Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Researching Black Entrepreneurship in Canada (Call for Research Proposals).



The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH) is one part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) funded by the Federal Government of Canada. Its mandate is to increase research and data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada. In doing so, it should provide a detailed map of Black business ecosystems in each region of Canada; improve entrepreneurship and business data on Black entrepreneurs and businesses; and identify challenges that Black entrepreneurs currently face, which have been exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic as well as gaps in government support mechanisms. This research will be publicly accessible and will benefit the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada.

The BEKH will serve as a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices. It will deliver knowledge development and mobilization activities intended to support the advancement of Black entrepreneurs throughout the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem. These activities include but not limited to:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research and/or analysis on advancing Black entrepreneurship in Canada;
  • Dissemination of improved entrepreneurship and business data on Black entrepreneurs and businesses;
  • Dissemination of data that will lead to increased awareness of systemic barriers experienced by Black entrepreneurs, including gaps in government support mechanisms;
  • Development of a comprehensive research paper on the status of Black entrepreneurs in Canada;
  • Curation of existing evidence on how to best support Black entrepreneurs and identify knowledge gaps, including issues of diversity and intersectionality, where more research is required;
  • Identification and application of key metrics to determine the health of the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem and success of Black entrepreneurs (i.e., metrics on number of black owned business per province/Canada over time, number of new black owned business launched per province/Canada over time, percentage of new black-owned business launched per province/Canada still in business after 3 years);
  • Identification and dissemination of best practices for supporting Black entrepreneurs in Canada and globally;
  • Aggregation and development of relevant tools and resources that enable the uptake of best practices by community business organizations that support Black entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and from all parts of the country; and
  • Provision of a strong accountability framework to assess progress.

The program is led by Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario), a recognized post-secondary institution, and Dream Legacy Foundation (DLF) (North York, Ontario), a Black-led community organization. A Central Hub has been established in the Innovation Hub in the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and six Regional Hubs will work on the project to ensure national reach. Each Regional Hub will be comprised of academic researchers, community partners, and key Black community organizations regionally and nationally.

The Regional Hubs are formally led by the following postsecondary institutions:

  • Eastern Regional Hub: Saint Mary’s University
  • Quebec Regional Hub: Concordia University
  • Ontario Regional Hub: Carleton University
  • Central Regional Hub: University of Alberta
  • Western Regional Hub: Simon Fraser University
  • Northern Regional Hub: University of Northern British Colombia

1. Call for proposals

The BEKH seeks proposals from research teams comprising academic and Black community partners that address issues relating to advancing Black entrepreneurship and the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada. Through extensive direct consultations, research workshops, and a research symposium involving Black entrepreneurs, Black community members, academics, and supporting organizations several research themes (listed in the next section) emerged. Research proposals may address issues related to these themes but are not limited to them. Other research applying novel methodological approaches will be considered as well.

2. Some Existing Research Themes

  • Defining Black Entrepreneurs: How do we define Black entrepreneurs, Black enterprises, and Black entrepreneurship?
  • Inspiring policy makers to create change: How can research on Black entrepreneurship inspire policy makers to create change that are supportive of Black entrepreneurs?
  • The role of community, culture, and ecosystems: What role does community culture, Black entrepreneurship culture, and entrepreneurial ecosystems play in fostering and strengthening Black entrepreneurship in Canada?
  • The existing data and resulting data gaps: How do we reconcile the fragmented data on Black entrepreneurship in Canada and what methods should be used to standardize measures and assessments of Black entrepreneurship?
  • Black businesses’ growth and success: How may Black entrepreneurs grow and sustain their business over the longer term?
  • Understanding the Black immigrant entrepreneur: What are the experiences of Black immigrant entrepreneurs and how do these experiences differ from Black entrepreneurs born in Canada?
  • Financing Black businesses: What are the experiences of Black entrepreneurs in securing financing for their businesses and what role may alternative financing options (beyond financial institutions) in supporting the development and growth of Black enterprises?

