We all know that starting a business is no easy feat. This is even more true for Black entrepreneurs. Despite having the talent, ability, and resilience required to build venture-scale businesses, only 2% of venture funding raised in North America went to Black-led companies in 2020.

How can we increase the number of successful black-led startups? The answer is resources and opportunity—including education, mentorship, and access to capital.

On Wednesday, November 30th, The Black Wealth Club & NEXT Canada are inviting self-identifying Black founders, supporters, and ecosystem partners looking to build, fund, and scale impactful startups to explore how we can build the next generation of Black-led unicorns in Canada.

The evening will include an inspiring panel discussion from trailblazing Black founders and NEXT Canada alumni who will share their candid experiences building their companies and how they leveraged their experience at NEXT to start and scale successful businesses.

This is a great opportunity to build connections with our shared communities of Black founders, investors, and partners and learn how NEXT Canada programs can help accelerate your trajectory as an entrepreneur.


6:00 PM – Welcome & Refreshments

6:20 PM – Overview of NEXT Canada programs

6:30 PM – Panel Discussion

6:50 PM – Open Q&A

7:00 PM – Wrap-Up & Final Remarks

7: 15 PM – Open Networking

8:00 PM – Event Concludes

Panel Speakers

Janelle Hinds | Next 36, 2015

Founder & Executive Director at Helping Hands App, DEI & Strategy Consultant, Board Member at Futurpreneur, Forbes Top 30 Under 30

Janelle Hinds is an award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, facilitator, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion and strategic consultant. Janelle is the founder of Helping Hands, a non-profit that aims to help young people build their skills and careers through volunteering, entrepreneurship, and early career exploration. As a public speaker and consultant, Janelle is an advocate for social innovation, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in various industries. Janelle sits on the Board of Directors for Futurpreneur and the McMaster Alumni Association. In 2020, Janelle was chosen as the only Canadian on Forbes Top 30 Under 30 list for her achievements in the Education sector.

Aileen Agada | Next 36, 2020

Founder & CEO at BeBlended, Venture Capital Analyst at Emerald Technology Ventures

Aileen Agada is the founder of BeBlended, an online marketplace that connects Black women with freelance hairsylists across the globe. She’s also a part-time Venture Capital Analyst at Emerald Technology Ventures, a globally recognized venture capital firm focused on building a sustainable future with more than $1B dollars in assets under management. Previously, Aileen held business and technical positions at the Government of Canada, the Toronto Transit Commission, and Manulife Financial. Aileen holds a BASc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is currently completing a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) as a part-time student at the University of Waterloo.

Edgar Brown | Next 36, 2019

Founder & Coach at Principled Growth, Entrepreneurship Committee Manager at The Black Wealth Club

Edgar Brown is a marketer, coach, and entrepreneur who builds and scales mission-driven technology companies. He’s the founder of Principled Growth, a coaching and consulting firm that helps purpose-driven founders, operators, and executives scale their startups, their careers, and themselves. Previously, he was a Growth Lead at On Deck, a Series B EdTech startup backed by top investors including Founders Fund and Tiger Global, where he helped 7x revenue in less than two years as the team underwent hyper-growth. He’s also the co-manager of the entrepreneurship subcommittee at The Black Wealth Club (“BWC”), a non-profit established in collaboration with Paul Desmarais III to help the Black community in Canada build wealth and reinvest it in their community. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Computer Science from McGill University.


Efosa Obano

Founder & Program Manager at the Black Founders Network, Founder & Impact investor at The African Impact Initiative

Efosa Obano started and manages the Black Founders Network, which supports Black entrepreneurs with capital, community, and capacity building. He also started and leads the African Impact Initiative, which invests in early African innovators. He has experience with using technology to create social impact, invest with impact, and build early-stage ventures. He has been recognized by the UN and the Ontario Minister’s Award of Excellence for this work. Prior to that, he led a team that guided startups on their digital transformation journeys with Dell Technologies Canada. He also led community outreach for Dell Canada’s Social Impact Team & Black Networking Alliance. He received Dell’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award for this work. Efosa holds a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Management from the University of Toronto.

What is a Unicorn?

The term “unicorn” refers to a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion. Building Black Unicorns in Canada is an event to bring together the black community to celebrate and encourage the creation of Black-owned ventures that have the power to impact change and reach unicorn status.

We believe that today’s black founders have the potential to help grow more Canadian headquarters, jobs, equity, and ultimately the power to change lives globally. NEXT Canada wants to help build more black unicorns in Canada.

Learn more about Next Canada Programs

Accelerate your growth & access our powerful entrepreneurial network with one of our 3 programs:

Next 36: For students or recent grads with big dreams and an entrepreneurial mindset

Next 36 selects 36 of the most entrepreneurial undergrads and recent grads from coast-to-coast who we believe have what it takes to build canada’s next unicorn. With Next 36, you will go from ideation to launch and beyond, all within 8 months. You will experience accelerated growth thanks to access to tactical education, mentorship and a network of the strongest entrepreneurs in Canada.

Applications open: October 17th, 2022 – December 2nd, 2022

Next AIFor entrepreneurs looking to solve global challenges with AI-enabled solutions

Next AI is a world-class program for artificial intelligence-based ventures and technology commercialization. We identify talented, idea or early-stage teams with ambitious solutions and leverage Canada’s leadership position in AI to provide them with the capital, mentorship, education and network to disrupt industries.

Applications open: October 17th, 2022 – December 11th, 2022

Next Founders: For growth stage founders looking to scale their businesses into world class ventures

Next Founders accepts seed and growth stage founders who are looking to accelerate their business and their entrepreneurial mindset. As NEXT Canada’s most flexible program, Next Founders offers à-la-carte education from some of North America’s top minds that entrepreneurs can opt in to based on their individual needs and knowledge gaps.

Applications open: October 17th, 2022 – February 12th, 2023


Apply today: https://apply.nextcanada.com/

Learn more about The Black Wealth Club

The Black Wealth Club (“BWC”) is a non-profit established in collaboration with Paul Desmarais III to help the Black community in Canada build wealth and reinvest it in their community. The BWC brings 50 emerging Canadian Black leaders (per cohort) together with CEOs, public leaders, award-winning academics, top professionals, and other executives. This curated cohort experience offers members the opportunity to connect with like-minded, ambitious, and accomplished individuals who also share a commitment to giving back.

Learn more at: www.blackwealthclub.ca