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Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub – Application guide

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Table of contents

Section A: General information

1. Introduction

This application guide has been developed to assist in the completion of a project application form for the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (The Knowledge Hub). It provides information on how to submit the application submission as well as the assessment criteria against which the project will be assessed.

Prior to starting your submission, it is recommended that you first read this application guide to ensure a clear understanding of the Knowledge Hub's objectives, and eligibility criteria.

To be considered for funding, applications must provide all the required information, as stated in this application guide. Applicants with additional questions are encouraged to visit the Quick Facts page or are invited to contact Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) at

Applications should be submitted by January 18, 2021 14:00 PST. All applications will be reviewed after the deadline. If your application package is incomplete, your application may be rejected.

It is highly recommended that your application is submitted before the deadline to ensure there are no unforeseen issues at the time of submission. Late submissions will not be considered for funding.

2. About the Knowledge Hub


The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) is a partnership between the Government of Canada and the private sector. With an investment of up to $221 million over four years, it will help Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs grow and succeed.

The Government of Canada is working closely with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across Canada to ensure the new BEP reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians. The program builds on the Government's work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes taking steps to advance Canada's Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.

Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (the Knowledge Hub):

The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub ('Knowledge Hub') is one component of the Black Entrepreneurship Program. The full potential of the Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem can be unleashed through stronger information, research and statistics. The goal of the Knowledge Hub is to enable this. By conducting large-scale qualitative and quantitative research on Black entrepreneurship in Canada, conducting detailed mapping of Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystems across the country, and identifying critical gaps where Black entrepreneurs are facing the greatest challenges, we can level the playing field for Black entrepreneurs and business owners.

This work will be delivered through a partnership between an accredited educational institution and a Black-led community organization.

3. Eligibility requirements

3.1 Eligible applicants:

Eligible applicants are a Partnership between a not-for-profit Black-led organization and a provincially/territorially recognized post secondary academic institution or research institute. Collaboration with additional organizations or associations is encouraged.

For the purposes of this Application, Black-led community organizations must be not for profit and are defined as organizations which have:

The academic institution must have:

Please note: The Province of Quebec's M-30 legislation may apply to Québec based applicants. All Quebec based organizations must demonstrate their compliance with the Act prior to entering into a contribution agreement.

For further information, consult the following website prior to submitting your Application for Funding: An Act respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30).

3.2 Eligible projects:

General requirements:
  1. Project must reach and be representative of a national audience.
  2. Project should be multiyear- activities and outcomes must be completed by March 31, 2024.
  3. Budget must not exceed $5,000,000 for the duration of the project.
  4. Project must deliver services and products in both official languages.
  5. Project must seek to serve all Black entrepreneurs including under-served groups such as women and gender diverse people, low-income Canadians, Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), people with disabilities, LGBTQ2 and other groups who are marginalized.

3.3 Required project activities:

The following activities must be delivered by the Knowledge Hub to be eligible for funding:

  1. Large-scale qualitative and quantitative research and analysis on Black entrepreneurship in Canada;
  2. Comprehensive research paper(s) on the status of Black entrepreneurs in Canada;
  3. Data collection of current data on Black entrepreneurs and businesses, including a detailed concept map of Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in each region;
  4. Identification and awareness building of systematic barriers to Black entrepreneurs, including gaps in government support mechanisms;
  5. Identification of challenges to Black entrepreneurs, and how these have been impacted by the Covid pandemic;
  6. Knowledge dissemination sessions and practices to a wide variety of audiences, including corporate players, financial institutions, the general public and the Black business community;
  7. Sharing of best practices and knowledge amongst Black business support organizations; and
  8. Other activities that support objectives of the Knowledge Hub and BEP.

3.4 Eligible costs:

Eligible costs are those incurred and which, in the opinion of the Minister, are reasonable, incremental and required to carry out eligible activities if an agreement is signed.

Eligible costs include:

3.5 Ineligible costs

Any project costs incurred before the signing of the agreement will not be eligible for reimbursement.

3.6 Expected results and outcomes

Outcome(s) Performance Indicator(s)

Black Canadians, Black-led business support organizations, academics, and governments at all levels have access to information and policy development for Black entrepreneurs

Number of research outputs from the Knowledge Hub.

