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.