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KINGSTON, Ont. — The federal government says it’s investing $25 million to create Canada’s first-ever LGBTQ business program.

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Small Business and Economic Development Minister Mary Ng is expected to announce the funding Thursday in Kingston, Ont.

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The program will be managed by CGLCC, the Chamber of Commerce for Canada’s LGBTQ community, and will include three main components: the Business Expansion Program, the Ecosystem Fund and the Knowledge Hub.

Darrell Schuurman, Co-Founder and CEO of CGLCC, says, “Entrepreneurs who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ play a key role in contributing to Canadian economy”, but they continue to face obstacles in starting and expanding their businesses.

He says the program will give entrepreneurs the resources and support to overcome these obstacles and be successful.

The federal Department of Economic Development reports that there are more than 100,000 LGBTQ-owned and operated businesses in Canada, employing more than 435,000 workers and generating over $22 billion in economic activity.

Yet it is reported that one in four LGBTQ entrepreneurs have faced discrimination or lost their business because of who they are.

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