The LiftOff Black Entrepreneurship Program is designed to support Black entrepreneurs from the earliest stages of starting a business to innovating, growing, and scaling an existing business.
LiftOff’s customized one-on-one coaching model ensures that every minute spent in the program is dedicated to the areas that matter most to your business. LiftOff entrepreneurs spend up to 12 months in the program, working through the important milestones for business success such as market validation and research, business set up and intellectual property, funding and long-term strategy.
IDEATION AND MARKET VALIDATION
Whether you are starting a new business or scaling an existing one, the process of researching and validating your ideas holds great value. Your coach will walk you through a clear, structured process to clarify the problem you are solving, who you are solving it for, and define how your solution is the one everyone has been waiting for. Phase 1 lays the foundation for a successful business.
BUILD AND LAUNCH
Having established a strong foundation, your coach will walk you through the fundamentals of launching a business or new product, how to learn from early customer feedback, and setting up structures that can make any business scalable. With support from subject matter experts, you will set up your business using global best practices, an added competitive advantage in any industry.
POSITION FOR SUCCESS
At this stage, LiftOff is focused on transforming entrepreneurs into leaders who can successfully deliver their vision. You will participate in workshops and bootcamps delivered by successful entrepreneurs and experts on key areas like fundraising, people management, operational excellence, sales and more.
TRANSITION TO COMMUNITY
The final phase of the LiftOff program will open doors for today’s Black entrepreneurs to benefit from and shape tomorrow’s socioeconomic environment. You will deepen your understanding of policy and its impacts on businesses, identify opportunities in the community, and be equipped to meaningfully influence decision-making to address the needs of the Black business community.
What LiftOff Entrepreneurs Receive
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
One-on-one coaching: Weekly coaching sessions with a dedicated Coach, who is also an experienced Black entrepreneur, will help you achieve your goals.
Customized roadmap: Your individual roadmap will guide you through important milestones, giving you clarity on what you should be working on at each stage.
Black Entrepreneurship Perspectives sessions: Share your wins and challenges as a Black person in business and learn from others; build resilience as you build your venture.
Office space: Get access to inspiring, collaborative spaces in the community to work from as you build your business (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).
Mentorship: Learn directly from experts in every core area of business so you can build in line with global best practices and avoid common pitfalls.
Networking: Meet other smart, ambitious Black entrepreneurs like you, mentors, and investors, and become part of a community of support and learning.
Access to funding: Pitch to angel and institutional investors who understand the problem you are solving, market you serve, and challenges you face as a Black entrepreneur.
Access to the ecosystem: Enjoy support if you apply for global accelerator programs or seek corporate partnerships as an alumnus of LiftOff.
How long is the LiftOff program?
The LiftOff program is divided into 4 phases of 3 months each. Entrepreneurs must complete at least 3 months in the program (Phase 1) to join the LiftOff alumni network. Clients may choose to continue in the program for the full 12 months or exit to join another local or international accelerator.
Will coaches/mentors be only Black Identified?
Yes, our coaches and mentors delivering the LiftOff program will be from the Black community. This aligns with our objective for experienced black individuals and Black-led community organizations to help build and support the next wave of Black entrepreneurs.
Will Facilitators / Investors be only Black Identified?
No, our goal is to provide accessibility to wide range of expertise for each business venture, so you can build in line with global best practices.
Do I have to pay to join the program?
No. They LiftOff program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund and will be delivered free to successful applicants.
Will I get funding for my business if I am accepted into the program?
Successful applicants will have opportunities throughout the program to pitch their business opportunity to investors who understand the problem they are solving, markets they serve, and challenges they face as a Black entrepreneur. These pitch opportunities provide an avenue to secure seed funding. LiftOff does not currently give funding to program participants.
I live outside of Ontario, can I still apply to the program?
Yes. However, an applicant's business must be registered in the Waterloo/Wellington Region to be eligible to apply to the LiftOff program. Applicants are also required to be legally entitled to work in Canada.
I am not Black but my co-founder self identifies as Black. Can I still apply to the LiftOff program?
Yes. Applicants are still eligible to apply to the LiftOff program if one or more founders of a business identifies as Black. You will be asked to self-identify on the application to the program.
All opinions expressed by the entrepreneurs in the program are their own and do not reflect the opinions of LiftOff By CCAWR, their respective parent companies or associated partners. The entrepreneur’s opinions are based upon information they deem reliable, but neither LiftOff By CCAWR nor its affiliates, nor the companies which such participants are affiliated with, warrant its complete accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such.