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Federal money to support Black-led businesses in northern Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FEDNOR) is supporting Black businesses owners in the region with $1.1 million to overcome obstacles in starting and growing their businesses.

"Being a member of a visible minority, we know that they face racism and it makes it that much more difficult," said Sudbury Liberal MP Viviane Lapointe. "And some of that racism is felt in institutions as well. So for them to be able to get access to monies, to training, to hiring, so this fund will help them."

The federal funding will be used to establish the Northern Ontario Black Economic Empowerment Program.

"There is still a lot of stigmatism. There is a lot of racism, but here, importantly, are individuals that are succeeding. And how can we support? How can we attract? How can we retain," said Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serré.

The Afro-Heritage Association of Sudbury will oversee the program.

"Ways where we can connect them to the community development centres across northern Ontario," said Chantae Robinson, the president of the association. "As well as providing networking opportunities for our Black entrepreneurs with each other as well as with existing entrepreneurs who can also provide some form of mentorship."

The program will help Black-led businesses all over northern Ontario.

"The first thing we are going to do is establish a location where Black entrepreneurs can come and sit down with us and tell us their story about their businesses, so we can understand their gaps," said Charles Nyabeze, the co-founder of the Northern Ontario Black Economic Empowerment Program. "And once we know what their gaps are, we can then introduce them to the different service providers around the community that they can access."

Over the next two years, the federal funding is expected to help more than 70 Black-led businesses in the region start-up, grow and create jobs. Top Stories


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