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Province's $5M program aims to remove barriers for racialized, Indigenous entrepreneurs

Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 grant and training to grow their businesses
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Applications are open for a new provincial grant program that aims to help eliminate the economic barriers faced by racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs in Ontario.

With an investment of $5 million over two years, the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) grant program provides funding, training and culturally relevant services to help entrepreneurs start or grow their business.

The program comes on the heels of $14 million in provincial funding for the Black Youth Action Plan for community organizations and Black-led businesses to help youth build careers by providing skills required for jobs in high-growth sectors.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but Indigenous and racialized entrepreneurs often face barriers to financing, market opportunities and networks — key things that can make or break a business,” said Parm Gill, minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, in a news release."We are embedding racial equity into our economic recovery efforts and plans for long-term growth to build a stronger Ontario.”

Successful applicants will be awarded a $10,000 grant. The completion of two to 10 hours of business coaching and completion of online training webinars (seven modules, eight hours in length) is required.

The grant will be delivered through Digital Main Street, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) in collaboration with the Parkdale Centre for Innovation.

Eligible entrepreneurs must be 18 years of age or older, Canadian citizens or permanent residents currently living and operating their business in Ontario, and self-identify as Indigenous, Black or other race.

They must be registered or incorporated and employ one to 10 full-time employees, including sole proprietorship, and up to 25 employees for businesses in the hospitality sector.

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 31, 2022 or until grant funds are exhausted.

Applicants can start the grant process and see a full list of eligibility on the Digital Main Street website.