Ontario Investing in Free Training for Racialized and Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Whitby

January 26, 2024

WHITBY — Ontario is investing an additional $15 million over three years in the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) program to provide free access to business coaching, training and grants. The program will prepare more than 1,200 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs, including 450 entrepreneurs in 2023-24, launch and grow successful businesses, creating great jobs for Ontarians, providing goods and services people need and fostering vibrant and inclusive communities.

Seven Whitby businesses will receive $10,000 in funding through the RAISE program:

  • Some Creative Agency
  • AZON Bookkeeping Services Inc.
  • Efairs Ltd
  • Sheldonlevene.com Inc.
  • Taltis Foods Inc
  • Watkin Development Inc.
  • Vegan Delights by Lisa-Ann

The RAISE program is designed to reduce and remove barriers to economic opportunities experienced by Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs. The government is now accepting applications for the 2023-24 intake which will provide eligible entrepreneurs with online business development training, culturally responsive coaching, networking supports and a one-time grant of $10,000.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario. Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs make important contributions to our economy; however, many continue to face systemic barriers in starting and growing their businesses,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “As we continue to build a stronger, more inclusive Ontario, our investment into the RAISE program will ensure the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs have the tools, resources and capital they need to transform their passions and innovative ideas into successful and competitive businesses.”

“Now more than ever, we need to remove disparities for members of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities so we can build bridges to economic success, growth and opportunity” said Whitby MPP Lorne Coe and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier. I’m proud that our government is leading by example and providing the RAISE program to help support Whitby entrepreneurs who will contribute to creating a strong, vibrant community, and good jobs.”

Online training includes modules about business financials, cash flow management, business operations, marketing and public relations strategies, and digital transformation. In partnership with DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University, the program also provides one-on-one and small group business coaching, as well as networking opportunities, to assist entrepreneurs in developing and achieving their business action plans, building networks, connecting to market opportunities and accessing information and services.

“Our government recognizes that when small businesses have the confidence to start and grow their operations, the surrounding communities can expand and prosper as a result,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Our investments in the RAISE program mean Indigenous entrepreneurs will have access to online business tools, leading to enhanced economic development opportunities in every corner of Ontario.”

Initially launched as a pilot in 2022, with an investment of $5 million, the RAISE program supported more than 450 Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs.

Quick Facts

  • Interested entrepreneurs can learn more about the program and apply at Ontario.ca/RAISE.
  • To be eligible for the grant, businesses must be registered/incorporated, based in Ontario and owned by an Indigenous, Black or other racialized individual.
  • In April 2022, Ontario launched the new Ontario.ca/business website to create a single window to make it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to access the information and services they need.

Additional Resources