are currently building a national team of Business Development Managers with lived experiences, who will work with cross-functional colleagues and our Director, Black Entrepreneurs to build and oversee our support for young Black entrepreneurs Canada-wide. Led by this team, Futurpreneur will build and maintain relationships with external stakeholder groups, including young Black entrepreneurs and mentors, Black-led organizations and community partners, and corporate and government partners to promote and communicate the key elements of this program.
No, at this time, we offer strictly collateral-free loans supplemented by our mentorship program.
Yes, you are still eligible to apply provided you own a majority of the company–that is, you own more than 50% of the voting shares. Please note that your partner will also appear on the application for your loan if age eligible. You will both be responsible for the loan and its repayment. If there are more than two partners in your business, the business must be at least 25% Black owned to qualify for this program.
Yes, as with all Futurpreneur programs that involve loan financing, Futurpreneur verifies each applicant’s personal credit score and, if applicable, that of their co-founders, i.e., those under the age of 40, permanent residents or Canadian citizens and who own more than 5% of the company’s shares. Credit checks are conducted with the permission of the interested parties. Note: The use of a guarantor is not possible. We have adjusted our credit adjudication model for our Black Entrepreneur Startup Program to make it more inclusive in recognition of the systemic barriers to credit faced by Black entrepreneurs.
To qualify for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing through the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, successful applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The business should not have pivoted to any “ineligible” activity since the original financing was approved. View our complete list of eligible businesses for more information.
- If the business has pivoted to a different model, it should make sense based on the business originally supported.
- The business legal entity should be same as that supported through the first round of financing with the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program. It is acceptable for there to have been a legal entity name change evidenced through Articles of Amendment or Amalgamation, etc. However, if there is a clear disconnect and it is not the same business entity originally financed, it will not be eligible for follow-on financing.
- Follow-on financing is available from year 2 up to year 3 from the original disbursement date.
- The standard Futurpreneur interest rate applies.
- The current business ownership must continue to meet the requirements of the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program.
- Note: The age of applicants is anchored to the age at time of the original application for financing through the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program.
At this time, we are able to provide follow-on financing only to entrepreneurs who have participated in the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program.
As part of our Diversity & Inclusion commitments, Futurpreneur supports entrepreneurs from communities that face systemic barriers to financing and starting a business, including those who identify as Black and Indigenous. With extensive knowledge of the needs of aspiring young Black entrepreneurs, the Director, Black Entrepreneurs and supporting team will be instrumental in helping us develop and deliver bilingual programming that will inspire diverse innovators and founders from across Canada, supporting them in the launch of successful new businesses.
Yes, if you have a new business you are looking to launch, and you and your business meet all the eligibility requirements, you can apply for the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program. Unfortunately, your original business is not eligible for the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program.
OUR PROGRAM PARTNERS
We thank our program partners for helping us support young Black entrepreneurs across Canada.