• 10 Sep 2021 12:19 PM | Nerissa Allen (Administrator)

    We are excited to announce our inaugural Business Excellence Awards, Sept 17, 2022

    This will be an exciting moment in our history, honoring the contributions of the Black Business Community to Canada's economy.

    To stay informed, sign up for email notifications. We also have a dedicated page keeping you update. Nominations will open Jan 1, 2022!


  • 5 Jun 2021 11:51 AM | Nerissa Allen (Administrator)

    It has been a year since the tragic murder of George Floyd brought to the forefront systemic racism that plagues are systems, institutions, and lives. As a catalyst for the hashtag #supportblackbusiness, have we seen change? I think the question should be, what are we doing to create long lasting change? The #supportblackbusiness saw many small businesses benefit from the influx of community support, however, as time passed and emotions leveled off, do we continue to see the same level of support? Begs the question, are we supposed to sit back and ride the wave or is it incumbent upon us to use this as an opportunity, a pilot light, to continued progress. I see it as the latter, and as such through the Black Business Association of BC (BBABC), we have spent the year building relationships and creating strategies to promote the continual upliftment of the community.

    • 1.       We worked with and continue to work with various levels of government to help diversify the government procurement supply chain. Including a 6 week bootcamp with Public Service and Procurement Canada.
    • 2.       We worked with and continue to work with Boards of Trade to raise awareness about industry diversified supply chain. In addition, we are in the process of building a portal to support B2B transactions.
    • 3.       We are working with Hudson Pacific Properties to launch our first ever BBABC Pop-up shop Marketplace at the Bentall Centre downtown Vancouver. This pop-up marketplace will run from June 14 – August 13, 2021. Utilizing empty space in the downtown core to help small businesses showcase and sell their products, while gaining brand exposure, this is an all-round win.
    • 4.       We are keeping the flame of public and community support alive by building a B2C online marketplace (sponsored by Vancity Credit Union) where anyone can find products and services offered by Black owned business.
    • 5.      We partnered with the Small Business BC (SBBC) to create a resource portal for Black entrepreneurs.
    • 6.      The Province of BC and the Federal government have made a concerted effort to include our community leaders in conversation when creating policy and strategies that affect the community.
    • 7.       We teamed up with Amazon to streamline an onboarding process and personalized business support for any business wanting to open an Amazon Canada Store.
    • 8.       We have been supported by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service to build international relationships to promote increased international market access.
    • 9.   We delivered 30 individual business learning webinars to support business owner growth.

    Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, and we would like to see more supports to help solopreneurs, artists, and similar who have not been able to access the various provincial and federal business grants. We also believe it is crucial for all levels of government to provide mental health supports for business owners and their staff if we are to emerge from this pandemic ready to flourish.

    Final thoughts, yes, there have seen some empty promises, and yes, we have seen some dwindling of the initial support. However, as an organization with a passion to support the community, we have seen more gains because we have taken the approach that we must build a strong foundation to survive future crisis.

    Many of us think in the present, “my glass is half full” or “my glass is half empty”, I like to think in the future “I am blessed with a glass, so what can I do to make sure I can always fill it up”. I strongly believe this is what helps the BBABC to formulate ideas to promote progressive generational change.

    So, we forge ahead fostering relationships and strategically building new concepts that will support entrepreneurs of today, tomorrow, and well into the future.

  • 16 Aug 2020 1:46 PM | Nerissa Allen (Administrator)

    TOP 4 CHALLENGES FACED BY BLACK BUSINESSES

    • 1.     ACCESS TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS

    An important component for the growth and success of a small business is the ability to foster relationships and access networks. Access to peers for mentorship, guidance, and support are crucial in the growth of a new business. Many small business owners start off by turning to friends or family in their immediate circle for this type of support. However, entrepreneurship in the black community is not as prevalent as we would like, and many of us do not have those immediate contacts to lean on. We look to the online community, since, in recent times we are seeing more and more peer to peer meeting groups created for this type of collaboration. Although it is not as personal as being able to have in-depth discussions and share personal stories, it for many is a viable alternative. The next option to consider are paid memberships in organizations that offer mentorship and networking. Typically, these are more structured than the cost free online communities, however, may not be a feasible option for entrepreneurs just starting out and struggling to maintain cash flow.

    Tackling the challenge: The Black Business Association of BC brings together business professionals from various backgrounds. We foster forums that cater to various personality types, where members can take center stage during think tanks to get feedback on business issues; or sit back and take a more birds eye view. Our online platform supports individual peer to peer networking or group networking.

    • 2.     ACCESS TO FUNDING AND RESOURCES

    Gaining the capital start and maintain the operations of your business is key. Loans from banks are difficult for any entrepreneur to obtain regardless of race, so many resort to their own savings or borrowing from friends and family. However, this is where the wealth gap plays an important factor. The black community have only in recent times been able to migrate to Canada. In Statistics Canada’s recent release “Changes in the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black Population, 2001 to 2016”; it was referenced that “During the 1960’s, there was a large-scale migration from the Caribbean after discriminatory immigration policies – based on national origin, racial group, or religion – were abolished in Canada”. Therefore, the opportunity and timeframe to begin intergenerational wealth building within the black community is much less than with other groups.

    For many, wealth begins with real estate, this inherent home equity allows many small business owners to get their initial financing. However, in the black community the opportunity to tap into family financial support and home equity is not an option.  

