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The Business Development Bank of Canada and Black Innovation Capital are launching a $10-million venture capital fund meant to help Black-owned businesses.

The fund will focus on investing in Canadian pre-seed and seed stage technology companies founded by Black entrepreneurs.

The fund’s creators say it has an initial close of $6.4-million and investors including RBC Ventures, Globalive Capital and Telus Ventures.

The fund will run by Lise Birikundavyi, whose career in the finance and investment sectors has included time working at hedge funds and as chief executive of a tech startup.

The fund says Birikundavyi will be the first Black female to lead an institutionally backed VC fund in Canada.

A 2019 study from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association shows only 18 per cent of partners at venture capital firms were “visible minorities” and that number sits at six per cent in private equity.

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