3. Funding

  • Funding requests can range from C$15,000 to $50,000.
  • Funding duration typically is for one year.
  • Proposals requiring more funding and a longer duration must include additional details to justify the additional request. All research must be completed within 18 months of receiving the funds.
  • Funded proposals under C$20,000 may not be subject to an overhead charge.
  • Funds cannot be transferred to other institutions.

4. Research Teams

  • Research teams may be led by an academic researcher based at a recognized Canadian university or college or by a community-based researcher affiliated with a recognized Canadian academic institution or registered non-profit Black community organization. The team leader will serve as the principal investigator (PI) and will be accountable for the conduct and reporting of the funded research. They will also be the primary contact for communications with the BEKH.
  • An academic and community-based researcher may serve as Co-principal investigators (co-PI).
  • A team must comprise one or more members, meeting the following criteria:
  1. Includes at least 1 Black academic researcher*
  2. Includes a Black community researcher/partner
  3. Includes a Black student researcher.
  4. May include potential external partners from research institutions (e.g. NRC, Stats Canada), industry, NGOs, foundations, hospitals, government, or international partners.
  5. May include adjunct research professors and professional librarians.
  • Faculty members may participate in more than one research projects but cannot be the designated PI/Co-PI for more than one application

5. Deadline

6. Evaluation and Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by the BEKH Research Advisory Team. External experts will be consulted as appropriate.

6.1 Research Excellence and Vision

  • Addresses an important challenge(s) that Black Entrepreneurs face.
  • Has potential to achieve transformative positive outcomes in terms of impact on society, benefits to Black Entrepreneurs, Canada, and, as applicable, has potential to support economic recovery in Black communities.
  • Have societal relevance and potential for impact in the Black community, thereby demonstrating potential for engaging external partners, increase in external research funding, and sustainability into the future.

6.2 Team Strength and Synergy

  • Established excellence of the members of the team in terms of research productivity and funding.
  • Demonstrates interdisciplinarity/multi-disciplinarity and ideally involves more than one academic or community-based researcher.
  • Demonstrates meaningful engagement and participation of early career researchers, research students, and individuals from the Black Community.

6.3 Plan for Achieving BEKH Program Objectives

  • Increase in research productivity, impact on Black Entrepreneurs, society, potential economic development, and communications and outreach strategy.

7. Application Instructions

An application comprises one attachment that includes:

(i) the project’s title,

(ii) a designated Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PIs, and

(iii) the following sections:

7.1 Research Overview (maximum ¼ page)

  • Provide a layperson summary of the research.

7.2 Project Description (maximum ¾ page)

  • Describe the research area, including a vision that responds to an important societal challenge relevant to the Black community in Canada.
  • Outline the transformative opportunity that this funding will enable, including impact on society, benefits to Black Entrepreneurs, Black Communities and Canada, and, where applicable, economic development potential.
  • Describe the benefits to BEKH, Black Entrepreneurs and Black Communities.

7.3 Team Strength and Synergy (maximum 1 page)

  • List the research team members and describe their role in the project and how they are positioned to address the important challenge, barrier or opportunity to Black Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship in the Black Community.
  • Describe existing external partners, and their contribution to the project.
  • Discuss how it will meaningfully engage Black researchers, including early career Black researchers and Black student research trainees.

7.4 Project, Communications, and Outreach Plan (maximum ½ page)

  • Describe the plan for achieving the BEKH program objectives as outlined in the “Objectives and Expected Deliverables”, Section 1 of this call for proposals.

7.5 Budget and Budget Justification (maximum ½ page)

  • Include an itemized budget with justification

7.6 Intersectionality and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion - EDI (maximum ½ page)

  • Explain your plan to promote the integration of Intersectionality and EDI-related considerations in your project design and practice, and your plan to increase equitable and inclusive participation in the project.

7.7 Curriculum Vitae (any format)

  • For each team member provide a ½ page bio and a link to the researcher’s up-to-date website. If a team member does not have an appropriate website, attach their CVs (maximum of five CVs).

8. Application Guidelines

  • Explain any acronyms and abbreviations fully.
  • Please use a 8 ½” x 11” format, single-spaced, 11 pt Times New Roman font, and standard margins (1”).

The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH) is a key part of the Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program

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