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New report examines barriers facing Black entrepreneurs in Canada

Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce study identifies key characteristics of Black business owners and highlights a need for additional data to better support Black entrepreneurs

Toronto, ON – March 2, 2021 – Today, the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) released Building Black Businesses in Canada, a rare study examining the needs of, and opportunities to support, Black entrepreneurs. The report, supported by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), provides a qualitative look at Black business owners across Canada and identifies a number of personas that bring their needs and characteristics to light.

The personas are designed to help the private and public sector understand who Black business owners are, the systematic challenges they face, and what they need to navigate them. While they tell us the story of some Black entrepreneurs, they are not representative of all.

According to the study, 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

“There are many Black businesses in Canada that are under-banked, or unbanked, and the pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges,” says Christelle Francois, President, CBCC. “This is our first report exploring the needs of Canadian Black businesses. 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. 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. 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 Halls with Black entrepreneurs across Canada to better understand their business operations, motivations, and financial viability. Additionally, soon the CBCC will launch a new research division concentrating on data collection and analysis of Black entrepreneurs across Canada, and utilize the data to identify gaps and propose solutions to corporate Canada and government to improve decision making and tailored program development.

“Black entrepreneurs are making a significant contribution to our communities and our country,” said Michael Denham, President and CEO, 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.”

“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 study was led by market research firm, Pitch Better. 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/.

About Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce

The Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce is a national, non-profit, bilingual organization. We are 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 our members and stakeholders.

About BDC

BDC is the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. It provides access to financing, as well as advisory services to help Canadian businesses grow and succeed. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. For more than 75 years, BDC’s only purpose has been to support entrepreneurs in all industries and at all stages of growth. For more information and to consult more than 1,000 free tools, articles and entrepreneurs’ stories, visit bdc.ca.

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