Futurpreneur has been celebrating the early success of its Black Entrepreneur Startup Program (BESP), which has provided critical financing, mentorship and business resources to Canada’s Black entrepreneurs during its first six months of operation.
The program, which is a funding collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) with additional loan financing from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), launched on March 24th of this year and supported its first young, Black entrepreneur client with loan financing and mentorship the very next day.
A tailored version of Futurpreneur’s core program specifically for Black entrepreneurs aged 18-39, and delivered by a team with lived experience, the BESP aims to break down barriers to funding and mentorship for Black aspiring entrepreneurs in Canada. Through the program, Black entrepreneurs can gain access to loans of up to $60,000, as well as a raft of resources, mentorship and networking opportunities. For lasting impact, Futurpreneur also offers $40,000 in follow-on financing to further assist Black business owners in their growth, in a space where access to funding is a huge obstacle. The program also boasts more inclusive lending criteria.
As Canada’s only national, non-profit organization providing financing, mentorship and resources to aspiring business owners aged 18-39, Futurpreneur is passionate about making entrepreneurship accessible and inclusive, and is particularly proud of the achievements of the BESP. In a time where Black women face significant barriers when it comes to accessing funding, nearly 50% of the more than 60 new businesses supported by the BESP in its first six months are led by women entrepreneurs.
“At Futurpreneur, we firmly believe that creating a more inclusive business ecosystem directly results in greater overall economic prosperity,” says Mona-Lisa Prosper, Director of the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program. “It gives me immense joy to see what our program has achieved in only six months – how it contributes to the vibrancy and resiliency of Canada’s Black business community, and in particular, the access it has provided to Black women. This is only the beginning, and we look forward to expanding our program offering to reach more aspiring entrepreneurs across the country well into the future.”
Hilina Hitimana, a Montreal-based young entrepreneur and dental hygienist, always dreamed of addressing the barriers related to access to good quality oral care. When Quebec announced that dental hygienists were able to work without dentist supervision as of September 2020, Hilina jumped on the opportunity to start her own business, Clinique Belle Heritage, with the support of Futurpreneur. “Futurpreneur really taught me the meaning of being an entrepreneur,” says Hitimana. “With no previous business background, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Futurpreneur helped me organize my ideas into a business plan which allowed me to obtain funding, and I was connected with an experienced mentor who I regularly keep in touch with. I am incredibly grateful for everything that the organization has done, and continues to do, for my business.”
The BESP has provided an opportunity to showcase and support the rich ecosystem of Black entrepreneurship in Canada. Over the last six months, Black-owned businesses have launched across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan with the support of Futurpreneur’s dedicated program.
With Diversity and Inclusion as core values, Futurpreneur is committed to supporting the next wave of Canada’s Black entrepreneurs and working to position them for success. The national, non-profit organization encourages any young Black aspiring entrepreneurs to reach out for support on their business idea. There are also several free resources available to all entrepreneurs via the Futurpreneur website.
BACKGROUND ON THE PROGRAM
Futurpreneur has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of enterprising young Canadians for over 25 years. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentorship and resources to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. More than 14,400 young Canadian entrepreneurs, spanning every province and territory, have successfully launched their business with Futurpreneur’s support. Their main street businesses help drive Canada’s inclusive economic prosperity in communities from coast to coast to coast. Futurpreneur is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, funded by RBC with additional loan financing from BDC, provides Black aspiring entrepreneurs aged 18-39 with financing and mentorship, plus access to resources and networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs across Canada. The program offering includes $5,000 to $60,000 in startup loan financing (up to $40,000 of which is delivered by Futurpreneur, funded by RBC; and up to $20,000 loans by BDC), inclusive financing criteria, up to two years of guidance from an experienced mentor, access to a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and Black-led community groups, as well as resources, including Futurpreneur’s interactive Business Plan Writer and Cash Flow Template, plus a newly launched credit information video series and resource guide. Plus, based on the first two years of business performance, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to obtain up to $40,000 in follow-on funding from RBC.
Clinique Belle Heritage is a Montreal-based dental hygiene clinic that is committed to providing accessible, affordable and quality dental hygiene care to its customers. Founded by dental hygienist Hilina Hitimana, the company name was inspired by teeth being one’s heritage that should be protected in order to live the best quality of life that a full set of healthy teeth can give. The company aims to address the barriers to access when it comes to good quality oral care, by offering affordable dental hygiene services.