2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program

The 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program aims to break down barriers to starting, maintaining, and growing a business among Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Canada, particularly equity deserving groups. This is done through targeted support to community organizations that will work with 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurs to enhance overall sustainability, and drive growth, competitiveness, innovation, and productivity toward broader economic and social benefits.

This project contributes to the following objectives:

  • Increasing program, capacity-building, and skill-development opportunities for 2SLGBTQI+ Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to start, scale, grow, and maintain a business and/or adjust to new economic realities;
  • Growing the capacity of 2SLGBTQI+ ecosystem organizations, particularly in regions where this ecosystem support is limited or non-existent, so that they can better support 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs;
  • Increasing the awareness of issues faced by 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs, including gathering data and building knowledge on the 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship landscape, in order to improve the coordination of supports and close gaps in service for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs;
  • Fostering a stronger, interconnected community of 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs and ecosystem organizations; and
  • Strengthening the Canadian 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce’s capacity to be the leading national organization and partner of choice when it comes to supporting 2SLGBTQI+ businesses in Canada.

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Business Scale Up

The Business Scale Up program assist 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs in starting and scaling-up their businesses by providing access to the tools, resources, and skills they need.

CGLCC wants to develop and deliver national programming that includes offering a national mentorship program, expanding access to corporate procurement opportunities, and strengthening supports for business growth internationally.

Information and opportunities for support will be released in the coming months.

Ecosystem Fund

A strong ecosystem of 2SLGBTQI+ support organizations is critical to deliver needed assistance to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs across the country. With the Ecosystem Fund, CGLCC is strengthening the ecosystem to improve services for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on building capacity in regions that lack dedicated services or support.

CGLCC has been soliciting proposals from ecosystem non-profit organizations to help start-up and/or expand their work with 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs. The call for proposals is now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied.

Knowledge Hub

> Access the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub page

The Knowledge Hub seeks to improve the quantity and quality of data on 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship and business ownership, with a focus on addressing key gaps in available data, and exploring regional and sectoral differences in the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

The research project will be delivered in partnership with academic institutions and/or other suitable knowledge-based organizations.

The call for proposals is now closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program?

The 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program is designed to improve the capacity of the 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship ecosystem to better support 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs. To achieve this, the program includes three pillars of work: the Business Scale-Up program, the Ecosystem Fund, and the Knowledge Hub.

Together, these pillars are intended to deliver support to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs, build up the organizations that support them, and create data/knowledge that will help to better understand 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs and build awareness of the challenges they face.

CGLCC, Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce, has been chosen to lead the project.

How does the program work?

As the principal organization dedicated to helping 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs in Canada, CGLCC administer and lead all aspects of the program. Under the Business Scale-Up program, CGLCC use part of the funding to expand its existing business and entrepreneurship programming so it can help a much larger number of entrepreneurs across the country.

For the Ecosystem Fund, CGLCC issued a call for applications for not-for-profit organizations that can provide programming such as mentorship, business training and financial planning to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs.

CGLCC is also issuing a call for applications to launch the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a centre that will conduct research and collect data to provide much greater information on the entrepreneurship landscape for the 2SLGBTQI+ community and the challenges 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs face. This project will be led by an academic institution(s), and work in tandem with the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.

Who is eligible to apply for funding and what kind of activities does this grant support?

As outlined above, there are be 2 streams of funding through this program:

Knowledge Hub – Under the Knowledge Hub, CGLCC will partner with an academic or research institution (or a consortium made up of collaborating academic and research institutions) and provide funding to: conduct landscape research on 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship using a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches, generate publications on 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship (both academic and non-academic), and share knowledge amongst business support organizations.

Ecosystem Fund – Under the Ecosystem Fund, not-for-profit organizations that work with 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs have been able to apply for funding to support 2 main types of projects:

  1. Programs that provide support, capacity-building, and skill-development opportunities to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs (i.e. mentorship, research development, financial literacy, entrepreneurial resources, etc.)
  2. Internal capacity-building initiatives to build the organization’s strengths and capabilities to deliver services and programming to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs (i.e. governance, strategic planning, fundraising development, training for staff and/or volunteers…etc)

Will there be direct funding available to individual 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs?

The 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program will not provide direct financial support to entrepreneurs. Rather, under the Ecosystem Fund, the program will strengthen the ecosystem by providing funding directly to not-for-profit organizations that support 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs, with a focus on enabling them to build capacity, develop programs and resources, and deliver those needed supports to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs.

Why was CGLCC chosen to lead the program?

The 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada is fragmented, with most organizations operating on a local or regional basis. CGLCC is a national organization that has been providing services and programming to 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs for 20 years, putting them in the best position to deliver the program.

The Government took a co-development approach to the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program, consulting extensively with CGLCC and other 2SLGBTQI+ organizations across the country to create a program by and for the groups involved.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Julie-Léonora Kesch (she/her)
(416) 761-5151  ext. 127

This project is funded by the Government of Canada