    Population in private households

    1st generation

    2nd generation

    3rd generation

    Black

    675,475

    419,845

    103,225

    Non-visible minority

    2,938,750

    3,977,605

    19,869,125


    According to Stats Canada 2016 census, the employment rate of the Black population aged 25-59 was lower than the rest of the population. Among this age group’s Black population in 2016, 78% of men and 71% of women were employed, compared to 83% and 76% respectively, among their counterparts in the rest of the population. While the employment rate of the Black population was lower than that of the rest of the population, the unemployment rate was higher. It was also found that the median annual wages for Black men are among the lowest.  In 2015, the median annual wages for Black men was $41,000, compared with nearly $56,000 for other men – a gap of almost $15,000. With a staggering $22,000 wage gap in 2015 between Black men born in Canada to immigrant parents (second generation) and other male workers.

    According to Statistics Canada 2016 census (family income)

    Median income

    Average income

    Black

    26, 807

    34, 813

    Non-visible minority

    35, 299

    47, 938


    As a result, you will find many black entrepreneurs start as sole proprietorships, one man shows. They usually are not able to pay themselves a salary. What results is ineligibility to qualify for support such as grants and/or loans to expand or sustain in emergency situations such as during Covid-19. Many black entrepreneurs did not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account.

    Tackling the challenge: The current federal government has acknowledged systemic racism within our institutions and have committed to reviewing the current policies which would include financial lending. However, more immediately, the Black Business Association of BC has created Project Jumpstart specifically designed to support the start-up of new black owned businesses.  We want to jumpstart the economy and inject a fresh batch of entrepreneurs with new innovative ideas. Winners of this sponsorship would receive support for initial start-up registration fees, enrollment in our Leadership program with access to all of our complete blended learning platform. If you are interested in donating to this initiative please visit our website www.blackbusinessbc.ca

    • 3.     ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND TRAINING

    According to Statistics Canada, nearly one-third of Black children have low-income status. In 2015, low-income status affected 27% of Black children and 14% of other children. One of the causes of the relatively elevated low-income rate among Black children is the level of lone parenthood observed in Black families. Studies have established that lone parenthood accounts for nearly half of the gap between the low-income rates among Black children compared with other children. In 2016, the percentage of women aged 25-59 who were lone parents in the Black population was 27.4% as compared to 10.6% for the rest of the population. This directly factors into the ability of Black youth to afford higher level education and training.

    For those that have higher level education and training, Stats Canada has mentioned the location where the highest diploma was earned, and whether the diplomas and experience are recognized in Canada, and overqualification are some of the factors that can affect the economic situation of the Black population in Canada.

    Tackling the challenge: At the Black Business Association of BC we have combined live webinars with self directed online courses for an intensive blended learning platform. We offer both soft skill training and business specific focused options to promote comprehensive leadership development. We offer access to the entire platform at a low annual fee to remove the financial barrier for entrepreneurs and individual seeking to build their leadership skills.

    • 4.     FIGHTING STEREOTYPES & MENTAL HEALTH

    Systemic racism is a trending topic these days. However, it is not a new issue, black people have been dealing with systemic, blatant, and subtle micro-aggressions for a long time. There are many conversations to be had to delve into how to identify and address systemic racism. For this piece I will shine light on the more prevalent day to day micro-aggressions black people face in our communities often as a result of stereotypes. Whether its dealing with micro-aggressions from within our community, Example “Wow, we didn’t expect this, it’s really nice in here” or from outside our community, Example “Oh? You are the owner?? Or do you mean manger?”.  It is an incredibly stressful and mentally taxing experience.

    The micro-aggressions that we are so used to dealing with often results in us becoming complacent in actively addressing it. We too often just sigh and let slide because it is too exhausting to fight it all the time. But it is a disservice to both parties to do so, as those on the receiving end are experiencing a trauma that will not be resolved, and those committing the aggression are not being alerted to the issue. This is a topic that is uncomfortable for many to tackle especially when it takes place within your workplace. However, it is one of the more important if not the most important to address because it deeply attacks the mental health of the black population.

    Tackling the challenge: Fighting stereotypes and the healing that is needed within the black community will take time. It requires open and honest discussion and at time mediation by skilled communication professionals. We will be working with Cicely Blain Consulting in the upcoming months. Cicely Blain Consulting offers various service including facilitation. Facilitation is a powerful tool that allows organizations to complete complex and successful projects. With an external facilitator, employees can express their true creative selves and reach an end goal in record timing. Cicely Blain Consulting offers experienced facilitators who are able to manage conflict, solve complex problems and reach fast conclusions.  For more information please visit:  https://www.cicelyblainconsulting.com/

    In conclusion, the Black business community is a resilient one and working hard to contribute equally to the economy of Canada. As we navigate through these challenging times of addressing systemic racism, we will undoubtedly work through the challenges faced by black business owners in a holistic way. There are many great organizations working hard with government to lobby for change, and to create forums and safe spaces to deal with mental health.

    At the Black Business Association of BC our mission is to explore ways to address these challenges. We have put in place affordable low-cost options for persons in leadership positions, entrepreneurs and small business owners to advance their skill sets. Created sponsorships for the most marginalized groups to access our expansive learning network. Our online learning platform is robust, and we combine it with live webinars for a blended learning environment. In addition, we foster peer to peer networking and collaboration to support the business community. We have a saying “It takes a village to raise a child”, it will also take the village to heal the global community.



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