2021 is the time to rebuild. Learn more here.
Founder Institute Image

Although resources to get started as an entrepreneur in Canada are available, not everyone has access to them. Startup ecosystems can be fragmented, competitive, and hidden to newcomers, which is detrimental for local startups and community growth.

While Canada does not traditionally track metrics behind venture-backed startups for founders from diverse ethnic backgrounds, according to the Financial Post, they are on par with sentiments in the U.S., indicating a problem of underrepresented founders in Canada being underfunded and similarly, left feeling undervalued.

On the bright side, Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world with a constantly growing ethnic and immigrant population. To help Canadian entrepreneurs of minority and diverse ethnic backgrounds find resources available to help them build a startup, we released v1 of the Canadians of Color Startup Ecosystem Canvas. 

It was developed by the leaders of Founder Institute’s Canadian programs: Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Western Canada, in an effort to help eliminate barriers to entry and encourage equality and access to financial and social resources for all Canadian startup founders.

This first release includes over 280 startup resources across Canada, organized by stage. While we spent many hours on this research, this is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed, so please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document to help us complete the list. There are definitely omissions on this current version. 

Text version included below, for ease of searching:

Startup Stages


There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

  • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters)
    1. Bay Street Bull
    2. BetaKit
    3. Black Business and Professional Association Blog
    4. Black Professionals in Tech Network Blog
    5. Startup Digest Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Inspirational Startup Events: Open, inclusive startup events that often focus on ideation. (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
    1. Afrobiz
    2. Black Business Conference
    3. Black Entrepreneur Virtual Summit
    4. BlackNorth Ignites
    5. DMZ Black Innovation Summit
    6. Elevate
    7. ICON Talent Accelerate Symposium
    8. LatamStartups Conference 8.0
    9. Tech Inclusion
    10. Tech Summit Black

B. Educate

  • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing tech events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire).
    1. BlackNorth Initiative
    2. Blacks In Technology - Toronto
    3. Blacks In Technology - Vancouver
    4. Blacks United in Leading Technology Forward - Toronto
    5. Indigenous Advancement of Cultural Entrepreneurship
    6. Montréal BlackTech
    7. Startup Canada
    8. Startup Founder 101
    9. Startup Grind
  • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development events and startup bootcamps for entrepeneurs. (Includes comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, code camps, etc)
    1. BIPOC Capital
    2. BIPOC Founders
    3. Black Business Initiative
    4. Black Entrepreneurship Program
    5. Black Innovation Bootcamp
    6. BrainStation
    7. Canada SROP
    8. CEE Centre For Young Black Professionals
    9. Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology
    10. Code Black
    11. First Nations Technology Council
    12. Founder Institute
    13. General Assembly
    14. Hackergal
    15. ICON Talent Partners
    16. IdeaConnector
    17. Lean Startup Machine
    18. Lighthouse Labs
    19. Okwaho Equal Source
    20. Tech Spark
    21. The Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship
    22. Tribe Network
    23. Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

C. Validate

  • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching, like CoFoundersLab, FounderDating, and entrepreneur networking groups and events).
    1. Ashoka Canada
    2. BIPOC Business Network
    3. Black Business Association of BC
    4. Black Business and Professional Association
    5. Black Professionals in Calgary
    6. Black Professionals in Tech Network
    7. CoFoundersLab
    8. FoundersBeta
    9. Hispanotech
    10. Indian Startups
    11. Latin-Canadian Business Network
    12. Tribe Network
  • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources).
    1. Hackergal Hackathon
    2. Hacking Generational Wealth
    3. Hacklab.to
    4. McHacks
    5. thespacebetweenus

2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

  • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups with programs specifically targeting Canadians of Color and other minorities in startups.
    1. Aird & Berlis LLP
    2. Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    3. BMO
    4. Canadian Association of Black Lawyers
    5. CIBC
    6. Dentons
    7. DLA Piper
    8. Emerge Law
    9. First Nations Bank of Canada
    10. Goodmans LLP
    11. McMillan LLP
    12. Minority Owned Business Loans
    13. National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
    14. Oziel Law
    15. Royal Bank of Canada
    16. Scotiabank
    17. TD Canada Trust
    18. Vancity Community Investment Bank
  • Workspaces: Co-working and flexible workspaces for startups in Canada.
    1. Canoe Coworking
    2. Coworking Canada
    3. Hervana
    4. WeWork

