Organizations, directories and scholarships promoting North American Black businesses and professionals
At Lightspeed, diversity and inclusion are in our DNA. But as a global leader in the tech space, we know we can and must do better in the fight against anti-Black and systemic racism. To hold ourselves accountable to our ideals, we are committing ourselves to a multi-part action plan to support the Black technology and business communities and our BIPOC community at large, including a $100,000 CAD donation to organizations that provide education, representation and resources to Black youth and professionals in the tech industry.
In addition to other efforts, we’ve compiled resources that uplift and support Black businesses and professionals in North America, through organizations for economic development, directories of Black-owned businesses and scholarships for the next generation of Black professionals.
Going forward, we’ll also prioritize content that features BIPOC business owners more prominently and share resources that better address the needs of our diverse communities.
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From supporting entrepreneurs to giving Black-owned businesses a platform for economic opportunities, these organizations are dedicated to supporting Canada’s extensive networks of Black professionals.
Black Business Initiative
The Black Business Initiative (BBI) provides business education and financial assistance to Black-owned Nova Scotian businesses.
Nova Scotian businesses with at least 33% Black ownership may apply for loans to start or expand their business, provided they have a viable business plan with 2-year cash flow projections. Both term loans (maximum of $25,000) and micro loans (maximum of $5,000) are available.
Training courses are available for sales training, financial management, digital marketing and more. Through BBI’s Constructing the Future program, they also work to build the skills and employment opportunities of working age Black tradespersons in Nova Scotia.
Black Business and Professional Association
The Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) is a Toronto-based group with a mission to support Black businesses. BBPA has been operating since 1983 to enrich the employment and economic opportunities of Black professionals and Businesses in Canada.
BBPA programs include the Youth Entrepreneurial Development Training Program for youth interested in creative, performing and culinary arts, financial literacy courses and more.
To foster the economic and entrepreneurial development of young Black professionals in Canada, BBPA hosts the Young Professionals Mentorship Program. Open to members and non-members alike, this program connects young professionals with business leaders to nurture and expand their opportunities and capabilities.
Black Professionals in Tech Network
The Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN) is an organization seeking to connect Black tech and business professionals with career opportunities, skill development and a peer network.
BPTN corporate partners can access high-caliber talent to fill diverse roles in their organizations, thought leadership on diversity and inclusion and talent engagement strategies to increase retention of Black professionals in their organization.
By getting involved with BPTN as either a member or a corporate partner, you help build connections between the Black and tech communities that enrich teams with diverse leadership and ideas.
BPTN’s mentorship program helps Black tech professionals get connected to industry insights, network opportunities and tech leaders to aid in excelling in the North American tech ecosystem.
Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) is a non-profit with a mission to serve commerce and economic development within Canada’s Black diaspora. Through access to partnerships, promotional services, professional contacts and business agreements, the CBCC seeks to give Black-owned businesses a platform to grow into Canadian, Caribbean and African markets.
The CBCC has chapters across Canada, with the head chapter in Toronto. These individual chapters allow the CBCC to serve Black-owned businesses in their area with resources, events and partnerships relevant to their region, and gives each region a voice at the wider leadership table.
From mentorship to free, confidential business advisory services to bids and contract opportunities, the CBCC hosts programs and resources developed for the success of Black-owned businesses.
CAMSC is an organization dedicated to championing aboriginal and minority suppliers in the Canadian supply chain.
Businesses that supply products or services to other businesses and are 51% or more owned by visible minorities can apply for CAMSC certification. This will add your business to the CAMSC certified supplier database, making your business easily searchable for CAMSC corporate members looking to diversify their supply chain. You’ll also be put in contact with procurement managers to better abstain business opportunities and benefit from enhanced access to the US market.
CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals
The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals is a Toronto-based charity that aims to address economic and social barriers that may be affecting Black youth. Their focus is on youth workforce development and education to improve the personal and societal conditions for Black youth.
CEE programs focus on career training, particularly in culinary arts, media and entertainment, tech, trades, social services and VFX. There are also programs open for young Black people who are not sure of their intended career path and who wish to understand what the working world holds for them.
In addition, CEE is active in combating anti-Black racism and helping Black-focused, lead and serving non-profits strengthen leadership and organizational scale through Black to The Future.
From formal organizations to grassroots social media profiles and community-sourced documents, these business directories help Canadians find Black owned businesses to support in their area.
AfroBiz.ca is a comprehensive directory of Black-owned businesses in Canada. Home to listings of more than 1500 businesses and organizations, AfroBiz.ca splits their directories up by city, making it easy to find what you’re looking for in the city you’re in. Submitting your business for listing is free.
