Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund (BELF), through a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and financial institutions, will provide $291.3 million to support the success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.

BELF will provide loans of up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs across Canada, with a goal of laying a foundation for future success and long-term change. A micro-loan pilot project will offer loans of $10,000 to $25,000 to Black entrepreneurs in Ontario and British Columbia.

Who is eligible for BELF?

To be eligible for BELF, an applicant must:

  • Self-identify as Black or Black-led (majority ownership of more than 51% by Black Canadians).
  • Be a legal resident of Canada: Canadian citizen, permanent resident, conventional refugee (for micro loans only) or a legal entity owner and controlled by a Canadian citizen or citizens.
  • Be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • Be a start-up or existing for-profit business.
  • Be a corporation, sole proprietorship, for-profit social enterprise, or a cooperative.
  • Have a business plan, business registration, and recent financial statements (or financial projections for start-ups).

Non-profit organizations are not eligible for loans under this program. 

What can the loan be used for?

Loans can be used for:

  • Capital investments: equipment, leasehold improvements, property improvements, office equipment
  • Working capital: inventory, payroll, lease payments, accounts management, overhead costs
  • Short-term receivable financing (for example: financing to service a contract)

Loans cannot be used for:

  • Financing items such as goodwill
  • Restructuring conventional business-related debts
  • Dividend payout
  • Shareholder loan repayment or issuance
  • Bonuses
  • Stock buybacks
  • Increase to shareholder or management committee compensation

What is the micro-loan pilot project?

Two credit unions (Alterna Savings and Vancity) will be offering micro-loans of between $10,000 and $25,000 to Black entrepreneurs in Ontario and British Columbia. The Government of Canada and F.A.C.E. (Federation of African-Canadian Economics) will review the success of the pilot project with a goal of expanding it across Canada.

Who is administering the BELF program?

The Federation of African-Canadian Economics (F.A.C.E.)  is the designated administrator. It is a federally incorporated on-profit created by a group of Black Business Support Organizations across Canada. Those organizations are:

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will partner with F.A.C.E. to deliver the Loan Fund. In the coming months, other financial institutions will be onboarded as partners and continue working together to better serve Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs. 

How much money can I get?

F.A.C.E can provide loans of up to $100,000; loans above this amount will be risk-shared with BDC. The micro-loan program offered by Alterna and Vancity credit unions will offer loans between $10,000 and $25,000.

Where and when can I apply for BELF?

The application portal, accessible on the F.A.C.E. website, opened to applications on May 31, 2021. Through the portal, loan applicants will be able to submit an application and also communicate with a F.A.C.E. client relationship manager on the progress of their application.  

What if I don't get approved?

Applicants who are not approved for a loan will be referred to regional F.A.C.E. member organizations/affiliates for help with capacity building to support their re-application at a later date.

Alternatively, you can visit the Government of Canada Business Benefits Finder which provides the opportunity to explore other available funding options. 

The Regional Development Agencies provide a variety of business support services and deliver the Ecosystem Fund which is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program .  

For more information on the Black Entrepreneurship Program, including BELF, please visit the F.A.C.E website.