How Business Leaders Can Lift Up Underrepresented Entrepreneurs

According to the 2022 Annual Business Survey, only 21% of employer firms are minority-owned, and only 22% are women-owned. Though entrepreneurship has grown to become a major avenue for people to pursue their passions while fulfilling unmet needs and desires, not all entrepreneurs are operating on a level playing field.

Recognizing the obstacles minority and women entrepreneurs face is the first step in countering the barriers that prevent more underrepresented groups from entering the market. With proper access to capital, resources and networking opportunities, the creation of an inclusive business community truly enables growth for all.

Below, 15 Forbes Business Council members each share one thing business leaders can do to lift up underrepresented entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurship and support their businesses.

1. Walk The Walk

Business leaders must not just talk about diversity but walk it, too. Start by investing directly in minority- and women-led ventures. It’s not charity but smart business. By backing these underrepresented entrepreneurs, we’re leveling the playing field and enriching our economy with diverse perspectives and groundbreaking ideas. Lead with action and words, and know your numbers to truly know your worth. – Aleesha Webb, Pioneer Bank

2. Develop Mentorship Programs

Business diversity begins with action. Develop mentorship programs to provide opportunities for underrepresented and emerging entrepreneurs to learn from those who have achieved success. Work with partners to provide these entrepreneurs with insights, resources and relevant networking paths. This approach not only supports individual businesses but also builds a more inclusive, innovative business community. – Chris Kille, EO Staff

3. Direct Spending To Diverse Businesses

Deliberately direct your business spending to diverse businesses. Develop a strong supplier diversity program with outreach, favorable payment terms, training, mentorship opportunities and support. If diverse businesses employ more underrepresented staff members, the impact of a strong program can be powerful. – Hannah Kain, ALOM

4. Examine Skills And Perceptions

As a proud female co-founder of a SaaS scale-up business, I’m happy to say that all growth-related departments in our company are led by women, including marketing, partnership, sales and customer success. My advice is that business leaders should look at the unique skills and perceptions these groups bring to the table as a benefit. – Zsuzsa Kecsmar, Antavo Loyalty Management Platform

5. Establish Company Policies With A Gender Perspective

First and foremost, establish company policies that incorporate a gender perspective. Providing guidance, resources

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Sask. can be lonely place for Black entrepreneurs, but communities are changing that

Adetutu Akinlolu says kick-starting her Regina business wouldn’t have been possible without having a community that has her back.

For Akinlolu, who came to Canada from Nigeria last year in June, the support came in the form of an annual exhibition for black businesses.

“Now, I am not just limited to the black community alone. The visibility that the exhibition has given to me, to other diverse countries and communities, I’m happy for that and I’m grateful,” Akinlolu said.

Regina is set to celebrate Black businesses again on Saturday in Kiwanis Park, where some 60 exhibitors, including Akinlolu, will set up shop. Experts and advocates from the community say coming together can be a way to correct the skewed demographics for business ownership in Canada.

Adetutu Akinlolu came to Canada from Nigeria last June. She says her makeup business was only made possible through the local community’s support. (Shlok Talati)

This year’s exhibition is only the third edition of the Nigerian Entrepreneurs Summer Hangout, and organizer Ola Sanusi said it is set to be the largest they’ve had. 

When Sanusi came to Canada from Nigeria in 2019, she said she immediately noted the lack of black-owned businesses around her. 

“After talking to a few Nigerians, I realized that a lot of people have businesses, but they had a challenge bringing it to the fore and creating the needed awareness,” she said. 

Sanusi’s solution to the problem was to create a WhatsApp group named Entrepreneurs and More that’s open to everyone.

The group started with 120 members, but in the last three years, has grown to 398 members. Sanusi said she’s happy with the community’s progress in Regina, but isn’t done yet. 

“For me, I haven’t even started yet. This is just the beginning for me.”

LISTEN | Nigerian Entrepreneur Summer Hangout connects, showcases and promotes Regina Black-owned businesses 

The Morning Edition – Sask6:44Nigerian Entrepreneur Summer Hangout connects, showcases and promotes Regina Black-owned businesses

Summer is a time for barbecues and get-togethers, but one summer hangout in Regina this week is going to offer up a mix of business with pleasure. We hear more about the inspiration behind a Nigerian Entrepreneur get-together.

According to national Canadian census data, the proportion of people from racialized groups almost doubled between 2001 and 2021, rising to 26.6 per cent from 13.4 per cent. 

But the number of business owners from different racial

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Aspiring Entrepreneurs Acquire Useful Expertise Through Pitch George Competition

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Small Business Ideas And Sources For Entrepreneurs

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Small Enterprise Concepts And Sources For Entrepreneurs

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