In addition to city-specific business directories, AfroBiz.ca hosts country-wide event listings on their site.
blackmontrealbusinesses (BMTLB) is an Instagram-based group made to showcase Black-owned businesses in Montreal, from art and fashion to food and photography and more. Through posts and stories, BMTLB gives Black Montrealers a platform to reach customers who want to support Montreal’s Black business community.
Black Owned MTL Restaurants
Montrealers looking to grab a bite can check out this informal directory of Black-owned restaurants in the city. Included in each listing are addresses, opening hours and delivery details. The directory creators have also put together a Google Maps map to help Montrealers quickly identify which restaurants are in their neighborhood at a glance.
Black-Owned Calgary Businesses
Hungry in Calgary? This informal directory of Black-owned businesses in Calgary features restaurants with a variety of cuisines, from bakeries and bubble tea to vegan fare and Caribbean, Nigerian and Ethiopian dishes. The directory lists which businesses are offering takeout and delivery so you can patron them while following social distancing guidelines.
Black Owned Toronto
Black Owned Toronto—blackowned.to on Instagram—is a showcase of Black-owned businesses in Toronto and the GTA. Artists, fashion stores, hair stylists, restaurants and more are regularly featured in their posts and stories, inspiring Toronto’s community to patronize local black businesses.
ByBlacks is an online magazine serving the Black Canadian community with news and opinions on current events, arts and culture, history, contemporary life and more.
In addition to hosting their online magazine, ByBlacks features directories for Black Canadian artists, businesses, events, non-profits and restaurants. Listings in ByBlack’s directories are free and open to any Black Canadian owned venture.
SEE Collective London directory
London, Ontario’s SEE Collective has begun compiling a directory of Black-owned businesses in their community, from restaurants to fashion to services such as print shops and co-working spaces. The directory is under construction, so check back regularly for new listings.
These initiatives were developed to support Black students as they study to become professionals in their field.
BBPA National Scholarship Fund
The Black Business and Professional Association’s National Scholarship Fund has been promoting the academic excellence of Black Canadian students since 1984.
There are three scholarship categories:
- First Generation Scholarships: these scholarships are available to students in Ontario who are the first in their family to attend university or college.
- BBPA Legacy Scholarships: these scholarships are awarded in the names of Black Canadians who left an impact on their area of expertise.
- Sponsored/Named Scholarships: these scholarships are funded directly by corporations or individuals.
Black Foundation of Community Networks Scholarships
The Black Foundation of Community Networks is a non-profit that focuses on providing low-cost and free programs for Black community development. Part of this initiative is publishing an annual scholarship directory and offering scholarships of their own to help Black students navigate their options for post-secondary funding.
The BFCN Scholarships and Awards include three scholarships of $1000 for Black youth who demonstrate financial need and community involvement, and one award of $1000 to a Black youth who has succeeded in the face of adversity. You can learn more about BFCN’s scholarships and awards here.
University of Toronto scholarships
The University of Toronto has a scholarship and bursaries available to Black undergraduate and graduate students.
The Dr. Anderson Abbott Award is an award of $4,000 available to Canadian Black students in any undergraduate program with high academic achievement, financial need and significant contribution to the Black community. One recipient is selected annually.
The SGS Fellowships and Bursaries for Black and/or Indigenous Students are a set of awards for Black and Indigenous graduate students of up to $5,000. Both Canadian and international students are welcome to apply, with five to ten recipients selected annually based on financial need and academic merit.
These organizations are dedicated to supporting and uplifting Black-owned businesses and Black professionals and entrepreneurs in the United States through support and education, funding, networking and advocacy.
Black Business Association
The Black Business Association (BBA) is an organization promoting the interests of Black-owned American businesses through education and strategic alliances.
The BBA seeks to give Black-owned businesses a firm economic base by identifying contract opportunities, providing entrepreneurial training and aiding in access to capital for its members. In addition, the BBA holds multiple awards events to recognize Black-owned business excellence.
Black Girl Ventures
Black Girl Ventures (BGV) aims to empower Black and Brown women founders in their entrepreneurial and economic goals in STEM sectors.
BGV’s pitch program includes coaching, crowdfunding and access to community to help Black and Brown women-owned tech-enabled businesses tackle the unique challenges that they may face.
In addition to the pitch program, BGV puts on events to help Black and Brown women practice their pitches and make connections.
Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce with the aim of promoting the growth of minority-owned businesses.
Minority-owned, including Black-owned, businesses can get in touch with business experts at MBDA business centers. The MBDA’s experts will be able to help you with any challenges facing your business, from advice on how to get export-ready to securing working capital. You can find a list of MBDA business centers here.
In addition, annual grant competitions by the MBDA help minority-owned businesses secure funding. You can check out the MBDA’s grant competitions here.
National Black Chamber of Commerce
The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is an organization dedicated to the health of Black American businesses.
