TORONTO, - American Express Canada is excited to announce the launch of Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses™, powered by the DMZ, a mentorship and grant program designed to support the advancement of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) business owners across Canada.
As part of Blueprint, 100 BIPOC business owners across Canada will take part in a comprehensive mentorship program, made possible by a grant from the American Express Foundation, designed to provide the tools, resources and community to help them thrive. Additionally, American Express Canada is contributing $1,000,000 in grants that will be dispersed between the 100 mentorship program participants, with each participant receiving $10,000 to fuel the growth of their business. BIPOC business owners are invited to review program eligibility and apply by visiting dmz.to/AmexBlueprint.
Blueprint is founded on research insights about the experiences of BIPOC business owners across Canada. According to a new survey commissioned by Amex, BIPOC business owners face barriers to running their businesses at a rate higher than their white counterparts. More than half (53 per cent) of BIPOC respondents described the barriers they're currently facing as "significant" compared to 37 per cent of white business owners. As well, sixty-six per cent of BIPOC business owners say they have difficulty accessing capital and financing for their business.
"Owning a business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but unfortunately, we know the entrepreneurship journey isn't the same for all Canadians," said Lisa Kalhans, President and CEO of American Express Canada. "With Blueprint, we've created a program that aims to impact BIPOC business owners, one that responds to barriers, provides access to mentorship and helps kick start their next stage of growth."
The research showed that 46 per cent of BIPOC entrepreneurs report a lack of access to mentors to guide their decision-making and over two thirds (68 per cent) agree that having consistent access to advice would make them a better business owner.
To help respond to this need, Blueprint offers participants a 15-week mentorship and training program delivered by seasoned mentors and subject matter experts on topics ranging from sales and marketing, to operations and leadership. Participants will take part in workshops, 1:1 coaching sessions and group learning sessions designed to help fuel business growth. On top of this, all eligible applicants will have access to Blueprint's independent online learning platform.