B. Develop

  • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.
    1. AppStudio
    2. April Mullings Finance & Tax Services
    3. AWFS Consulting
    4. BIPOC Executive Search
    5. Black HR Professionals of Canada
    6. CADJPro
    7. Calibre Consulting
    8. Carjoel Financial Associates
    9. Cobella Financial Bookkeeping
    10. CTRL ALT DEL
    11. Formative Innovations
    12. GMS Professional Corporation
    13. Holbrook Goodman Technologies
    14. Kaimera Media
    15. Kaylo Digital
    16. MyTax101
    17. Next Step DIgital Solutions
    18. Odgers Berndtson
    19. See Girl Work
    20. Team Taxman
  • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup TEAMS, Startup Next, etc).
    1. AMEX Blueprint
    2. Black Entrepreneur Program
    3. Black Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Incubator
    4. Black Female Funders
    5. Black Innovation Launchpad
    6. Black Leaders of Tomorrow
    7. Business Link
    8. Canada Startup Co.
    9. DMZ Black Innovation Programs
    10. Empowered Startups
    11. Futurpreneur Canada Black Entrepreneur Startup Program
    12. Global Bridge: Canada-India
    13. HXOUSE
    14. ICUBE UTM Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program
    15. Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    16. National Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs Ecosystem
    17. Pixelles BIPOC Creator Program
    18. Toronto Business Development Centre Start-up Visa Program
    19. We Are Women

C. Launch

  • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
    1. Canada-India Acceleration Program
    2. DMZ Black Innovation Programs
    3. Futurpreneur Canada Black Entrepreneur Startup Program
    4. Futurpreneur Canada Indigenous Program
    5. LatAm Startups
    6. RH Accelerator
    7. Startup Reseau
    8. Techstars Toronto Accelerator
    9. Tribe Network
  • Pitch & Demo Events: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment).
    1. DMZ Black Innovation Summit
    2. Pitch Better Canada
    3. Pow Wow Pitch
    4. Techstars Toronto Accelerator Demo Day

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

  • Investor Networking: Connect professional investors with founders (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors vs. angels, venture capital associations).
    1. Backbone Angels
    2. Canadian Investment Network
    3. Keiretsu Forum
    4. The Indus Entrepreneurs
  • Major Media: Mainstream local business press (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses, major local or regional publications with a business section).
    1. ByBlacks
    2. The Afro News
    3. The Resolve

B. Funding

  • Angels/Micro-VCs: Seed-stage Investors
    1. Ajay Malhotra
    2. Anna Lambert
    3. Clinton Senkow
    4. Jonathon Araujo Redbird
    5. Shamier Anderson
    6. Sheldon James
    7. Stephan James
    8. Sydney Wong
  • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
    1. Bay Mills Investment Group
    2. BDC Capital
    3. Black Opportunity Fund
    4. Canada Startup Co.
    5. Dream Maker Ventures
    6. FIGR
    7. Ideal Ventures
    8. Indigenous Growth Fund
    9. Inspirit Foundation
    10. Marigold Capital
    11. NDN Collective Fund
    12. Raven Indigenous Capital Partners
    13. RBC Ventures

C. Growth

  • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale).
    1. Allstate Insurance
    2. Aviva
    3. Hays Canada
    4. Instant Offices
    5. Kijiji
    6. LoopNet
    7. Manulife
    8. MaxPeople
    9. Randstad Canada
    10. Regus
    11. Rogers Insurance
    12. Spacelist
    13. Travelers Canada
    14. TruShield Insurance
    15. Zensurance
  • Expansion: Growth accelerators and consultants (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale).
    1. Accenture
    2. Bain & Company
    3. Bakau Consulting
    4. Boston Consulting Group
    5. Canadian Equality Consulting
    6. Capgemini
    7. Decade Impact
    8. Deloitte
    9. Ernst & Young
    10. FTI Consulting
    11. Gartner
    12. Grant Thornton
    13. KOJO Institute
    14. KPMG
    15. McKinsey & Company
    16. Mercer
    17. Oliver Wyman
    18. Protiviti
    19. PwC
    20. Roland Berger
    21. Tata Consultancy Services
    22. The Diversity Agency
    23. Tomee Sojourner Consulting

