Entrepreneurial support offered by Province for Black and Indigenous businesses in Whitby

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Published January 26, 2024 at 4:44 pm

Seven Whitby businesses will each receive $10,000 in support over the next three years, part of a $15 million fund from the provincial government for Indigenous and other entrepreneurs of colour.

The Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program provides free access to business coaching, training and grants. The program will prepare more than 1,200 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs, including 450 entrepreneurs in the first year, for launch and grow successful businesses.

The program will create “great jobs for Ontarians, providing goods and services people need and fostering vibrant and inclusive communities,” said Whitby MPP Lorne Coe.

“Now more than ever, we need to remove disparities for members of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities so we can build bridges to economic success, growth and opportunity,” Coe said.

The seven Whitby business qualifying for the program are:

  • Some Creative Agency
  • AZON Bookkeeping Services Inc.
  • Efairs Ltd
  • com Inc.
  • Taltis Foods Inc
  • Watkin Development Inc.
  • Vegan Delights by Lisa-Ann

The RAISE program is designed to reduce and remove barriers to economic opportunities experienced by entrepreneurs of colour, said Citizenship and Multiculturalism minister Michael Ford.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario. Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs make important contributions to our economy, (but) many continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses,” he said. “As we continue to build a stronger, more inclusive Ontario, our investment into the RAISE program will ensure the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs have the tools, resources and capital they need to transform their passions and innovative ideas into successful and competitive businesses.”

Online training includes modules about business financials, cash flow management, business operations, marketing and public relations strategies and digital transformation. In partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University, the program also provides one-on-one and small group business coaching, as well as networking opportunities to assist entrepreneurs in developing and achieving their business action plans, building networks, connecting to market opportunities and accessing information and services.

“Our government recognizes that when small businesses have the confidence to start and grow their operations, the surrounding communities can expand and prosper as a result,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Our investments in the RAISE program mean Indigenous entrepreneurs will have access to online business tools, leading to enhanced economic development opportunities in every corner of Ontario.”

Initially launched as a pilot in 2022 with an investment of $5 million, the RAISE program has supported more than 450 entrepreneurs.

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