The Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN) has partnered with eight Canadian companies, including TD Bank, Bell Canada, and Rogers, pledging “to create a more reflective, supportive and transformational space for Black tech professionals in Canada.”
“Tech will lead the future economy, and these companies are leading the way for tech.”
Founded in 2017, BPTN is a Toronto-based networking platform designed to support the advancement of Black tech workers and combat systemic racism in the tech industry. It aims to help bridge the tech talent gap by giving Black developers, engineers, sales, and marketing professionals access to sponsorship, training, and networking opportunities.
In a statement announcing the partnership, BPTN expressed the need for anti-Black racism sentiments in corporate Canada to “go beyond one-time statements,” highlighting the need for companies to both hire, retain, and promote Black talent, and eradicate racism from their hiring and promotion practices.
“We are delighted to partner with Canadian companies who have stood up together to move the needle in the tech space,” said Lekan Olawoye, founder and CEO of BPTN, and former MaRS Discovery District executive. “Tech will lead the future economy, and these companies are leading the way for tech.”
BPTN plans to provide its partner companies with access to a “pipeline of diverse, high-calibre talent,” brand visibility and thought leadership, talent engagement for retention, and diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategies.
“In partnering with BPTN, and TD’s Black Employee Network, we will continue to invest in equitable customer, colleague and community growth, professional development, education, culture and art,” said Colleen Ward, VP of technology solutions at TD, one of BPTN’s founding partners. “We are committed to increasing the representation of Black and Indigenous talent across the Bank, and we are grateful for our invaluable working relationship with BPTN, which is helping us strengthen our inclusive colleague and customer experiences.”
Members of BPTN can join its community Slack group, gain access to tech job opportunities, and network with other Black tech professionals across the world.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with BPTN to further our commitment to help grow Canada’s Black tech ecosystem,” said Tara Ataya, VP of people at Hootsuite. “In standing with some of Canada’s most innovative companies, we’re ensuring that important shifts are made around how we build strong relationships with members of the Black tech community, diversify our talent acquisition networks, ensure Black professionals are hired and promoted equally, and become better allies to our Black employees. We’d like to encourage our friends at other Canadian tech companies to do the same.”
Counting over 10,000 members, BPTN is the largest network of Black tech talent in Canada.
“At a time when the new economy in Canada is being built on the backs of our startups and the advanced industries that they power, it is imperative that we set the table for a just future where diverse communities participate and co-create an inclusive innovation economy,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS. “In collaboration with BPTN, we will increase the participation of Black professionals and founders in the tech and innovation sectors while taking on systemic racism in all forms.”
BPTN’s new partnership is in addition to several new Canadian corporate initiatives to combat anti-Black racism that were launched following the death of George Floyd in May, and the associated, ongoing protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality. These initiatives include BlackNorth, which aims to remove systemic barriers for Black-owned businesses, and the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR), which seeks to combat systemic racism in the innovation economy and “create pathways” for Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour.
BPTN also hosts an annual tech summit, and a variety of virtual learning experiences. This year’s global digital summit is scheduled for October 22 and 23.
Image source Black Professionals in Tech Network via BPTN’s website