Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce signs onto BlackNorth Initiative to remove barriers for Black-owned businesses

Black-owned business

The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) have committed to partner on the previously announced BlackNorth Initiative, which is aimed at removing systemic barriers for Black-owned businesses across Canada.

“Black entrepreneurs and businesses face unique barriers in accessing capital, supply chains and export programs compared to our non-Black counterparts.”

The BlackNorth Initiative, launched in June by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, is intended to push the Canadian business community and the federal government for more procurement opportunities for Black-owned businesses. CBCC will help Canadian corporations connect with viable candidates for employment opportunities and board positions.
 

“The Black-owned businesses, of all sizes, represented by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, experience a unique set of business-related systemic barriers that hinder their success, impediments that both organizations are committed to removing,” said Wes Hall, founder and chairman of The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. “By joining forces, we can more effectively advocate for change that will put Black-owned [businesses] on equal footing with their peers.”

In addition to partnering on the BlackNorth Initiative, CBCC has been working to secure additional relief and support for Canadian Black-owned businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, the CBCC requested $165 million in funding from the federal government to create loan programs for business owners who don’t qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program.

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CBCC identified more than 20,000 Black-owned businesses across Canada, and its survey data indicates that 70 percent are not eligible for financial support under the federal government’s CEBA.

The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, which launched about one month ago, encourages business leaders to challenge anti-Black racism in Canada and to commit to increasing Black representation in boardrooms and executive suites.

In addition to Hall, the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism’s co-chairs include Victor Dodig, CEO of CIBC; Rola Dagher, CEO of Cisco Systems Canada; and Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings.

The BlackNorth Initiative will host a virtual summit on July 20, where leaders will be asked to sign a pledge concerning what their organization will do to make society at large free from anti-Black systemic racism.

“Black entrepreneurs and businesses face unique barriers in accessing capital, supply chains and export programs compared to our non-Black counterparts. We also want to work with corporations on supplier diversity,” said Andria Barrett, president of the CBCC. “Our work supporting, training and advocating on behalf of Black-owned businesses across the country can only be amplified by partnering with the BlackNorth Initiative.”

Image source pxfuel.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast