In November of last year, Lenovo announced the extension of its Evolve Small program to women and Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour-owned (BIPOC) small business owners in Ontario, in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT).
The two entities yesterday awarded grants to 10 small businesses owned by women and BIPOC across the province. Each recipient received a C$10,000 grant to enable them to innovate their business and stay accessible to their communities throughout the pandemic. In addition, Lenovo says it will offer educational programming to all TRBOT members to help accelerate their digital adoption. According to recent insights from Statistics Canada, small businesses are more likely to have financial constraints over the next 12 months than their larger counterparts.
- Funding Essentials – Ottawa-based professional services company that helps businesses and organizations navigate the income-generating options within their industry by assisting them with the required documentation to submit proposals, grants, and financing applications.
- Flux & Fire – Toronto-based company dedicated to providing conscious consumers with infrared therapy and products to optimize the mind, body, and spirit.
- Atlas Studio: Cambridge-based company that offers interactive in-person, online live and on-demand yoga classes and therapy, workshops, yoga, yoga therapy, and meditation teacher training services.
- Elleverity: Milton-based wealth management company that aims to drive women’s financial independence.
- Whole WoMan Network: Richmond Hill-based social enterprise providing financial literacy training, leadership, and business consulting services to new immigrants, with a focus on African women and youth.
- Chorus Music Academy: Vaughan-based Yamaha Authorized Music Education Center, Chorus Music Academy offers Yamaha’s Music Education System for young beginners, as well as other popular music programs from Yamaha certified instructors.
- Krippit Corporation: Toronto-based 3D fashion tech company that designs innovative 3D printed high heel protectors.
- Living Farmacy: A subscription-based wellness company founded by a mom on a mission, located in Toronto.
- Emkiro Health Services: EM – KEE – RO is a hybrid Japanese noun signifying one’s journey back to optimal health; a crossroad in health and medical services. The company provides Toronto working professionals and residents with medical and allied health professional services.
- Facedrive: Toronto-based company offers green transportation solutions by focusing on carbon emissions reduction. Riders can choose between an electric, hybrid, or gas vehicle.
“As the pandemic continues to impact us all, we recognize that small businesses, and especially minority-owned small businesses, have been hit the hardest and need support to survive and thrive,” said Colin McIsaac, vice-president and general manager, Lenovo Canada. “We hope that the funding provided through the grant program with the Toronto Region Board of Trade will provide relief to some of the businesses who have been impacted the most, and we look forward to seeing how these funds are used to innovate and build for the future.”
TRBOT noted it received a total of 203 small business applicants over the two-month application window that met eligibility requirements. All applications were reviewed by a panel of experts from TRBOT and grant recipients were selected based on their ability to demonstrate their business’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives and their completion of one or more of TRBOT’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP) streams, an online support and education program designed to help businesses adapt to a more digital world during and after the pandemic. By focusing on attracting customers, improving supply-chain efficiencies, managing workforces virtually, and streamlining costs, RAP provides a comprehensive toolkit to support the long-term success of Toronto’s small business community.
“The submissions we received show a remarkable range of engaged, passionate women and BIPOC entrepreneurs,” said Leigh Smout, president of the World Trade Centre Toronto. “Each of these grants, which Lenovo has made possible, will allow the recipients to grow their business and, in turn, their already-significant contributions to our regional economy and communities. We are proud to be associated with Lenovo and these amazing business leaders.”