Empowering Black Entrepreneurs: Canadian Contest Offers Boost

2 mins read

Starting a new business is a daunting task, especially for those facing multiple barriers. Securing crucial funding, particularly for racialized individuals or new immigrants without collateral assets like homes, can pose significant challenges.

Recognising these obstacles, the non-profit organisation Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society (BEBC), based in British Columbia, is leveraging Black History Month for the second consecutive year to host a competition aimed at addressing these issues.

Canada’s only Black Pitch Contest offers a substantial prize of $25,000 to assist Black entrepreneurs in launching or accelerating their businesses. Participants not only compete for financial support but also gain access to invaluable tools, resources, and opportunities to reach customers. Additionally, they receive education and support in applying for the Black Business Awards.

Jackee Kasandy, founder of BEBC, established the organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic after encountering similar challenges in launching her own business. Unable to secure a significant loan due to the absence of home ownership, Kasandy resorted to maxing out credit cards over four years to launch her company.

Reflecting on her journey, Kasandy emphasised the profound impact lack of funding has on aspiring entrepreneurs and aims to address this issue by providing support through initiatives like the Black Pitch Contest.

The success of last year’s campaign, which awarded $25,000 to deserving entrepreneurs, showed the transformative potential of such awards for small businesses. For example, it enabled recipients to purchase essential equipment needed to scale up operations and secure new accounts.

Deress Asghedom, founder and CEO of B.C.-based tech startup Vaster, attested to the invaluable benefits of participating in the contest. Despite not winning the cash prize, Asghedom highlighted the exposure and networking opportunities gained through the experience.

The Black Pitch Contest stands as a testament to the power of community support and empowerment in fostering entrepreneurship. By providing financial assistance, resources, and networking opportunities, initiatives like these play a crucial role in levelling the playing field and empowering Black entrepreneurs to realise their business dreams.