When Vancouver entrepreneur Jackee Kasandy moved to Canada from Kenya as a student, she was keen to start her own business.
However, she finds that she cannot secure a business loan due to her lack of credit history and capital.
CEO and co-founder of Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society, Kasandy now wants to help other aspiring black business owners. Many of them still face financial barriers.
That’s why the association launched a new contest on Friday to help black entrepreneurs secure $25,000 in funding to start their businesses.
Kasandy said the Black Pitch Contest aims to help black entrepreneurs who have been excluded from traditional investment vehicles such as loans, grants and business capital. He also owns a shop on Granville Island called Kasandy.
Kasandi grew up in Kenya and moved to Toronto as a student. She then moved to British Columbia, where she thought she wanted to start a shop in Granville Island, but she could not get a loan. So she ran out of credit on her card and subleased a rented apartment through AirBnb until she finally managed to build a business.
“Because of the system and how it works, it was also seen as ‘non-fundable’ by financial institutions and investors and was struggling to raise money,” she said.
“My experience with the problem of funding to start a business and get to where I am is why I want to support the thousands of Black entrepreneurs who are blocked or blocked by their business in an unfair system.”
Barriers black entrepreneurs still face include poverty, lack of home or other collateral, or poor credit, she said.
Kasandy said she wished she had an organization that supported black entrepreneurs when she started her own business.
She doesn’t just want to highlight the winners of the contests the association will offer each year. The plan, she said, is to showcase the many ideas submitted by the participants so that people can see the innovation coming from the community.
Cassandi said it’s now “really easy” to enter the contest online.
“A lot of the community is immigrants. They may not have families or homes here, they are renters. There is no fairness to them,” she said.
“And perhaps we have made financial mistakes like most of us made with credit cards and student loans. increase.”
The competition is designed to be barrier-free, so anyone aspiring to be a Black entrepreneur can apply, regardless of age, gender identity, or experience level.
“Data consistently show that systemic racism limits or prevents black access to business capital. , to make the initial application as easy as possible.”
Applications are being accepted until December 15th.
The pitch contest finalists will be featured at the Virtual Black Business Summit in February. For more information, visit the Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society website (https://www.blackentrepreneursbc.org/black-pitch-contest/).
Those who wish to donate money to the Entrepreneurship Fund can do so at its website.
New competition aims to help black entrepreneurs raise money
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