Business & Leadership Essentials Certificate Program

Tune in to your leader instincts with lessons from one of Canada’s top business schools.

In partnership with

Business & Leadership Essentials Certificate Program

Find your focus. Develop your leadership.

Designed in partnership with Schulich ExecEd by the Schulich School of Business at York University, this free, 2-month certificate program gives Black professionals & entrepreneurs the business and leadership foundations to succeed in today’s competitive landscape.

Through a series of virtual sessions, you’ll develop your business acumen and flesh out your ideal leadership style. The program’s unique Capstone Project also gives participants the chance to address a specific startup or organizational challenge with their peer group from start to finish.

All participants of this virtual program will be awarded with an encrypted digital credential from the prestigious Schulich ExecEd Centre.

Apply If You’re

An early-in-career or aspiring Black-identifying entrepreneur looking for accessible, intensive business & leadership courses taught by top-ranked instructors and industry leaders.

Our upcoming session

Business & Leadership Essentials Certificate (Fall 2023)


September 11 - November 20, 2023



Apply From

June 19 - August 4, 2023

Get notified when applications open:

Ignite your leadership spark

In partnership with

Topics In the Program

Business basics & beyond

Complete a startup and organizational challenge with your peer group until the end of the program.


  • Mixed group of entrepreneurs & corporate professionals
  • Business skills for startups
  • Organizational challenges
  • At the end, they’ll present challenges at the end
  • Breakout rooms to work with your team as if you were on a project team
  • Taking your learnings and applying it on a real-world challenge

Format: Live Virtual Sessions


Strategy carves a path forward. Without it, many organizations and leaders fall short of their goals. Be prepared to dig into the essentials of strategy.


  • Analyze industry structure and environmental trends.
  • Assess how a firm’s resources and capabilities generate a competitive advantage.
  • Formulate new strategies under different contexts.
  • Explain how firms add value to multiple businesses.
  • Implement strategies and organize the firm for success.

Format: Live Virtual Sessions



Sales and Marketing are the foundations of revenue. Together, they can be their best allies. Learn how to use sales and marketing to grow a business.

  • Understand the concepts, analyses and activities that comprise marketing.
  • Learn how to communicate marketing analyses in an effective manner using professional formats.
  • Understand key drivers of success in sales.
  • Learn the basics of how to operate a sales force and key activities used in effective sales management.

Format: Live Virtual Sessions



Finance is the language of business.  In University, students are evaluated by their GPA. In the corporate world, management is evaluated by the financial results of the organization.

  • Define the various financial statements and how to utilize and interpret them to evaluate the health of an organization.
  • Have a basic understanding of the Time Value of Money concepts and why it is important in business investment decisions.
  • Understand the various Management decision tools used to evaluate projects.
  • Develop the basics of budgeting.

Format: Live Virtual Sessions



This course breaks down what makes a manager great. It looks at the foundations of effective management such as communication, managing emotions and performance.

  • Define the foundation of effective management.
  • Develop communication skills to improve your management performance.
  • Identify strategies to manage your emotions and how others react and feel.
  • Explore how to manage others’ performance.

A program that opens new doors

The BEA Learning Community gives members access to ongoing online content, community events, and more.

Hear from our graduates

“I recommend this program to anyone willing to learn how to better themselves and grow their business. On top of networking opportunities outside of class time, I found a great support system of peers to help each other mentally. I learned a lot about myself as a business owner, and how my emotions can affect my profit, growth and skills. Getting to learn different points of view in a free environment helps us build better opportunities to work together in the community by connecting and supporting each other to ensure growth in our business goals.”

Christine Robinson

Chef Chrissy Cuisine

“This program allowed me to analyze my approach to clients and to my business, identifying opportunities for improvement and offering better experiences by becoming a better leader. I learned a lot of valuable information here, and I recommend this program to anyone looking to level up their knowledge, engagement at work, or their business.”

Tariq Al Barwani


“Joining this program was probably the most powerful professional and developmental experience that I could have had… The collective experience of different minds from the city coming together under one roof was so inspiring. We were all at different points on our career path, so I learned a lot from both the professors and my peers.”

Fahad Y.

Manager at a social housing provider

“Our Neighbours’ Farm applied for a business loan through Community Futures Development Corporation and successfully secured expansion funding to have the capital required to build the store and cover operational costs. Being in a supportive space week after week with Black entrepreneurs and end engaged educators was what germinated the seeds that had been planted. Being in the program through BEA helped open our doors to customers in the summer of 2023.”

Samantha Harris

Our Neighbours’ Farm and Homestead

Our application process

Program & application faq

Learn more details about the program below, or get in touch with us for all other enquiries.

The BEA’s Business & Leadership Essentials Certificate program is a free, 2-month program designed to give Black professionals & entrepreneurs the business and leadership foundations to succeed in today’s competitive landscape.


Participants will join a series of virtual sessions to learn core skills while completing their Capstone Project with their peer group.


At the end of this virtual program, participants will be awarded with an encrypted digital credential issued by Schulich ExecEd.

Issued by Schulich ExecEd, digital credentials are recognized symbols acknowledging that the owner of the credential has successfully completed a program and has acquired all the new skills offered by the program. Your digital credentials are stored in a blockchain-encrypted digital wallet linked directly to you, and cannot be duplicated by anyone else.


Once shared on your online profile or resume, employers and clients can easily and securely verify your qualifications and level of expertise.


Learn more about digital credentials

Sessions for our upcoming cohort (Fall 2023) will take place on the following dates:

September 11, 18, 25; October 2, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20 (Graduation).

Applications for our upcoming cohort are due on August 14, 2023.

Applicant interviews will take place from August 7 – 14, and successful applicants will be notified by August 21.

To ensure successful graduation, participants must:

  • Attend all sessions*
  • Actively participate in sessions (Participants participate virtually by keeping their cameras on)
  • Complete all reading materials
  • Submit a finished Capstone Project


*Participants are allowed a maximum of 1 absence if the BEA team is notified in advance.


Participants who do not meet the above criteria will not be eligible to graduate or receive a digital credential.

Nothing! All BEA programs are free and non-dilutive (we take no equity).

Our Business & Leadership Essentials Certificate program is open to all Black-identifying individuals over the age of 18, located within Southern Ontario.

Early-in-career employees, business leaders and founders/entrepreneurs looking to quickly develop their business acumen and skills from highly rated instructors.

No, applicants do not need prior university or college credentials.

Participants are expected to contribute a minimum of 5 hours per week to participate in the educational workshops and connect with their mentors. Any additional time they have to complete the work required to push their business idea forward will be up to the participant.

A maximum of 30 applicants will be chosen for the program during each cohort.

Innovation Infrastructure In Underserved cOmmunities:

Innovation Hub Feasibility Study

Make Innovation Accessible for All. Fill out the survey to provide your insights, perspectives, and recommendations to inform a proposed Innovation Hub that will support underrepresented entrepreneurs and professionals. 

The survey closes on August 18, 2023.