During this Black History Month, and every month, I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black entrepreneurs across Canada. Beyond the incredible products and services you are offering as small business owners, you also build on the foundation of vibrant culture for each and every one of your communities.
The pandemic presented a lot of challenges for small business, and highlighted and exacerbated the barriers that Black entrepreneurs face across the country. So in 2020, our government committed $265 million to create Canada’s first ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program is a partnership between our government, Black-led business organizations, and financial institutions to break down centuries-old historic and systemic barriers that Black Canadians have faced, and help thousands of Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs get access to the support and capital they need to thrive.
We know that when we build a more inclusive economy, we are building a stronger economy. Through the Black Entrepreneurship Program, our government is proud to have supported more than 9,000 Black entrepreneurs, as well as over $45 million in loans to support Black-owned businesses start up and scale up. Ultimately, however, it’s Black business owners who deserve the real celebration. By continuing to share your lived experience and wisdom, you are laying the foundation for sustained economic growth of Black entrepreneurs across the country for years to come.
I look forward to meeting with more of you and learning your stories throughout this year, and I want to thank you for the work you are doing day in, and day out.
The Honourable Rechie Valdez
Minister of Small Business
The Honourable Rechie Valdez was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville in 2021. She is a mother of two, wife, Canadian entrepreneur, television personality, and community advocate. She is the first Filipino-Canadian woman elected as a Member of Parliament and appointed to Cabinet.
Before politics, Minister Valdez owned and operated a small bakery business and was the host of a TV show that shares the stories of entrepreneurs, creators and artists. Prior to that, she worked in corporate banking for 15 years. Born and raised in Zambia, Minister Valdez immigrated to Canada with her family in 1989.