Number of dissemination events delivered by the Knowledge Hub.

Other key performance indicators that align with the expected results of BEP.

Gender diversity is supported

Number of women and gender diverse people in relevant senior management of positions of the Knowledge Hub.

The successful Applicant will also be required to:

4. Assessment criteria

Assessment criteria must be met, and demonstrated, by at least one of the Partnership organizations.

  • Knowledge of Black entrepreneurship, including an in-depth understanding of the Black Entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada;
  • Experience working with entrepreneurs;
  • Experience working with Black Entrepreneurs and/or;
  • Experience working with under-served Entrepreneurship groups such women and gender diverse people, low-income Canadians, Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), people with disabilities, LGBTQ2 and other groups who are marginalized.
  • Experience in effectively managing projects of a similar size and scope;
  • Experience in financial administration and management of projects of similar size and scope;
  • The capacity to conduct large-scale quantitative and qualitative research projects; and
  • The ability to safely collect and anonymize statistics.
  • Activities have a national reach (i.e. access to services, including in rural, remote and Northern regions throughout Canada);
  • Project ensure services and activities will be provided in both official languages; and
  • Strategies will be implemented to ensure under-served Black Entrepreneurship groups such as women and gender diverse people, low-income Canadians, Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), people with disabilities, LGBTQ2 and other groups who are marginalized
  • Activities clearly meet the project requirements and will achieve the goals of the Knowledge Hub;
  • Proposed project activities effectively meet the objectives of this the Knowledge Hub and demonstrate how benefits will be achieved; and
  • Information is given on how the work will be done, and who will do this work are provided.
  • Collaboration with other key organizations (Collaborator Organizations) that enhances reach, expertise, and impact of the Knowledge Hub.
  • Viability of a self-sufficiency plan.

5. Submission details

There are two potential steps in this submission process:

Step 1: Application submission — Deadline January 18, 2021.

The application form should include your project contact information and your confirmation that you are in agreement with the declarations required for your project submission.

In addition, a concept paper should be submitted with your application form. The concept paper should provide an overview of key aspects of the project, how the project will meet overall objectives, as well as detailing collaboration with key Partners and Collaborators. Specific questions are outlined in the concept paper requirement section.

Following the direction below, this package should include:

  1. A concept Paper (MS Word or PDF document, Maximum 4000 words i.e 8 pages);
  2. Letters of support from Collaborators and Partners.

Applications will be reviewed based on the assessment criteria; only selected projects will be invited to the next stage of project development.

Feedback on concept submissions will be available upon request after the assessment phase is completed.

Step 2: Further project development

Select applicants will be contacted by government representatives to further develop their project. Additional information will be requested for further funding consideration.

The Government of Canada reserves the right to accept a project, in whole or in part, and give consideration to factors such as government priorities, geographic coverage, and diversity.

Collaborations between Applicants may also be recommended based on the projects received.

Input may be sought from other federal government partners to benefit from their expertise in project assessment and selection.

If your project is selected for further development, you will be required to submit additional information, including but not limited to:

6. Approval and contribution agreement

If approved, a contribution agreement will include the legally binding responsibilities and obligations of both parties. Successful projects will be publicly disclosed.

7. Stacking provisions and other government assistance

Leveraging of funds is strongly encouraged however, total Canadian government assistance for all eligible expenses under the Knowledge Hub, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal, cannot exceed 100% of total eligible costs funded. The stacking limit applies to the scope of activities captured by the Contribution Agreement.

Section B: Application form instructions

Contact information

For the purpose of this Application Form, please designate one organization (the lead organization) from the Partnership as signatory for the application.

Applicants must ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this section.


The declarations and certifications should be made by the authorized official for the Applicant and are mandatory.

Submitting your application

Please follow the instructions identified in the section to submit your application. The Application Form must be signed by an individual authorized to legally sign on behalf of the Applicant.

Section C: Concept paper requirements

The following elements must be clearly detailed in your concept paper in order to meet the assessment requirements. (Maximum of 4000 i.e. 8 pages)

1. Overview:

Provide any relevant organizational information for both Partnership Organizations (e.g.: mandate, mission statement, etc.)

