Applications are open for a new Indiegraf grant program aimed at supporting the growth of BIPOC-led news outlets in Canada.
With funding from the Facebook Journalism Project, the BIPOC Media Growth Program will provide $25,000 grants and support from Indiegraf to six Canadian media projects owned or led by BIPOC journalists.
This initial program marks the launch of Indie Capital, Indiegraf’s initiative that provides grants and flexible financing to promising independent news outlets to help fund their growth.
The last year has seen major growth in independent journalists striking out on their own to start news outlets and fill community news gaps. Journalist-entrepreneurs are poised to play a significant role in solving the local news problem, but many struggle to access seed capital and build capacity to fuel their growth. The majority rely on personal savings and have to take on significant financial risk before their audiences and revenues can reach sustainability.
“If the only people who can afford to found independent news outlets are those with the networks and savings to raise capital, the future of news will replicate the same lack of diversity inherent in today’s problems of legacy media,” says Erin Millar, co-founder and CEO of Indiegraf. “This is why we created Indie Capital.”
Indie Capital’s BIPOC Media Growth Program is open to publishers, both in the Indiegraf network and those interested in joining, that can demonstrate audience traction and growth potential. Selected publishers will receive direct funding, subsidized technology, training, consulting and digital marketing services designed to help them grow their brand awareness, audience engagement and revenue over a four month period. Apply here by May 28.
This program is part of a larger investment made by the Facebook Journalism Project to support diverse Canadian media that serve underrepresented communities. Facebook is also funding a partnership between the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada and Indiegraf to support news services providing coverage to Bengali, Greek, Iranian, Chinese, Sri Lankan and Tamil communities in Canada.
“Canadians want to see their diverse experiences reflected in the media they consume, which is why Facebook Canada is committed to helping increase the strength of underrepresented voices,” said Kevin Chan, Global Director and Head of Public Policy for Facebook Canada. “Facebook has been working with Indiegraf since it launched and we’re grateful to their team for partnering with us to share their expertise with BIPOC publishers and help them grow.”
“It is our honor and privilege to be part of Indiegraf and Facebook program in assisting publications,” said Arash Kharabi, the CEO of Iran Star. “Their outstanding program helped us beyond what words can express and will be so crucial to any news company.”
In the coming months, Indie Capital will roll out other funding opportunities for community news publishers across North America that are committed to providing equitable coverage in communities experiencing news poverty. If you’re not eligible for this first program, but you’d like to express your interest in future opportunities, sign up for email updates here.
“The current disruption in community news is a generational opportunity to change who owns and is served by news outlets,” says Millar. “We want Indie Capital to lower the bar to entry so anyone with talent and passion, no matter their family income or who they know, can participate in media entrepreneurship.”
If you are a funder interested in learning more about supporting Indie Capital or Indiegraf publishers, contact us here.