BIPOC Foundation receives $2.6M in funding
Feb 18, 2022
Lethbridge, AB… BIPOC Foundation, has received $2.6M in funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada to establish a business accelerator program for Black entrepreneurs in Western Canada. The accelerator based out of Lethbridge will use digital tools to provide programming across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The initiative will provide early-stage entrepreneurs with foundational business and growth training. It will also connect Black business owners and entrepreneurs with investors. This investment along with a similar one in Edmonton are expected to help support over 300 businesses to start and grow across Western Canada, as well as provide training for over 100 Black entrepreneurs across Alberta.
BIPOC Foundation, established by Lethbridge entrepreneurs Clement Esene and Sinmi Adeoye-Esene, was established to create significant entrepreneurship opportunities for diverse communities. As part of the intricate tapestry of Canadian multiculturalism they work among a network of influential non-profits delivering on mandates to diversify the Western Canadian economy. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
“At BIPOC Foundation, our mandate and mission is to be the catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Black and racialized communities in Western Canada. Our purpose is to advance racial equality, gender equality and empowerment while building awareness to eliminate anti-blackness and Indigenous invisibility” says Clement Esene, Executive Director, BIPOC Foundation. “Our Black Founders Hub accelerator program will provide underserved businesses, Black tech startups and scale-ups with training, mentorship, educational resources, business opportunities, cooperation and representation –– closing the economic ecosystem involvement gap evidenced by the low number of Black-led businesses in the region.”
The flagship program for the BIPOC Foundation, Black Founders Hub, will launch March 31st. This 10-week accelerator for Black-led startups in Western Canada will provide foundational training to launch ventures in any sector to underserved Black-Tech startups and scaleups. The program will include idea validation, value proposition, funding approval and customer discovery. Successful graduates will gain access to funders, partners and resources as they work though the Black Founders Hub eco-system.
“We are extremely excited for Sinmi and Clement and are here to help them through their journey as best we can. They are using the tools and resources they’ve learned from their own journey as a start-up located in Tecconnect, to help underrepresented entrepreneurs across Alberta and beyond” commented Renae Barlow, VP Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Economic Development Lethbridge. “With programs and support from RINSA, (Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta) WESTEM (Women Entrepreneurs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and now BIPOC Foundation, entrepreneurs in our region and throughout Western Canada have a wide array of innovative tools and resources and a growing network of organizations that can help them start, grow and ultimately succeed.”
BIPOC Foundation operating out of Tecconnect, A centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has a vision to advance understanding, cultural exchange, cooperation, economic empowerment, and financial inclusion throughout Western Canadian society. Their mission is to craft and facilitate a suite of programs that help launch 500 startups in Western Canada by 2030, while cultivating values of Culture, Equity, Equality, Empathy, Education, and Inclusion.
For more information, contact:
Director, Marketing & Communications
Economic Development Lethbridge