By Michael Van Cooten
TORONTO, Ontario (Thursday, March 4, 2021) — Building Black Businesses in Canada, a new study — conducted by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), a national, non-profit, bilingual organization — that examines the needs of, and opportunities to support, Black entrepreneurs, was released, on Tuesday.
The unprecedented report identifies key characteristics of Black business owners, and highlights a need for additional data to better support them.
“There are many Black businesses in Canada that are under-banked, or unbanked, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges,” commented Christelle Francois, President of the CBCC. “This is our first report that explores the needs of Canadian Black businesses.”
Supported by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), it provides a qualitative look at Black business owners, across Canada, and identifies a number of scenarios that bring their needs and characteristics to light.
“These scenarios are designed to help the private and public sector understand who Black business owners are, the systematic challenges they face, and what they need in order to navigate them,” explained the CBCC, noting “While they tell us the story of some Black entrepreneurs, they are not representative of all.”
According to the study –which was led by market research firm, Pitch Better — the most pressing needs facing Black business owners are: capital and skills for advertising and promotion; personal development and mentorship; and securing and qualifying for capital.
“We understand that this community is under-represented in research circles. This is why continuing to build on this report (and its findings) is necessary, along with providing concrete solutions to address their needs,” CBCC President Francois posited.
“Together with business and government leaders, we can deliver tailored programs, to ensure Black entrepreneurs have the tools to perform, effectively and successfully, within the Canadian economy.”
Currently, there is little data about who Black entrepreneurs are, and a lack of knowledge relating to the textures and nuances of their communities, claimed the CBCC; adding “This disconnect impacts their opportunity to become aware of, and access solutions that can help them scale. It is known that Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges in starting and growing a business – particularly around access to capital.”
To inform the research, the CBCC hosted nine virtual Town Hall meetings with Black entrepreneurs across Canada, to better understand their business operations, motivations, and financial viability.
Additionally, the CBCC disclosed it will soon launch a new research division, concentrating on data collection and analysis of Black entrepreneurs across Canada, utilize the data to identify gaps and propose solutions to corporate Canada and government, with the aim of improving decision making and tailored program development.
“Black entrepreneurs are making a significant contribution to our communities and our country,” observed Michael Denham, President and CEO of the BDC. “Together, we must address the long-standing inequalities that hold them back from achieving their true potential.”
“BDC is committed to being part of the solution and we are proud to work alongside partners, like the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, to listen, understand, and act to support them,” he added.
Self-described as “the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs”, BDC provides access to financing and advisory services, aimed at helping Canadian businesses grow and succeed; and its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions.
“This report is just the start. We are committed to connecting and bridging the gap between corporate Canada and the Black business community for a more thriving and inclusive Canadian economy,” concluded Francois.
The CBCC, additionally, provides a distinctive platform that supports Black businesses; promotes economic growth and prosperity; leads public and private sector advocacy; and forms alliances and broad-based coalitions that represent the economic interests of its members and stakeholders.
To find out more about the study, learn about upcoming events and stay informed with respect to the Chamber’s activities, visit: www.blackchamber.ca/.