The NBCC has 140 chapters throughout the United States and is connected to affiliated international chapters across the world. Both the national office and individual chapters work toward business development goals for their Black-owned business members; these activities include securing partnerships and aiding in access to capital.
Joining the NBCC gives your Black-owned business access to NBCC publications, the NBCC’s annual convention and international trade missions and more.
National Black MBA Association
The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) is an organization dedicated to representing and advancing the prospects of Black educated professionals in the corporate sector.
By providing mentorship, networks and training, the NBMBAA helps new Black professionals succeed in challenging environments. Programs include the Black Think symposium, Scale-Up Pitch Competition and the Leaders of Tomorrow program.
National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is an organization that aims to connect minority-owned businesses to corporate members for economic advancement.
Joining the NMSDC helps companies diversify their supplier networks by connecting them to minority-owned, including Black-owned, businesses for goods and services. MBE certification helps you gain access to corporate buyers through referrals, and also puts you in touch with the NMSDC’s other programs, such as working capital loans and specialized financing.
These business directories help consumers purchase from American Black-owned businesses in their area, from restaurants and retail stores to services and more.
Black Artists + Designers Guild
The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) was founded to combat the lack of representation of Black talent in the design industry.
In addition to holding events, encouraging collaborations and hosting an online store of Black-designed goods, BADG’s directory promotes their member designers and artists in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and North America.
Black Directory is one of the largest Black-owned business directories in the world. Listings are global so you can find Black-owned businesses anywhere you are.
In addition to retail stores and restaurants, Black Directory lists Black lawyers, healthcare services, universities, funeral homes and more—Black Directory enables you to select Black-owned businesses for everything you need.
Black People Eats
Black People Eats is a Black-owned restaurant directory currently serving Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Baltimore.
Black People Eats also offers restaurant consulting and publishes a food blog for those interested in Black food culture.
Eat Black Owned
Eat Black Owned is one of the largest directories of Black-owned restaurants, diners and cafes.
Black-owned eateries around the world are listed on Eat Black Owned. To use the directory, search your location and then select a distance radius and a category.
Listing your restaurant on Eat Black Owned is free, but you can pay for a featured listing, which helps your restaurant reach more hungry potential patrons.
Official Black Wall Street
Official Black Wall Street is a business directory website and app that helps customers find Black-owned businesses to patronize.
Customers can browse detailed listings of Black-owned businesses, such as restaurants and pharmacies. In addition to being able to search for nearby Black-owned businesses, directory users can pinpoint special offers and daily deals from Black-owned businesses.
The app will alert users to Black-owned businesses in the directory around them, so potential customers are always aware of their options.
Support Black Owned
Support Black Owned is a business directory that aims to give Black-owned businesses in the United States and around the world more visibility by giving consumers an easy way to search for Black-owned businesses in their choice of category and location.
In addition to the site, Support Black Owned has an app available on the Apple and Google Play stores to help consumers find Black-owned businesses on the go.
TheBlackMall.com is a Black-owned business directory whose aim is to promote Black wealth by connecting the Black community and their businesses.
theblackmall is their Instagram showcase of highlighted Black-owned businesses and their products for easy browsing. In addition, theblackmall posts about events and classes held by Black businesses, teachers and mentors. The account also features Black business history.
We Buy Black
We Buy Black is an online marketplace promoting Black-owned businesses. Purchasing their Big Black Bag gives you $100 worth of products from Black-owned businesses. Because you don’t know what products you’ll be getting, the bag is a useful way to discover goods you didn’t know you needed.
webuyblack is their Instagram directory of Black-owned businesses. Following webuyblack will keep you in touch with Black-owned businesses and products going the extra mile and providing excellent products to their customers.
These scholarship initiatives help Black students study to become the next generation of Black business owners and professionals.
Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships
Blacks at Microsoft scholarships help Black high school graduates pursue education for jobs in the technology sector. There are three awards of $5,000 available.
Applicants must be of African descent, have a passion for technology and demonstrate financial need. They must also have a GPA of 3.3 or higher and be leaders in their schools or communities.
Each winner will have their scholarships renewed yearly for four consecutive years provided they continue to meet the criteria for a total scholarship of $20,000.
Black Scholarships is the largest online directory of financial aid for Black and minority students.
Scholarships are listed by category to help Black and minority students get funding no matter their path of study. Their scholarship essay tips help applicants secure funding with expert advice.
In addition to scholarships, Black Scholarships hosts directories of historically Black colleges and universities, Black student associations and Black and minority-focused internship programs.
NBMBAA Collegiate Partnership Program
The NBMBAA offers scholarships to Black undergraduate and graduate students through their Collegiate Partnership Program.
Scholarships are available for a wide selection of universities and colleges in the United States and China. Award amounts range from $1,000 to full tuition scholarships. NBMBAA scholarships are available for members only.