Ontario launches $5mn business grant for racialized entrepreneurs

Ontario has pledged $5 million over two years for a targeted program to help racialized entrepreneurs start or grow their business.

The Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) Grant Program will help to remove economic barriers by providing funding, training, and culturally-relevant services to entrepreneurs.

“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. “We are embedding racial equity into our economic recovery efforts and plans for long-term growth to build a stronger Ontario.”

The RAISE 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.

Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 grant to faciliate innovation and growth, as well as training and coaching for sustainable economic development.

Online training for RAISE will include modules about business financials, cash flow management, creating a business plan, business operations, marketing and public relations strategies, and digital transformation.

RAISE will also provide culturally-relevant business coaching to assist entrepreneurs in realizing their business plans and reducing barriers to information and services.

Applications for the RAISE Grant are available on the Digital Main Street Portal. Digital Main Street is a program that helps Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs.

To be eligible for the grant, businesses must be registered/incorporated and based in Ontario and owned by people who self-identify as Indigenous, Black or racialized. More details are available on the Digital Main Street website.

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