Stepping up for Black Entrepreneurship

Program focuses on women and youth, to address the persistent structural racial and gender barriers Black women and youth entrepreneurs face in accessing market opportunities, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis it has provoked and increase the number and efficiency of Black owned/led businesses in Niagara.

The program is an expansion on the Financial Literacy and Mastermind for Entrepreneurs services that we offer in general. The entrepreneurship program is 2-pronged; Firstly, Training those wanting to go into self-employment, where a business pitch component will be included in partnership with other institutions and secondly supporting those already in business


  • Leverage TOES Niagara, as a women-focused organization, to increase awareness about the various programs that Black entrepreneurs might be eligible for. Actively collecting and tracking gender and race disaggregated data across key indicators, to assess impact and identify new potential insights for women/black-led businesses.
  • Advocacy: Now more than ever, women entrepreneurs must be more vocal and assertive to get the support they need. They should leverage their networks and join associations to access information and financial and technical support, as well as to advocate for enabling policies and interventions. They should not hesitate to reach out to their banks/investors to ask for moratoriums and other support measures, or to re-negotiate loan terms and other contracts. TOES Niagara through this proposed project, would provide platforms to achieve this.
  • Childcare intervention during in-class business training
  • Rapidly respond to the disproportionate pressures Black Small to Medium Enterprises (BSMEs) face in the context of the ongoing CoVID-19 related crisis that, if unaddressed, can reinforce and deepen structural barriers.
  • Networking and mentoring for business thereby increasing TOES Niagara’s existing offering and growing the number of business awe support.
  • Counselling and Coaching both business and psychological for mental well being
  • Incubation and space hub through which we TOES Niagara will support entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in partnership with the Small Business Enterprise and the Niagara College Business Department
  • Contribute to the economic empowerment and resilience of BSMEs in the context of the large-scale restructuring of the global economy. The Program will deploy innovative solutions for Black led SMEs that will contribute to (a) improving access to markets through more inclusive supply chains; (b) enhancing competitiveness, growth potential, and access to finance by strengthening their ability to leverage digital technologies for their businesses, and (c) leveraging sex-disaggregated data to inform more effective public and private sector interventions
  • Provide remote training and webinars and work to develop other solutions such as one-on-one coaching and counselling to support entrepreneurs get the liquidity they need
  • Access to capital and business support they need to survive the crisis and thrive once it’s over through micro loans or bank- based solutions in partnership with RBC Niagara
  • Minimizing the hurdles these businesses face when accessing financing through entrepreneurship based financial skills workshops (e.g business loan management, credit, digital literacy). It also includes designing specific financial instruments, to better meet their needs in partnership with RBC
  • Providing business support interventions, including technical assistance facilities to provide women & youth-led businesses with advisory services to help them make informed decisions and adjust their business models that will enable them to survive the pandemic while setting themselves up for post-crisis growth.
  • Business Advisory services
  •  Including scenario planning,
  • Business skills such as marketing, accounting, sales
  • Business plans,
  • Cost optimization,
  • Liquidity management and legal advice on contract negotiations.

The program is comprised of the following 6 components:

1 Research and data leveraging

2 Advocacy

3 Comprehensive business training and support services

4 Mentoring and networking

5 Counselling and coaching

6 Incubation and space hub