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The Federal Government selects CGLCC to administer the fund for Canada’s first-ever 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program

June 15, 2023


KINGSTON, ON – June 15, 2023 – The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced that the Government of Canada has selected Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) to administer Canada’s first-ever 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program. The $25 million investment will assist entrepreneurs who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ in overcoming the systemic barriers they face when starting and expanding their businesses.

The Minister made the announcement at CGLCC’s Global 2SLGBTQI+ Business Summit and Supplier Diversity Forum. Joining the Minister was Darrell Schuurman, Co-founder and CEO of the CGLCC and Sylvie Ouellette, President and Co-founder of Versatil, BPI Inc, a member of CGLCC’s Supplier Diversity Program.

“Entrepreneurs who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ play a crucial role in contributing to the Canadian economy. Yet they continue to encounter systemic barriers when starting and expanding their businesses,” said Schuurman. “Over the past two decades, the CGLCC has been a leading advocate for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs. The new 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program marks a significant stride towards tackling these obstacles. We are honoured to assist the Government of Canada in this important work.”

Managed by CGLCC, the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program comprises three primary programs: Business Scale Up program, the Ecosystem Fund, and the Knowledge Hub. Together, these programs provide invaluable resources such as business advice, networking opportunities, and mentorship to assist 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs in launching, growing, or expanding their businesses, both domestically and internationally. The initiative also builds a robust network of existing and new organizations dedicated to supporting these entrepreneurs, and generates essential data to enhance our understanding of 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs and the specific challenges they face.

The initiative makes a significant stride in supporting 2SLGBTQI+ businesses already struggling upstream while trying to maintain their own unique professional identity.

“The new 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program will be a game-changer for companies like Versatil,” said Ouellette. “For too long we’ve faced barriers and challenges in trying to grow our business, simply because of who we are. Through this Program, CGLCC will be able to reach 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs and businesses across the country, coast to coast, working to tear down those barriers and ensure that those businesses have equal access and opportunity. We’re proud to be a certified LGBTQ business with CGLCC; this program will only help to build on the work they’re doing to create an inclusive Canadian economy.”

Over the past twenty years, CGLCC has successfully provided support to members of the 2SLGBTQI+ business community through a number of initiatives including its Supplier Diversity program, OUT for Business youth mentorship program, global trade missions and its Rainbow Registered accreditation program.

More information will be made available in the upcoming months. Additional details on the initiative may be found at

Read the Federal Release here:

About Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce

Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) links 2SLGBTQI+ businesses in Canada to the wider business and corporate community. It fosters economic growth by supporting and nurturing 2SLGBTQI+ businesses, entrepreneurs, students and allies, and by helping Canada’s corporate world connect with the 2SLGBTQI+ business community.


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