Ontario Expanding Economic Opportunity for Entrepreneurs
New business grant supporting Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs
March 17, 2022
Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
The Ontario government is investing $5 million over two years in a targeted program to help Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs start or grow their business. The Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) Grant Program helps 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. “That’s why our government is investing $5 million in the RAISE Grant Program to help more Indigenous, Black and other racialized business owners succeed. 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 help grow local businesses across Ontario and 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.
The Ontario government is removing barriers to economic opportunity, advancing racial equity and supporting local communities to build a stronger, more inclusive province for everyone.
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.
The government recently announced $14 million in additional funding for the Black Youth Action Plan to help community organizations and Black-led businesses create local projects that provide the skills youth need to find jobs in high-growth sectors.
“Ontario is recognizing and supporting the unique business needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses through the RAISE Grant Program. This important initiative will help remove barriers to economic opportunity, advance reconciliation and build a more inclusive Ontario for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in this province.”
- Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs
“We are excited to see the RAISE program launch today, at a time when it is very needed as it will provide targeted, and specific support to entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted by systemic racism. By building on the success of Digital Main Street programming, expanding our partnership with the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, and introducing a new partnership with the Parkdale Center for Innovation we can help deliver a culturally-relevant program that provides support and funding to racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs across the province.”
- John Kiru
Executive Director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Founder of Digital Main Street
“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. I’m proud that our government is leading by example and providing the RAISE program to help support entrepreneurs who will contribute to creating strong, vibrant communities and good jobs.”
- Nina Tangri
Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction
More about the RAISE Grant on Digital Main Street.
The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) is a network representing and supporting BIAs across Ontario.
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) is a non-profit umbrella organization working with the 85 Business Improvement Areas within the City of Toronto, who in turn represent more than 90,000 business and property owners.
Parkdale Centre for Innovation (PCI) is an incubator & accelerator that supports entrepreneurs to start and grow their business, with a focus on equity, accessibility, and inclusion for underrepresented people, namely women, Black, Indigenous, people of color, and newcomers to Canada.