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Feds announce $1.15M for resources to support Black entrepreneurs

Northern Ontario Black Economic Empowerment Program launched by Afro-Heritage Association of Sudbury

Black entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario will now have access to workshops, training seminars, tradeshows, and more to guide them to success in business.

On March 11, the federal government announced $1.15 million in funding for the Afro-Heritage Association of Sudbury to launch the Northern Ontario Black Economic Empowerment Program.

The funds, which come from National Ecosystem Fund and are administered through FedNor, will enable the association to host workshops, training seminars and tradeshows; provide mentorship and consulting services; and support various events and activities that showcase Black talent, excellence, success, and businesses, according to a news release.

The program is designed to address systemic racism and discrimination by providing new opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.

“The program will gather, develop and deliver culturally appropriate support to Black entrepreneurs and business owners to address the gaps in the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem,” the release noted.

Four people will be hired to administer the program.

Charles Nyabeze, who cofounded the program, will serve as its interim executive director.

“The Northern Ontario Black Economic Empowerment Program (NOBEEP) will work alongside the Northern Ontario economic and resource development ecosystem to support and grow Black-owned businesses in Northern Ontario,” Nyabeze said in the release.

Cofounder Chantae Robinson, president of the Afro-Heritage Association of Sudbury, said the program would help Black entrepreneurs “grow their businesses and succeed now and into the future.

“This two-year initiative will allow us to help more than 70 Black-led businesses in their efforts to start up, scale up, create jobs and support sustainable growth in Northern Ontario,” she said.

Launched in 2005, the Afro-Heritage Association of Sudbury is a non-profit organization that seeks to share and promote Afro-Canadian culture and heritage, and promote understanding, communication, and unity in Sudbury.