4. Canadian Startup Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. Air Matrix
  2. Beam.city DNA
  3. Crescendo DEI
  4. Cuboh
  5. Drop
  6. FitDrive
  7. HRVSTR
  8. Lagatos
  9. Magnusmode
  10. Nanoleaf
  11. Psigryph
  12. StonePaper
  13. Trebble FM
  14. Virtual Gurus
  15. Wattpad



Supporters


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Canadian Startup Leaders

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

  1. Adam Nanjee
  2. Adedoyin Omotara
  3. Adeela Carter
  4. Ahmed Ismail
  5. Alexandra McCalla
  6. Amoye Henry
  7. Andrea Blaikie
  8. Andria Barrett
  9. Ashley Athill
  10. Ben Melchionno
  11. Bobbie Racette
  12. Bryan Duarte
  13. Bryan Johnson
  14. Bryan Zheng
  15. Casey Lau
  16. Chad Ford
  17. Claudette McGowan
  18. Deep Singh
  19. Devon Fiddler
  20. Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo
  21. Eugenia Duodu Addy
  22. Gelaine Santiago
  23. Isabel Lopez Starck
  24. Jarret Leaman
  25. Jordan Jocius
  26. Laurie Sterritt
  27. Lekan Olawoye
  28. Mark Podlasly
  29. Michael Athill
  30. Miryam Lazarte
  31. Neha Bahl
  32. Nilay Goyal
  33. Rafael Miranda
  34. Rodrigue Fouafou
  35. Ryan Micheletti
  36. Sammy Zoerb
  37. Sergio Escobar
  38. Sunil Sharma
  39. Stacy-Ann Buchanan
  40. Swish Goswami
  41. Tamar Huggins
  42. Vartika Manasvi
  43. Yung Wu

2. Canadian Government Startup Resources

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

  1. Afro Canadian Chamber of Commerce
  2. Canada - ASEAN Business Council
  3. Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce
  4. Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
  5. Government of Canada Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program
  6. Government of Canada Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub
  7. Government of Canada Black Entrepreneurship Program
  8. Indigenous Business and Investment Council
  9. The Federation of African Canadian Economics
  10. Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs which also include Black Canadian Studies programs or maintain diverse student bodies.)
    1. Carleton University
    2. McGill University
    3. McMaster University
    4. Queen's University
    5. The University of British Columbia
    6. Université de Montréal
    7. University of Alberta
    8. University of Calgary
    9. University of Ottawa
    10. University of Toronto
    11. University of Waterloo
    12. Western University
    13. York University
  • Local Employers: Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google or large local companies, with large local offices, major technology companies that hire and attract diverse talent).
    1. Amazon
    2. Apple
    3. Bell Canada
    4. Cisco
    5. Facebook
    6. Google
    7. HP
    8. IBM
    9. Intel
    10. Microsoft
    11. Oracle
    12. Rogers
    13. SAP
    14. TELUS
*  *  *

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Canadians of Color Startup Ecosyten Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is a perpetual work in progress, and more input is needed!)

Are you looking to build a startup? Then apply to the Founder Institute today

Related Insights

More insights
Founder Institute Image
Startup Ecosystem Canvas

Eastern Europe Startup Resource List: 1,690+ Accelerators, Incubators, Investors, and more

By Phylecia Terrell on Oct 01, 2021
Founder Institute Image
Startup Ecosystem Canvas

Silicon Valley Startup Resource List: 596+ Accelerators, Incubators, Investors, and more

By Drew Zias on Oct 01, 2021
Founder Institute Image
Startup Ecosystem Canvas

Amsterdam Startup Resource List: 500+ Accelerators, Incubators, Investors, and more

By Drew Zias on Sep 30, 2021

Are you ready to join the world's premier startup launch program?

Join the Program