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Statistics Canada study on Black-owned businesses suggests systemic challenges hold them back – CBC News



The number of Black-owned enterprises in Canada is growing, but still represent a tiny fraction of the country’s business landscape, and they tend to be smaller and less profitable than other businesses.

Those are some of the main takeaways from a recent Statistics Canada study that looked at the state of entrepreneurship among Black Canadians between 2001 and 2018. 

The study amalgamated a series of different reports — including census data for 2001, 2006 and 2016; the 2011 National Household Survey and the 2018 Employer-Employee Dynamics Database — and analyzed them to see how the status for Black entrepreneurs has changed over the better part of two decades.


It found there were approximately 66,880 Black-owned businesses in Canada as of 2018; about 2.1 per cent of the more than 3.1 million businesses in total across the country. 

According to the latest census data, 4.3 per cent of Canadians, or more than 1.5 million people, identify as Black. 

Almost three-quarters of Black-owned businesses are owned by men, while the percentage of self-employment grew from 1.8 at the start of the study period to 3.5 per cent by 2018. That’s greater than the growth in self-employment among Black women, which went from 1.3 per cent to 2.2. 

While Black-owned businesses are growing, the data suggests they are not meeting their full potential as they tend to be smaller and less profitable than other businesses.

More than 95 per cent of unincorporated Canadian businesses owned by Black people have fewer than one employee, and even among those that are large and complex enough to want to incorporate, more than 91 per cent have fewer than five.

“Black-owned businesses are almost half as likely as White-owned businesses to have five or more employees,” the study found.

They’re less lucrative, too. Among male business owners, Black men earned an average of $56,100. That’s $9,500 less than their counterparts from other racialized groups and $43,300 less than what average white male business owners earned in 2018. Black women business owners, meanwhile, earn the same as other racialized groups, but $16,000 less than white women.

Black-owned businesses tend to be less profitable, with profit margins averaging 8.5 per cent, versus 14.9 at white-owned firms. The study says that white-owned businesses tend to “have a better ability to profit from their activities and have more room to maneuver to cope with rising costs or competition,” but stops well short of suggesting any systemic disadvantages are solely to blame for that discrepancy. 

Funding challenges

But Carlton-James Okaswe, a business professor at Mount Royal University, says the numbers clearly suggest there are systemic challenges holding Black-owned business from reaching their full potential. 

“Black-owned enterprises … have a harder time getting bank loans … and even at what interest rates they might get,” he told CBC News. “That needs to be explored.”

A Black man, Carlton-James Osakwe, is shown in his office at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where he is a professor of business.
Carlton-James Osakwe says data from Statistics Canada shows Black-owned businesses face funding challenges that other entrepreneurs don’t. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

In 2021, the federal government created the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, a $265 million commitment to help entrepreneurs with loans of up to $250,000. Okaswe says programs like that and others are a step in the right direction, but he still hears from Black-owned businesses all the time who say their biggest challenge is funding.

Outside of conventional bank loans or government grants, a major funding source for small businesses is often what he calls “dealmakers” — entrepreneurs who grew businesses and now spend some of that capital to nurture the next generation.

“But these dealmakers tend to be Caucasians or white people in general, and so their networks will revolve around that,” he said. “It’s fair to say that the dealmaker network is something that Black people don’t have sufficient access to.”

Some solutions

Lola Adeyemi is one success story who managed to overcome those hurdles and build her dream business, but it wasn’t easy. After immigrating to Canada in 2005, she worked a variety of corporate jobs while longing to set out on her own in the food business. In 2018, she started It’s Souper, a soup company built on the flavours of her native Nigeria. 

She launched her business from her own savings, but to scale up to the level where she can produce enough to get shelf space at major grocery chains, she needed money to survive. And the more she grew, the bigger those funding challenges got.

“The demands are pretty daunting and it starts immediately,” she said of the need for funding.

Two years after launching her business, she applied for and was awarded a $72,000 grant from law firm Cassels Brock, money she used to pivot to the new reality of selling in the pandemic: online. She later appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den seeking financing to help her manage her growth.

