Equitable entrepreneurship: Resources for business owners from marginalized groups

Starting and maintaining a business can be difficult. However, business owners from marginalized communities face unique obstacles, making succeeding in the business world even harder. Factors such as race, gender and sexual orientation have historically prevented marginalized individuals from receiving opportunities.

While some work has been done to change this, there is still a long way to go to altogether remove these inequities from the business world. Many programs have been developed across Canada to help marginalized businesses thrive despite their challenges. Read ahead to learn about some of these programs and resources.

Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC)

The CGLCC focuses on uplifting 2SLGBTQI+ businesses and entrepreneurs in Canada by connecting them to a support network to aid their business ventures. Working with the Canadian government and several organizations, the CGLCC certifies 2SLGBTQI+ businesses across Canada to participate in their numerous programs and opportunities.

Their programs cover areas such as youth entrepreneurship training, diversity and inclusion training and global business connections.

Digital Media Zone (DMZ) Black Innovation Programs

The DMZ helps to develop technology start-ups by connecting small businesses with customers, industry experts and other resources to drive their success. The DMZ provides programs specifically for Black business owners, designed to help these individuals overcome the unique challenges they face in the technology industry.

Three programs are available to aid Black Canadian start-ups: the launchpad, pre-incubator and incubator. The Launchpad program helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to create their businesses. The Pre-Incubator program supports entrepreneurs in developing their business ideas, researching their market and creating a roadmap for their business. The Incubator program helps already-formed businesses to continue growing. The resources offered through this 18-month program include grants, fundraising support, investor meetings, coaching and networking opportunities. 

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP)

The EDP supports people with disabilities or health conditions looking to start a new business or expand their current one. The program is available in Western Canada and supports residents living in rural and urban communities.

Their services include digital marketing support, business mentorship, business consultations and planning, market analysis and networking opportunities.

The Scotiabank Women Initiative

Scotiabank offers several resources for Canadian women-owned businesses. This includes providing financial support through various loans and grants, publishing online articles and hosting workshops to develop entrepreneurial knowledge.

Scotiabank also offers the Scotiabank Women Initiative Mentor Program, a 12-month one-on-one mentorship program for women. This free program matches business owners with a mentor based on the individual’s unique needs and goals. The business owner and mentor meet monthly for a year, providing the business owner with continuous support in growing their business. Participants will receive personalized support from their mentor and tools for tracking progress and setting goals.

BDC’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan 

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) seeks to provide Indigenous business owners with resources to support their operations and entrepreneurial goals with its Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan.

The BDC offers financial support, including loans with flexible repayment terms. Part of the interest paid on loans is donated to a charity of the individual’s choosing.

The BDC also offers connections with its partners for additional support, such as the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses (CCAB).

Even though marginalized business owners face unique challenges and obstacles in today’s market, several resources are available to assist them along their entrepreneurial journeys. Continue to research other options that suit your specific situation and needs. 

Every entrepreneur deserves the chance to pursue their business goals without barriers. This way, our businesses can reflect and celebrate the diversity of Canada. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *