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March 2023 Issue

Welcome to Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation’s (IEF) March 2023 Newsletter! Check out the exciting news,resources, tools, and events made available to inspire you and support your business.

What’s in this Issue


Business Tools & Resources


Meet the Recipients of the IEF 2022/23 Microgrants!

22/23 Micro-Grants

We are thrilled with the overwhelming response this year to our IEF Micro-grants, presented in partnership with UPS!

We want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to IEF’s Board of Directors who participated in this year’s adjudication. The Adjudication Team had the difficult task of determining the micro-grant recipients from the over 2000 applications we received.

Check out the inspiring and extraordinary social innovation, community connections, and products & services provided by the six micro-grant recipients!

Clean Valley Bio-filtration Technologies CIC

Nicholas LaValle

Clean Valley Bio-filtration Technologies CIC

Climate-Related Product Innovation Micro-grant

Sponsored by UPS: a $5000 cash grant to be awarded to a business demonstrating innovation to address urgent climate-related issues.

Will Fan

Will Fan


Global Impact Micro-grant

Sponsored by UPS: a $5000 cash grant to be awarded to a business who has demonstrated international scale.

Jess Devenport

Jess Devenport


Digital Innovator Micro-grant

Sponsored by Meta: a $5000 cash grant plus $5000 in Meta advertising credits to be awarded to a business who moved their operations online as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy

Little Engine Moving Pictures

Woman Identifying Business Owner Micro-grant

Sponsored by TD #TDWomenInEnterprise: three micro-grants of $5000 cash to be awarded to women-identifying business owners seeking access to a business grant to scale their business.

Stephanie Leithead

Stephanie Leithead

Aurora Wellness Group Ltd.

Woman Identifying Business Owner Micro-grant

Sponsored by TD #TDWomenInEnterprise: three micro-grants of $5000 cash to be awarded to women-identifying business owners seeking access to a business grant to scale their business.

Sandra Phillips

Sandra Phillips


Woman Identifying Business Owner Micro-grant

Sponsored by TD #TDWomenInEnterprise: three micro-grants of $5000 cash to be awarded to women-identifying business owners seeking access to a business grant to scale their business.

Congratulations to all the IEF 2022/23 Micro-grant recipients! Each of you demonstrate unwavering commitment to community and social impact! And thank you to our incredible partners and sponsors who made this program possible: UPSTD Bank, and Meta, whose support aids in elevating our nation’s talented entrepreneurs belonging to equity-deserving and/or racialized communities.

Meet the Recipients of the IEF 2022/23 Microgrants!

The small and mighty team at the charity has been working tirelessly with our incredible partners and supporters to develop new and meaningful programs, resources, and education sessions to better serve our growing network of Canadian entrepreneurs belonging to racialized and/or equity-deserving communities.

Entrepreneur Mental Health Resources & Education Sessions

In partnership with Green Shield Canada, IEF is working with a talented group of Canadian therapists and mental health experts who culturally represent our network to bring you Entrepreneur Mental Health Resources.

Launching this Spring, the charity will host a series of education webinars and roundtable discussions about entrepreneurial mental health and well being, and will be publishing resources, tools, and Insights Reports available for all.

Canadian Small Business Directory

As our network of talented entrepreneurs and SMEs continues to grow rapidly across the nation, we are excited to offer a platform this Spring that will feature all of our network businesses who choose to be represented on our Canadian Small Business Directory.

Our goal is to showcase the incredible talent and social innovation that our network provides in an aim to promote your business across the IEF community and across the country. The directory will allow users to search for goods & services from a particular territory or province, or from a founder belonging to a specific racialized or equity-deserving community.

Rolling invitations to opt into the directory will be sent to all operating businesses in our network, in cohorts of 250 invitations at a time, starting in April 2023.

The 2023 #CANIE Awards, presented in partnership with UPS

The Canada Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards—the CANIE Awards—is Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation’s flagship program recognizing excellence in Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship throughout every province and territory across the country.

We are gearing up for an incredible launch of our much anticipated 2023 CANIE Awards! 2023 marks the 41st anniversary of the CANIE Awards, the 4th year the charity has hosted the awards, and the first year where the charity can plan well in advance for in-person celebrations across the nation!

In May 2023 we will announce our award categories and dates for our open call for applications and nominations.

This year we will be hosting a hybrid Winner’s Circle roundtable discussion with all CANIE award winners, followed by an Awards Cocktail Party, and two Regional Award Cocktail Party events. Locations and dates for all events will be announced Summer 2023.

Stay Informed

The charity is collaborating with several incredible partners who will be providing our network useful education sessions, webinars, and meaningful business resources throughout the balance of the year. Stay connected with us through our newsletters and network communications for key launch dates, registration information for programs and education sessions, and information on all other free resources we offer our national entrepreneur community!

This week the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, released Federal Budget 2023.

With more details to follow from the federal government on timing, here are a few notable commitments that may aid in supporting our nation’s innovators and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • New Federal Tourism Growth Strategy: $108 Million will be invested over three years through Regional Development Agencies to support small businesses, communities, and non-profits in the development of local projects and events geared to enhance the local community. $50 Million over three years will be funded to Destination Canada to attract major international conferences, events, and conventions.

  • Reduction in Visa and Mastercard credit card fees for small businesses: Canadian small businesses accepting credit cards will have credit card interchange fees reduced by up to 27%. As cited in the budget, a small business generating $300,000 per year in credit card revenue will have a reduction in credit card interchange fees by approximately $1080 per year. Additional cyber security support will be provided for free to qualifying small businesses.

  • $20 Billion invested over six years to promote private enterprise investment into green technology. The federal government will further define the tax credits private companies may qualify for regarding carbon capture, clean electricity, and equipment purchased to manufacture clean technologies.

  • National Supply Chain Strategy aiming to reduce supply chain congestion and improve efficiencies. The strategy also commits to gather and communicate data to aid in shaping our nation’s future supply chain strategies.

  • Funding for a Federal Action Plan committing to identify and reduce our nation’s barriers in inter-provincial trade.

For full details on the announcement and federal funding plans, check out the complete Budget 2023 Release.

i.d.e.a Fund: Grants of up to $30K for Southern Ontario businesses

The i.d.e.a (Inclusion, Diversity, Environment, Acceleration) Fund was created to support SMEs, and position local economies in Southern Ontario for long-term growth. The i.d.e.a. Fund will contribute to an inclusive, green recovery by providing support and funding to small and medium sized businesses (1-499 employees) committed to developing new green products, services, processes, and technologies and/or redesigning existing products, services, processes, and technologies to reduce their impact on the environment.
The i.d.e.a. Fund’s call for applications is open until April 17th, 2023, and i.d.e.a. Fund has committed to dedicating a significant percentage of funding to business owners/founders belonging to racialized and/or equity deserving communities. For further details on eligibility and the funding program, check out the program guide, and consult the i.d.e.a. Fundwebsite for the application portal and upcoming information sessions.

Green Shield Canada’s Room for Her: Free Mental Health & Wellness Support 


Our friends and mental health partners at Green Shield Canada continue to offer their initiative, Room for Her, providing women across Canada access to free mental health services.

Room for Her supports all Canadian women on their mental health journey by offering a free one on one counselling session, and free 12-month access to Tranquility Online’s internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) program.
Learn more about Room for Her’s complementary counselling session and free one-year subscription to Tranquility Online’s iCBT program here.

Joe Harry, entrepreneur and founder of the Global Black Alliance (GBA), is spreading the word about a Black-owned business that is changing the way consumers shop.

RealOnes app is a free GPS for Black-owned businesses and allies of Black communities, founded by GBARealOnes provides a place for allies to immediately connect through entrepreneurship, commerce, social justice, humanitarianism and more in a time where people must make smart decisions about how they spend their money, and the causes/businesses they support. 

Any company or community member can be represented on the app provided their values align with GBA’s mission: to connect customers to Black-owned businesses & allies locally and around the world.

Learn more about Joe Harry’s call to action that inspired him to found the Global Black Alliance and the RealOnes app here. #JoinTheGBA #JoinTheMovement

The Founder’s Journey, by Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, Western University

Canada continues its commitment to procure products and services from small and medium-sized businesses with founders belonging to racialized and/or equity-deserving groups.

The government of Canada purchases billions of dollars of goods and services every year to aid in the delivery of services and programs to Canadians.
This informative webinar will review the contracting process, how to register in the supplier database, finding key purchasing contacts, searching for business opportunities, and how to bid on opportunities. Register here to learn how your venture may be able to attain business from the government of Canada.

The Startup Canada Tour kicks off in Whitehorse, YT on April 25, 2023!

Join our friends at Startup Canada as they launch their Startup Canada Tour, with their first stop in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on April 25, 2023!

Participants will have the opportunity to build their network with business mentors and entrepreneur support organizations locally and from across the nation, learn from industry experts, and access resources to support the development and launch of their businesses.
Find more details HERE, including info on the Startup Global Pitch Pop-up Competition offering an opportunity to win $3000, list of speakers and sessions, and to register for free.

IEF Logo colour

Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation (IEF) is a national charity dedicated to supporting, educating, and celebrating entrepreneurs and innovators belonging to racialized and/or equity-deserving groups as they navigate the unfair barriers of institutional, structural, and interpersonal biases.

IEF releases a monthly newsletter on the last Friday of each month to provide you updates to our programs, share information about tools, resources, and services that may support you and your business, and to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship across Canada. Subscribe HERE. See something missing from the newsletter? Let us know what content you want to see at info@ief-fie.ca.



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