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Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses

Grants to Canada BIPOC Business Owners
to Support Business Growth

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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American Express Foundation and American Express Canada

Deadline Date:

07/27/21 11:59 PM EDT


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Grants of $10,000 and in-kind support to Canada BIPOC small business owners to support business growth. Business owners will be mentored on focus areas including leadership, operations, marketing, and sales. The program will run virtually. Funding is intended to support the advancement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) business owners across Canada.

In 2021, 100 Blueprint recipients will take part in a comprehensive mentorship program designed to provide the tools, resources, and community to help BIPOC entrepreneurs thrive – plus, recipients will receive a grant to help take their business to the next level.

Blueprint participants get access to

  • A 15-week curated mentorship and training program, delivered virtually, by subject matter experts and mentors
  • A community network of Blueprint participants from across Canada connected through small group training and social events
  • Online resources and learning materials designed to support the BIPOC small business community
  • A grant to help unlock the next stage of their business growth

The program consists of workshops, small group sessions, and one-on-one meetings with experienced program mentors focusing on the areas of sales, marketing, operations, and leadership. The program also includes access to Blueprint’s online learning platform as well as virtual networking opportunities. The program is run and supported by leaders and mentors that identify as members of the BIPOC community.

The program is 15-weeks and runs on a part-time basis. Blueprint participants can still work on their business full-time while attending the workshops and meetings required to complete the program. One-on-one meetings will be scheduled based on a participant's availability. If a participant cannot attend a live workshop, recordings will be available. Participants will need to be able to commit to two hours per week.

Grantees will receive access to all elements of the mentorship program as well as individualized support. The individualized support includes an assigned Program Lead from the DMZ who will ensure grantees are able to access all available resources, answer questions, provide guidance and help troubleshoot any issues they may have.

Preference is given to applicants that demonstrate:

  • Commitment to participate in the mentorship program
  • Understanding of opportunities for growth and demonstrates commitment to business success
  • Intended use of funds and illustrates grant impact
  • Challenges that have been addressed in the course of running or starting the business
  • An understanding of existing competitors and their industry’s landscape

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 196908

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

$10,000 CAD

Term of Contract:

Mentorship program begins August 31, 2021 and runs until December 10, 2021.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for Blueprint, an applicant must:
- Identify as a member of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) community
- Be a Canadian citizen, a Permanent resident of Canada, or Hold Current and Valid Authorization under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
- Be a founder, owner, or hold a senior position within a privately held, for-profit company, where the company is at least 50% owned by BIPOC owners or founders
- Have a business incorporated in Canada, where the business is primarily operated and managed in Canada, with a maximum of $500,000 CAD in annual revenue
- Your business must be currently active in the Canadian market or have been previously active in the Canadian market (i.e. made sales and/or have an existing customer base
- Speak English or French fluently

To be selected to participate in Blueprint, your business must federally, provincially or territorially incorporated. If the status of your business incorporation changes before the application deadline you are still welcome to apply for Blueprint.

The following industries and business types are ineligible for Blueprint:
- Any government agency or Crown corporation, public administration, non-profit or charitable organization, or political organization of any type
- Businesses engaged in any illegal activity
- Any business that is primarily in the business of manufacturing, promoting, or selling tobacco, firearms or other weapons (including related equipment)
- Businesses which derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a sexual nature
- Franchises not founded in Canada, are not founded or run by the applicant, or have over ten (10) franchisees
- Businesses, private clubs, and memberships which limit the number of memberships for reasons other than capacity or applicable regulations due to COVID-19

Pre-Application Information:

The application period will run until July 27, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT.
Selected participants will receive a grant letter by August 17, 2021.

For applicants moving on to the second stage of the selection process, a staff member from DMZ will reach out via email and schedule an interview where applicants will be asked to confirm details of their business and answer any outstanding questions that arise while the committee reviewed applications.

All eligible applicants will receive access to the learning platform. The platform includes content and advice from subject matter experts and seasoned entrepreneurs. If you are not selected for the 2021 program, you may have the opportunity to re-apply for future programs as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

The Corporations Canada Website:

Your local Provincial or Territorial Registry (i.e. Service Ontario):

Ryerson privacy policy:

American Express privacy code:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.


Please direct technical questions to

For questions relating to the Blueprint mentorship and grant program, please contact

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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