More than a dozen Black-owned businesses on P.E.I. are receiving grants through the Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. (BCSPEI).
In August, BCSPEI announced the Black Business Pandemic Recovery Program, designed to help Black-owned businesses bounce back from pandemic losses. Twenty businesses applied and 13 appliations were approved by a review committee.
"Knowing that they are struggling and being able to help them is wonderful," said Tamara Steele, BCSPEI's executive director.
Each recipient will get between $2,500 and $5,000, she said.
"This is a boost to get them caught up on, maybe, some bills that they are owing or some debt repayment."
Steele said she was surprised by how many businesses applied. "I thought if we got 10 applications I'd be happy, so to get 20 applications was awesome."
It confirmed that many businesses, both big and small, are struggling because of the pandemic, she said.
Omar Broderick is one of the recipients. He runs Slickphotography in Cornwall, P.E.I.
"This money will help revitalize my brand and allow me to expand my skill set so I can create fresh art," said Broderick in a BCSPEI press release.
"It's a great feeling to know someone believes in you and your idea. Not only will this grant help my business offer competitive services but it will also help my community."
Steele said BCSPEI received $50,000 in funding for the program from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
More projects in the works
She said BCSPEI is partnering with the Black Business Initiative in Halifax to create a business services program for Black-owned businesses on P.E.I.
Steele said this will help Black-owned businesses access services like grant writing and help connect them with the provincial Business Navigator and the Startup Zone.
In the New Year, BCSPEI will consult with the Island's Black business community for feedback in terms of what other programs they might need, or what skills they'd like to learn, Steele said.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.