VIDEO: Supporting Black Entrepreneurship

Mario Toneguzzi’s guests on Business InsiderAlecia Aquino, Director of business owner planning and women in business and Tyson Jones, Director, Financial Advisory Services, with RBC, discuss a new initiative to support black entrepreneurship in Canada.

Alecia Aquino
Tyson Jones

RBC Press Release

TORONTOOct. 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced the launch of the RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan (BEBL) – a new financing solution that provides eligible Black entrepreneurs in Canada with loans of up to $250,000.

“Black entrepreneurs continue to be disproportionately affected by a lack of access to capital and resources that are critical to their success. The financial services sector plays an important role in enabling the inclusion and prosperity of businesses to foster greater diversity in our communities, and accelerate our collective economic growth,” says Greg Grice, Executive Vice-President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “That’s why we’re proud to offer equitable and inclusive funding solutions, like the RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan, that are tailored to the needs of Black entrepreneurs to help them start and scale their business successfully.”

The RBC Black Entrepreneur Business Loan is part of the broader five-year, $100 million commitment that RBC made in July 2020 to support the path to prosperity and growth of Black entrepreneurs, which led to the creation of the RBC Black Entrepreneur Program. The overarching Program that this new loan offering is a part of focuses on three key pillars to help Black entrepreneurs successfully start, manage and grow their business: enabling access to capital; providing access to a network of experts, mentors and business resources; and bringing together community leaders to recognize and advance the growth of Black-owned businesses.

“Ensuring that all entrepreneurs have equitable access to loan capital is critical to strengthening our economy and ensuring that communities with barriers can achieve their greatest potential,” says Mark Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC. “The RBC BEBL program will help accelerate Black entrepreneurship across Canada – as part of RBC’s commitment to addressing systemic racism through empowering our communities.”

Expanding on RBC’s support for Black-owned startups and young Black entrepreneurs
This solution complements the bank’s existing investments and resources to support the growth of Black entrepreneurs in Canada.

In March 2021, RBC launched the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program (BESP) – a funding collaboration with Futurpreneur Canada. As part of this funding program, the bank committed up to $40 million over five years to help young Black entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 39 start and grow their businesses. The collaborative initiative provides eligible applicants with $5,000 to $60,000 in financing, and access to advice, mentorship, networking opportunities and business resources to support their startup journey.

In June 2021, RBC also invested $1 million in the Black Innovation Capital (BIC) – a $10 million fund founded by Isaac Olowolafe Jr., founder of Dream Legacy Foundation and Dream Maker Ventures – to support the growth of pre-seed and seed-stage Canadian technology businesses led by Black entrepreneurs. The fund is anchored by BDC Capital, and is a collaborative initiative with the startup incubator, Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and the Black Innovation Program (BIP), which was also founded by Isaac Olowolafe Jr. As part of RBC’s investment in Black Innovation Capital, the bank will also offer tailored advice and access to experts to support Black entrepreneurs as they start and grow their technology ventures.

“Black entrepreneurs are too often under-funded and lack support, which means we’re missing out on a lot of untapped creativity that will help drive economic prosperity for all Canadians,” says Isaac Olowolafe Jr. “The early-stage financial support we’re offering through this Fund is a critical first step in closing this equity gap in entrepreneurship, empowering hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs to launch thriving businesses.”

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 in order to prosper.

“All of these initiatives are part of RBC’s Action Plan Against Systemic Racism. They’re just a few examples of the ways in which we’re continuing to turn our commitments into tangible actions, and investing in the power and potential of Black entrepreneurs in Canada,” adds Grice.

To learn more about RBC’s commitments to foster diversity and inclusion with our clients, employees and communities, visit

To learn more about the application process, criteria and loan details, visit or speak with an RBC Advisor.

About RBC
RBC 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

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works as a freelance writer and editor as well as a consultant in communications and media relations/training.

He is VP of Content & Strategy for MegaPixx Media, which owns and operates YYC Business, and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc. 

Mario is a regular contributor to various national and local publications including Retail Insider, RENX, Globe and Mail, The Star, National Post, Real Estate Magazine, Troy Media, YYC Business, Grocery Business Magazine and many others. He’s also a host for Calgary and Edmonton on Canada’s Podcast network. And he’s a regular contributor of content for companies and organizations to populate their websites.

Frequent commentator on television and radio on business news, issues and trends.

Named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list.

Part of the Herald’s National Newspaper Award winning newsroom for coverage of the June 2013 floods in Calgary.

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