1.1 Suitability:

Clearly state how your Partnership collectively has the following suitability requirements. Please ensure to identify which of the partner organizations meets the requirement you are outlining:

1.2 Capacity:

Clearly state how your Partnership collectively has the following suitability requirements.

Please describe:

2. Implementation

2.1 Reach

Provide details on how your project will:

2.2 Delivery

Provide an overview of the required activities you will undertake in this project. Please specify who they will benefit, what regions they will cover and who will be responsible for the work under each activity.

2.3 Collaboration

Provide an overview of the collaboration this project will undertake with various stakeholders in the ecosystem (i.e. Collaborators). Letters of support should be included in your application to substantiate these relationships.

3. Sustainability

Provide an overview of how this project will seek to achieve self-sufficiency by the end of funding agreement.

4. Budget

Include a projected budget forecast for the duration of the project, by fiscal year.

In addition to the Knowledge Hub, list all other sources of funding for this project (government or other sources).

If your project is retained for further development, a detailed budget will be requested.

Section D: Checklist

Your application package must include the following:

  1. Concept paper in WORD or PDF format, maximum 4000 words (i.e. 8 pages). All elements in Section C- Concept Paper Requirements must be included.
  2. Letters of support from Collaborator and Partnership Organizations contributing to this project. Letters should contain a description of their involvement in the Knowledge Hub (role, expertise, reach etc.).

    Please note: Information provided may be verified for accuracy and used as part of the assessment of applications.

Section E: Glossary

Activities are undertakings that are eligible for funding under the Hub and required to complete a project. Activities will be proposed by the applicant as part of the project proposal and finalized in the Contribution Agreement.
An eligible applicant for the Knowledge Hub is a Partnership between a not-for-profit Black-led organization and a provincially/territorially recognized post secondary academic institution or research institute. One of these organizations must be designated as signatory for the application.
Refers broadly to the set of documents submitted to ISED in order to participate in the application process for funding for the Knowledge Hub.
Authorized Official:
An individual who is authorized to legally sign on behalf of the organization.
Black Business Support Organizations:
Organizations that provide targeted business support services to meet the needs of Black entrepreneurs.
Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem:
The Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem refers to the totality of organizations that support Black entrepreneurs both directly and indirectly. This includes Black business support organizations, federal, provincial/territorial and municipal government departments and agencies, financial institutions such as the Business Development Bank of Canada, post-secondary institutions and academia, non-profit organizations, sector-specific national and provincial associations, and other business support organizations.
Collaborators/Collaborator Organizations:
Key organizations that will work with the Knowledge Hub to enhance its reach, expertise, and overall impact.
Contribution Agreement:
A written agreement between the Government of Canada and an eligible Applicant that sets out the obligations and understandings of both with respect to one or more transfer payments. The Government of Canada is responsible for drafting the Contribution Agreements.
Eligible Costs:
The costs to which Knowledge Hub funding may be applied and which are established in the Contribution Agreement.
Ineligible Applicant:
Applicants that do not meet the Knowledge Hub eligibility criteria to receive funding.
Ineligible application:
Applications that do not meet the Knowledge Hub eligibility criteria.
Ineligible Costs:
Costs that are not eligible for reimbursement through the Knowledge Hub initiative.
Letters of Support:
Letters of support should be provided by any Partner and/or Collaborator Organization contributing to this project. The letter of support must contain a description of the Partner/Collaborator's involvement in the Knowledge Hub (role, expertise, reach etc.) and be signed by an authorized representative of the organization.
Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs):
Refers to English-speaking communities in Quebec and French-speaking communities in the rest of Canada.
Partnership Organizations:
The Not-for-profit Black-led organizations and provincially/territorially recognized post secondary academic institutions or research institutes which have partnered for the submission of the application form. If funding is granted, these Partnership Organizations will administer the Knowledge Hub.
The combined activities that are required to accomplish a stated objective and the completion of the activities that may result in specific outcomes being achieved. The Contribution Agreement includes a statement of work that details the eligible project and related activities.
A legal entity that is a party to the Contribution Agreement and receives funding. Upon approval of a project following Step 2 of the application process and the signing of a contribution agreement, the applicant becomes a Recipient.
Value for Money:
A term that refers to achieving economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in project delivery.
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