The Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) announces the Black Entrepreneur Loan Program, an inclusive lending program for Black entrepreneurs. Through the Black Entrepreneur Loan Program, Black entrepreneurs who have been unable to secure funding to date through Canadian financial institutions may be eligible to apply for loans in the range of $10,000 to $50,000.
This new initiative is part of a $10 million, five-year commitment from TD Bank Group announced in September 2021, among one of the largest contributions in Canada to a Black-focused, Black-led and Black-serving organization. This donation aims to support the continued effort of combating anti-Black racism and broader systemic discrimination, create opportunities for economic inclusion and help meet the needs of Black communities across Canada.
Following extensive consultations with Black entrepreneurs in communities across Canada, BOF built a lending capacity and support network with an anti-oppression lens that ensures that Canadian Black entrepreneurs will have a well-capitalized and thoughtful lending partner in BOF.
“We know that Black business owners across Canada are disproportionately rejected in loan applications,” said Craig Wellington, Executive Director of the Black Opportunity Fund. “Systemic racism impacts most Black entrepreneurs, which is why we are dedicated to providing funding and capacity-building support for Canadian Black-led businesses, with the goal of supporting long-term, sustainable business across Canada.”
A 2021 Abacus Data study by the African Canadian Senate Group and Senator Colin Deacon found that access to capital is the greatest barrier for Black entrepreneurs, with 75% stating that they would have difficulty finding $10,000 to support their business. Additionally, Black business owners have low trust in banks, with only 19% of respondents saying they trust banks to do what is right for them and their community.
“TD is committed to helping remove barriers for groups who have traditionally faced obstacles when it comes to financial advice, wealth management and loan access. As part of our five-year commitment to the Black Opportunity Fund, we are pleased to help support equitable access to funding for Black entrepreneurs across Canada,” said Al Ramsay, Vice President, 2SLGBTQ+ and Black Customer Segments, TD Bank Group. “Since 2011, the Bank has conducted research into understanding the needs of Black communities and with the launch of the TD Black Customer Experience Strategy in 2021, and the work the strategy has achieved to date, we are aligned with the Bank’s commitments it made in 2020.”
The Black Entrepreneur Loan Program applications are now open. Applicants must meet specific criteria, including: self-identify as Black; be organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership or incorporated; be over 18 years of age at the time of application; have a web presence; and more.
For full eligibility and application details, visit blackopportunityfund.ca.