In 2021 Statistics Canada reported that the Black community (4.3%), the third-largest racialized group after the South Asian (7.1%) and Chinese (4.7%) populations, had an unemployment rate of 14.3%, the fifth highest of the 12 racialized groups reported in the census. In addition, Black men had the lowest income levels compared with other men. In 2020, the annual employment income of Black women and men averaged 84% and 69% that of their White counterparts, respectively. Startling data to say the least, and so it makes one wonder how we compete in a racialized economy where the opportunities are limited not by effort, talent, skill or activity but by race. And why we should focus on Black business ownership in Canada.
The report states: “The ethnocultural composition of the Canadian population has changed considerably in recent decades. According to data from the Census of Population, the proportion of people from racialized groups almost doubled between 2001 and 2021, rising from 13.4% to 26.6%. Data from the 2021 Census highlight the differences between racialized groups and White Canadians (White people) with respect to employment and income. Regardless of their sex. Although they are more active in the labour market than their White counterparts, racialized people were more likely to be unemployed. For example, racialized groups had a labour force participation rate of 67.9%, compared with 62.2% for White people, and an unemployment rate of 12.5%, compared with 9.5% for their White counterparts”
Historically speaking, we have created businesses and used entrepreneurship as a means of creating opportunities and economic independence, case in point ‘Black Wall Street’ circa the early 1900’s in Greenwood Tulsa Oklahoma. Another notable example is the Slocum Village in Kingston, Jamaica, which was a thriving commercial centre primarily owned and operated by Black entrepreneurs during the mid-20th century. Despite facing discriminatory practices and limited access to resources, Black entrepreneurs have shown resilience and innovation in sectors such as retail, services, manufacturing, and more. As a means of extracting ourselves from the cycle of poverty we have worked in union to accomplish civil rights, community organisation, produce the arts, education and impact professional services such as teaching, health care and more. However, I ask how do we get back to using business to elevate and create opportunities within the community? Through business we have the opportunity to build generational wealth and legacy, with wealth we secure our seat at the equity table, it will no longer be a case of letting us in, rather we will be able to open the door ourselves.
Six Powers of Ownership
With business ownership we have the opportunity to generate employment opportunities, contributing to overall job creation and economic growth. Allow us to hire employees from diverse backgrounds, thereby promoting inclusivity and providing income and livelihoods to individuals and communities.
With ownership we can impact economic stimulus and contribute to local economies by generating revenue and stimulating economic activity. Pay taxes, purchase goods and services from other businesses, and reinvest the profits back into the economy.
With entrepreneurship we can impact Innovation and entrepreneurship, bring new ideas, products, and services to the market, fostering competition. Our unique perspectives and experiences allow for creative solutions and offerings that cater to diverse consumer needs.
With business we can drive community development, vital particularly within historically marginalised communities. Serving as anchors, providing goods, services, and employment opportunities that contribute to the overall well-being and growth of the community.
With business we role model and inspire, showcasing the possibilities of entrepreneurship, empowerment, ultimately promoting economic self-sufficiency and upward mobility.
With ownership we promote representation and diversity; this contributes to a more inclusive and representative economy. It promotes diversity in supply chains, business networks, and decision-making processes, leading to more equitable opportunities for all.
In essence we need to support, encourage and celebrate Black owned business. By no means am I discounting the impact of millions of people of African descent that drive our communities and neighbourhoods everyday that do not own businesses. I myself am the descendant of life long professionals that educated themselves, earned a living and raised their families as pillars of their community. I’m saying in order for us to have the futures we want we need to create and make those opportunities ourselves, together, with a clear purpose to build generational wealth. As a business owner, income is not limited by a salary or wage. Instead, it is determined by the success and profitability of your business. Allowing the accumulation of wealth to create a legacy for future generations. Which is why, now more than ever we need to focus on Black business ownership in Canada.
Need some support getting your business running at peak performance? Take our business survey to get started!