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RBC introduces new initiative to provide young Black entrepreneurs with foundations for future growth

RBC to fund Futurpreneur Canada’s new Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, providing Black entrepreneurs access to capital and dedicated business mentorship

TORONTO, March 24, 2021 - Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) today announced a new initiative designed to address critical barriers that Black entrepreneurs face when starting, growing and managing their businesses. This initiative will advance RBC’s efforts against the commitment the bank announced last summer to provide up to $100 million in business loans to Black entrepreneurs and create pathways to prosperity for young entrepreneurs over the next five years.

The new funding collaboration with Futurpreneur is designed to create more inclusive and equitable financing opportunities for emerging, young Black entrepreneurs. The Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will support Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 in starting their business. Over a five-year period, RBC will provide up to $40 million in financing for Futurpreneur to offer small business loans, mentorship and business resources to Black entrepreneurs for up to two years. Participants in the program will also have opportunities to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs and community organizations at a range of entrepreneurship events.

“The Financial Services industry plays an important role in enabling economic recovery and prosperity, and small businesses are the engine of that growth,” said Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal and Commercial Banking at RBC. “By providing access to capital, backed by dedicated advice and business services, the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will help Black entrepreneurs finance, launch and manage their business ideas. Working alongside Futurpreneur, we believe this program is an important first step to making Black-owned businesses a meaningful part of Canada’s economic growth and future prosperity.”

Through inclusive financing, mentorship, and community partnerships, the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will helpyoung Black entrepreneurs thrive. By leveraging Futurpreneur’s proven model for starting a successful business, RBC‘s funding support of Futurpreneur will catalyze a Black entrepreneurship movement that will inspire a new generation of diverse innovators who can help drive economic diversity, inclusion, and resiliency across Canada. With access to the right networking opportunities, support systems, knowledge and capital, aspiring Black entrepreneurs will be better equipped to realize their ambitions and achieve their full potential.

“Futurpreneur is committed to fostering the success of diverse, young entrepreneurs to drive inclusive economic prosperity nationwide. This new collaboration with RBC is an important step in advancing our Diversity & Inclusion commitments,” said Karen Greve Young, CEO, Futurpreneur. “We recognize that young Black entrepreneurs disproportionally face barriers to success that have nothing to do with the potential of their business idea, notably access to financing and mentorship. With RBC’s meaningful funding contribution, this new program builds upon our proven, ongoing co-lending partnership with BDC to address barriers and amplify the success of hundreds of young Black entrepreneurs.”

For further information about eligibility criteria and how to apply for the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, please visit futurpreneur.ca/en/besp.

These initiatives are part of RBC’s Action Plan against Systemic Racism. RBC believes that its purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper is core to its identity as an organization, and that its purpose can only be achieved when everyone has an equitable opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. RBC’s goal is to create a more equitable future, remove biases and barriers, and expand opportunities for BIPOC clients, colleagues, and communities to prosper.

Learn more at www.rbc.com/diversity.

ABOUT RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 86,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.‎

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-social-impact.

About Futurpreneur Canada
Futurpreneur has been fuelling the entrepreneurial passions of enterprising young Canadians since 1996. We’re the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentorship and resources to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. More than 13,000 young Canadian entrepreneurs, spanning every province and territory, have successfully launched their businesses with Futurpreneur’s support. Their main street businesses help drive Canada’s inclusive economic prosperity in communities from coast to coast to coast.

Futurpreneur is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

www.futurpreneur.ca / Facebook: Futurpreneur / Twitter: @Futurpreneur / Instagram: @Futurpreneur

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Media inquiries: 
Please contact media@futurpreneur.ca