Building the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

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From a few small offices inside Carleton’s new Nicol Building, groundbreaking work is underway to identify barriers and supports for Black entrepreneurs in Canada.

Since the launch of the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH) in December 2021, Gerald Grant, a professor at the Sprott School of Business and co-director of the hub, has been busy building infrastructure to help future research and programming.

“We’re focused on getting things up and running and putting in place the governance structure and strategies to run the program going forward,” Grant says.

Professor Gerald Grant

Grant has been busy hiring staff for the BEKH and setting up workspaces at the Innovation Center inside the Nicol building. Initially, Grant is looking to find an executive director and a knowledge broker to get the job started, but eventually hopes to have two full-time and two part-time administrator positions.

“We’re looking for specific skills and want to be careful about getting the right complement of staff to make sure we can be successful,” says Grant.

Outside of staff, other priorities for Grant and his team include developing agreements with BEKH’s main partner, the Dream Legacy Foundation and with other regional centers and university cohorts. It also plans a series of regional focus groups to generate research themes and data for a planned mapping project, a collaboration with the Center for Geomatics and Mapping Research, which will describe the ecosystem of Black entrepreneurs across the country.

“Along the way, we are entering into discussions with other public and private sector entities, who are interested in partnering with BEKH to advance our agenda,” Grant said. “This will build BEKH’s capacity and provide access to additional support and resources.”

As news of BEKH begins to spread through academic networks and mainstream media, Grant responds to calls and emails from those who wish to participate and contribute to the work of BEKH.

“People have reached out to the public and nonprofit sectors and ministries,” he says. “There is a general understanding that there is a lack of data in the field of black entrepreneurship, so we are hearing from those who want to share their data and tell their stories.

There is a clear perception of the Hub as a collaborative space, where working together will benefit many.

Over the next year, Grant says he expects the Hub to be fully functional, with community partners actively engaged in co-creating and developing research that reflects the needs of Black entrepreneurs. Within five years, Grant hopes BEKH will help guide policymaking at all levels of government and in the public and private sectors.

“Everyone is looking for research they can trust. We want BEKH to be that reliable source of information on black entrepreneurship in Canada.


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Wednesday, February 23, 2022 in Black History Month, Sprott School of Business
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