Building Solidarity and Collaboration to Support African, Caribbean and Black Women Entrepreneurs During COVID-19

Virtual Roundtable Summary Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified disparities in our socio-economic and political systems that have impacted women entrepreneurs around the world. Black women entrepreneurs are facing an even greater burden—largely due to systemic inequality, discrimination, and lack of access to needed supports. The effects of the pandemic on Black women entrepreneurs are compounded by the impacts of school and daycare closures, the burden of unpaid work in the home, and unequal access to basic infrastructure support. Additionally, Black women entrepreneurs are more likely to have businesses in the service industry, own smaller businesses, and be self-financed, making them among the most susceptible to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government has implemented various programs to mitigate the challenges created by the pandemic, yet recent research by the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) indicates that many Black businesses are not positioned to take advantage of these. While these programs address some of the issues faced by entrepreneurs, the Black community has highlighted the need for additional support, as well as an increased need for a gender lens on investments, and an understanding of the distinct needs of different ethnic groups within the Black business community.

BBPA, Casa Foundation, de Sedulous Women Leaders, and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) hosted two virtual roundtables to discuss the state of Black women entrepreneurship in Canada— one in English and one in French. With increased attention and focus on the Black entrepreneurship community, the roundtable presented an opportunity to discuss gaps in services and build collaboration among stakeholders to maximize services and opportunities for Black women entrepreneurs during this time.

This report sheds light on the state of Black women entrepreneurship, summarizes the discussions held during the virtual roundtables, and shares the recommendations derived during the roundtable discussions.

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