WATCH | It’s Souper appears on Dragon’s Den:

It’s Souper

1 year ago

Duration 7:50

Lola Adeyemi from Toronto, ON, pitches her line of Nigerian inspired soups and sauces.

While she is grateful for the mentorship, funding and help she’s received along the way, Adeyemi says a major stumbling block for Black entrepreneurs is that lack of a community above them — to help them rise up. 

“It’s a huge problem because you’re not seeing others who have done it, so you don’t think it’s doable,” she said. “What I tell a lot of people in the Black community is to expand beyond the Black community because we’re not yet at the point where we are in places of influence enough to be able to have an impact.”

A woman, Lola Adeyemi, is shown smiling in front of products that her food company, It's Souper, sells.
Entrepreneur Lola Adeyemi is shown in front of some of her It’s Souper products. She says she encourages all Black owned businesses to expand their networks in order to get ahead. (Greg Bruce/CBC)

It was nerve-wracking for Sydonne Warren to make a move like that, but it paid off for her small but growing business. An artist and muralist in Calgary, it was a chance encounter with an independent brewery in the city that led to a relationship that’s been helping both sides ever since. In 2020, the owners of Inner City Brewing contacted her about purchasing one of her designs to feature it on beer cans. 

Next, they commissioned her to paint a mural in their space. So when she needed a space to host her “paint and sip” nights — where attendees can learn to paint, while sampling a few drinks — the bar was a natural fit.

Her experience is similar to many Black business owners, in that she didn’t start out with an obvious career path in mind, but she didn’t let that stop her.

“I didn’t know other business owners growing up so I’ve had to kind of do trial and error a lot to teach myself,” she said. “I think if we were probably more educated on how to run business and how to have a successful business, then I think we’d see the gap start to close.”

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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Canada eases some rules around foreign homebuyers ban – Global News



The federal government announced amendments to the foreign homebuyer ban on Monday that eases some restrictions for non-Canadians, including newcomers to the country.

Read more:

Foreign buyers ban won’t fix housing market – could make it worse, experts say


The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act was passed by Parliament in June 2022 and came into force on the first day of 2023.

Under that law, non-citizens, non-permanent residents, and foreign commercial enterprises were blocked from purchasing Canadian homes — with some exceptions for international students and temporary residents. Those who violate the ban face a $10,000 fine and may have to sell the offending property.

The amendments will now allow some non-Canadians to purchase residential property in certain circumstances in order to help add to Canada’s housing supply, according to a statement from the ministry of housing.

Effective immediately, work permit holders or those authorized to work in Canada can now purchase a home to live in while working in the country. Work permit holders must have 183 days or more of validity remaining on the permit at the time of the purchase, and cannot purchase more than one residential property, according to the statement.

Click to play video: 'New Federal Foreign Buyers Rules'

New Federal Foreign Buyers Rules

The ban will also now not apply to vacant land zoned for residential and mixed-use, so non-Canadians can purchase such land with the potential of using it for residential development.

There will also now be an exception to allow non-Canadians, as well as publicly traded entities formed in Canada but controlled by a non-Canadian, to purchase residential property for the purpose of development.

In addition, the government will consider a privately-held corporation or entity to be foreign if a non-Canadian owns up to 10 per cent of its equity, up from three per cent.

“These amendments will allow newcomers to put down roots in Canada through home ownership and businesses to create jobs and build homes by adding to the housing supply in Canadian cities,” Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement in CMHC’s release.

“These amendments strike the right balance in ensuring that housing is used to house those living in Canada, rather than a speculative investment by foreign investors.”

Read more:

Will recreational homes be more affordable in 2023? Report predicts prices will dip

More on Canada

Canada has been accepting record numbers of immigrants into the country, and the ban was previously criticized by some experts for not allowing them to purchase homes.

The foreign homebuyers ban was put in place to limit foreign investment in property that potentially could be taking away homes for Canadians, according to Hussen.

However, the policy has been criticized for not being the right approach to tackling housing affordability.

Elton Ash, ReMax executive president for Western Canada, told Global News in January that non-Canadian homeowners don’t make up a significant amount of real estate transactions.

