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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Investing in Free Training for Racialized and Indigenous Entrepreneurs

TORONTO — Ontario is investing an additional $15 million over three years in the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program to provide free access to business coaching, training and grants. The program will prepare more than 1,200 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs, including 450 entrepreneurs in 2023-24, launch and grow successful businesses, creating great jobs for Ontarians, providing goods and services people need and fostering vibrant and inclusive communities.


"Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario. Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs make important contributions to our economy; however, many continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “As we continue to build a stronger, more inclusive Ontario, our investment into the RAISE program will ensure the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs have the tools, resources and capital they need to transform their passions and innovative ideas into successful and competitive businesses.”


The RAISE program is designed to reduce and remove barriers to economic opportunities experienced by Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs. The government is now accepting applications for the 2023-24 intake which will provide eligible entrepreneurs with online business development training, culturally responsive coaching, networking supports and a one-time grant of $10,000.


Online training includes modules about business financials, cash flow management, business operations, marketing and public relations strategies, and digital transformation. In partnership with DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University, the program also provides one-on-one and small group business coaching, as well as networking opportunities, to assist entrepreneurs in developing and achieving their business action plans, building networks, connecting to market opportunities and accessing information and services.


“Our government recognizes that when small businesses have the confidence to start and grow their operations, the surrounding communities can expand and prosper as a result,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Our investments in the RAISE program mean Indigenous entrepreneurs will have access to online business tools, leading to enhanced economic development opportunities in every corner of Ontario.”


Initially launched as a pilot in 2022, with an investment of $5 million, the RAISE program supported more than 400 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs.


Quick Facts


  • Interested entrepreneurs can learn more about the program and apply at Ontario.ca/RAISE.

  • To be eligible for the grant, businesses must be registered/incorporated, based in Ontario and owned by an Indigenous, Black or other racialized individual.

  • In April 2022, Ontario launched the new Ontario.ca/business website to create a single window to make it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to access the information and services they need.

Quotes


"Seed NanoTech applauds the Ontario government for its continued support for diverse entrepreneurs and commitment to driving innovation, growth and connectedness. As a participant in the pilot program, the RAISE program was critical in helping the company expand, enhance its research capacity, strengthen its global research network and boost its digital presence. The grant enabled us to invest in cutting-edge equipment, critical components and software, as well as launch an international research event."


- Dr. Conrad Rizal

Director at Seed NanoTech International Inc.


"This investment in the RAISE program will help more entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses that contribute to building a stronger economy. Racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs, including women, face disproportionate barriers in starting a business due to systemic racism and gender bias. Our government is breaking down barriers, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and building Ontario as the best province to do business in and racialized and Indigenous people are an integral part of that."


- Charmaine Williams

MPP for Brampton Centre


"Our government is ensuring Ontario’s entrepreneurs and small businesses have the supports they need to start-up or scale-up their business. That means removing obstacles 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 support entrepreneurs who will contribute to creating strong, vibrant communities and good jobs."


- Nina TangriAssociate

Minister of Small Business, Ontario

Additional Resources


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