Hi DRAPBE family, I do hope that 2022 has been good for you so far and that it will be a prosperous and exciting year. As we look back to our efforts in 2021, we recognize the challenges of not being able to meet personally.
We persevered and many of our programs, like the Financial literacy webinars and networking events, were all virtual.
The pandemic has accelerated change at a dizzying pace where we’ve seen stocks, real estate, inflation, and wealth discrepancies rise to historical highs. How are these changes impacting Black entrepreneurs and professionals within Canada and more specifically in the Durham Region?
While no solid data seems to be available and most of the stories are anecdotal, it does seem clear that the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 downturns. Estimates have the closure of Black businesses at about 40%. Historically Black professionals’ salaries have always lagged behind their non-Black counterparts and indications are, that while salaries for professionals in general have risen, as is typical, Black professional salaries rise at a slower rate than that of other ethnicities.
So far, there have definitely been some positives though. The government and financial institutions are taking steps to make funding available to Black businesses to weather the storm and to grow their ventures. While there have been some hiccups in the process of getting funding to some of these businesses, there seems to be a clear path set out for economic improvement for the Black community if promises made are kept.
We at DRABPE are committed to being part of any upward trajectory that results from these efforts and we’re trying to provide pathways for our community to be buoyed by the upward tide. These are pivotal times and if we miss this rising wave we may be swamped by the next one.
What then are we doing to ensure the community’s survival and prospering? Briefly outlined below are some of our key initiatives. We are:
Forging relationships with financial institutions to ensure that they are aware of the potential benefits of tapping into the Black community rather than passing us by;
Engaging Equity partners like FACE and BAIDS to build support for local access to financial and training resources;
Communicating with Municipalities and with Durham Region Economic Development to review and capture relevant data for and about Black Businesses to identify opportunities and support;
Launching our Black Business directory to give more visibility to Black businesses within Durham;
Continuing to build and maintain relationships with community partners such as the key employers, community partners, municipalities, and the Region;
Obtaining funding to support an Executive Director role within DRABPE to propel the organization into the future and to fulfil our mandate to provide the services that the community so much needs.
We aren’t able to achieve this by ourselves and thus are constantly on the lookout for passionate and visionary people to come alongside us in our effort to create positive change. If interested in being part of this journey then please give us a call.