“I can tell you with full confidence, (the ban) will have zero effect on house prices,” he said.

— with files from Global News’ Kathryn Mannie

Click to play video: 'Canadian real estate ban on foreign investors'

Canadian real estate ban on foreign investors

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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A Game-Changing Factor to Job Search: Your Ability to Make Human Connections



human connections

This column will be a departure from my usual job-searching topics to focus on something crucial to a successful job search and your career momentum, especially when networking and interviewing: making human connections.

“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford, American fashion designer.

Genuine human connections lead to positive energy exchange and trust building. Since most job search activities involve interacting with people, projecting positive energy and being seen as trustworthy greatly benefits you.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the most essential needs we must fulfill, besides food, water, and safety. We are more fulfilled when our needs for love and belonging are met.


We live busy lives, juggling work, family responsibilities, self-care, side hustles, and more. Therefore, often our social connections fall by the wayside. You might not think connecting with others is important, but it is. Social connections can lower anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, increase self-esteem and empathy, and improve your immune system. These are huge pluses when job hunting.

Sadly, we live in a time when there is a great deal of disconnection. While technology gives the appearance we are more connected than ever, the screens around us disconnect us from nature, ourselves, and those around us. Rather than using technology, especially social media, to enhance our human connections, we use it to replace them.

Being brave, proactive, and taking chances is often required to make human connections. Striking up a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating, requiring you to step out of your comfort zone. Your lowest-hanging fruit is to reconnect with current friends and family. Then venture out and try new activities, such as joining a club or taking classes, to meet people to build a relationship with.

Putting yourself out there will ultimately pay off in the form of a rewarding feeling that comes from building human connections. Here are six simple ways you can create human connections.


  1. Surround yourself with people with shared interests.

It is easy to bond with people who share your interests and hobbies. Identifying commonalities between your interviewer and yourself is the most straightforward way to bond with your interviewer, which will give you a competitive advantage.

Do you love reading? Join a local book club. Are you a runner? Join a running club. Go where people who share your interests and beliefs are, such as clubs, volunteering, sports, taking classes, church, or sitting on an advisory board.


  1. Overcome your resistance.

Building relationships is often intimidating because of a natural fear of rejection. However, to make human connections, you must overcome your limiting beliefs causing your resistance to change, and embrace situations outside your comfort zone.

The best way I know how to lower your anxiety when meeting new people is to remember showing interest is a massive gesture to anyone you meet. Therefore ask open-ended questions about the other person and make your discussion all about them.

TIP: When meeting someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?”


  1. Smile and give off a positive attitude.

People prefer positive emotions to negative ones when forming a social connection; therefore, first impressions count.

A positive demeanor and a genuine smile will naturally draw people to you. Before spending time with others, I find doing a gratitude exercise and taking a few minutes to reflect on the good things in my life helpful in creating a positive attitude.

Putting your best self forward will maximize your chances of being a people magnet.


  1. Open up.

If you want to make friends more easily, allow yourself to be more vulnerable with others. This does not mean dropping all filters or boundaries. Too much, too soon, can put people off. On the other hand, you do not want to be an overly edited version of yourself and thus come across as not being authentic.

People can sense whether or not someone is genuine, so let them see the most authentic version of you. Your vulnerability will also prompt them to feel comfortable around you and connect with you on a deeper level.


  1. Do not hide behind your phone.

In social situations where you are uncomfortable, hiding behind your phone is easy, preventing you from making real-life connections.

Being on your phone during a party or networking event makes you less approachable. Whenever you are out, focus on being present and engaging with the people around you.


  1. Stay in touch.

Human connections need to be nurtured. Regular contact deepens your connections.

If you make a new friend, keep in touch with them and grow your friendship. Likewise, maintain your existing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues by keeping in touch.

Making and maintaining human connections is an activity you should prioritize if for no other reason than the fact that opportunities (e.g., jobs, friendships, love) exist all around you; the only caveat is they are connected to people. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you will be exposed to.



Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to

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First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank



North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.

The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.

Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.

European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.


Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of by rival UBS.

In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.

In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.

New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.

The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.

The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.


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