The federal government says it will invest $25 million to create Canada's first-ever LGBTQ entrepreneurship program.

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

The program will be run by the CGLCC, a chamber of commerce for Canada's LGBTQ community, and will include three main components: A business scale-up program, an Ecosystem Fund and a Knowledge Hub. 

Darrell Schuurman, co-founder and CEO of the CGLCC, says "entrepreneurs who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ play a crucial role in contributing to the Canadian economy" but continue to face barriers when starting and expanding their businesses. 

He says the program will provide entrepreneurs with resources and support to tackle these obstacles and be successful.

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

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2023.