Minority groups, especially those who identify as BIPOC often deal with systemic barriers that inhibit them from being able to grow their businesses. But now, programs set in place like this one from AMEX Canada is one step closer in breaking down the stigmas faced by BIPOC business owners in our city.
American Express Canada is looking out for Canadian BIPOC businesses this year with the launch of their mentorship and grant program, Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses.
AMEX Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses
Throughout the past few years, entrepreneurship has grown vastly in the city and its been proven to be vital for our Canadian economy to grow. According to a new survey done by AMEX Canada, more than half (53%) of BIPOC respondents described the barriers they’re currently facing as “significant” compared to 37% of white business owners. As well, two-thirds (66%) of BIPOC business owners say they have difficulty accessing capital and financing for their business.
More research shows that 46% of BIPOC entrepreneurs report a lack of access to mentors to guide their decision-making and over two thirds (68%) agree that having consistent access to advice would make them a better business owner.
How To Apply
From now until July 27, 2021, Canadian BIPOC business owners can apply to the Blueprint mentorship and grant program. They’re giving 100 BIPOC business owners access to a comprehensive mentorship program designed to provide the tools, resources and community to help them thrive. All 100 business owners will also receive a $10,000 grant to fuel the growth of their business.
You can apply today here.
Blueprint Mentorship Program
The 15-week mentorship and training program will be conducted by seasoned mentors and subject matter experts on topics ranging from sales and marketing, to operations and leadership. Each participant will take part in workshops, 1:1 coaching sessions and group learning sessions designed to help fuel business growth. On top of this, all eligible applicants will have access to Blueprint’s independent online learning platform. Blueprint is all focuses on the importance of educating our future BIPOC business owners.
Blueprint is powered by the DMZ, a world-leading business incubator, with programming developed in consultation with BIPOC-focused community and business organizations across Canada, including the Afro Caribbean Business Network, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism. Without their voices and strength, this BIPOC program wouldn’t be possible.
Blueprint X Fred VanVleet
Toronto’s very-own Raptor, Fred VanVleet has teamed up with AMEX Canada’s, Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses program to be an advocate voice for change. VanVleet is the owner of his own shop, the FVV Shop and he understands how difficult it can be to start your own business, especially as a BIPOC.
“The truth is that BIPOC business owners don’t have access to the same opportunities as white entrepreneurs. I know firsthand that sometimes passion isn’t enough. I was lucky to have so many mentors who have helped me along the way when building FVV Shop, but unfortunately, not everyone has that same mentorship and level of support”Fred Vanvleet
Fred says he’s proud to be a part of a program that helps the playing field for BIPOC businesses and offers them resources that will help take their entrepreneurial game to the next level. “I’ve worked closely with Amex for a long time now, and I really respect the work they’re doing in the community and the passion they show for supporting businesses, which is a big part of who I am and where I devote my time off the court,” he says.