Innovation hub Volta, the Black Business Initiative (BBI), and Indigenous business lender Ulnooweg have joined forces to provide workshops and skills development training to underrepresented entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. Applications for the new program are due February 21.

The 16-week-long Boost program, which is backed by the federally funded Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and sponsored by RBC, launches in mid-March. Volta, BBI and Ulnooweg plan to accept five to 10 individuals, all of whom must be based in Atlantic Canada.

Applications for the new program are due February 21.

Boost aims to support the development of underrepresented Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs on Canada’s East Coast. According to the application, although no technical experience is required, preference will be given to applicants with tech-enabled startup ideas.

“We are thrilled to be launching Boost … to create more meaningful opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to connect, grow, build and scale their businesses here in Atlantic Canada,” said Martha Casey, CEO of Volta. “Increasing growth and development opportunities for current and future founders is integral to the long-term success and growth of our startup ecosystem.”

The program will contain workshops and skills development sessions with industry experts. Some of the session topics include leadership, branding, the lean business model canvas, minimum viable product prototyping with design thinking, customer discovery and validation, how to adapt to employment trends, and how to pitch.

“Black and Indigenous-owned businesses contribute significantly to Canada’s economy,” said Matthew James Martel, COO of BBI. “We truly believe that increasing the participation of BIPOC founders in the startup ecosystem will strengthen the business community not only in our province, but globally.”

Participants will receive an honorarium for taking part in the program. “Given the need to increase representation within the sector,” Volta, BBI, and Ulnooweg plan to give preference to applicants who identify as women or are members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Image by Christina at WOCinTechChat via Unsplash

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