The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region (CCAWR), in partnership with local organizations and post-secondary institutions including Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Waterloo, will receive nearly $3 million to deliver the National Ecosystem Fund in Waterloo Region and surrounding areas.
The Fund, which is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, is intended to support Black Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners, and will allow the CCAWR to expand their work in supporting and fostering Black entrepreneurship.
“Black Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners have always played a vital role in the economic health and cultural vibrancy of Waterloo Region despite the systemic barriers that continue to stand in their way,” said Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre during the virtual announcement on Aug. 12.
The Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective (CEC) will be supporting the CCAWR with their LiftOff Program, which will "incubate, accelerate and amplify Black entrepreneurship in the region," according to CEC director Rose Mastnak.
This investment from the National Ecosystem Fund will fuel the dreams and opportunities of many future Black business owners. We look forward to bringing our knowledge and expertise to this project with the CCAWR, to develop and deliver programming for Black entrepreneurs, and to help build capacity in the region’s Black entrepreneurship ecosystem," she said.
According to the news release, the LiftOff program will be focused on supporting women entrepreneurs, as well as providing access for Black entrepreneurs to various tools to help them grow their businesses, such as business advisory services and mentorship.
You can read more about the announcement here.