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Black-led Businesses In Toronto and the importance of Supplier Diversity

2017 saw the publication of Black-led Businesses In Toronto: Building Opportunities for Growth and Prosperity. The study was conducted by the Black Business and Professionals Council Advisory Body of the City of Toronto and co-sponsored by the City of Toronto. For #ThrowbackThursday today, we’re going to pull out a section of this report from three years ago:

The Black Business and Professionals Council Advisory Body was created to review and make recommendations on how the City can improve its outreach to the Black small business community. To get started on this work, the BBPCAB conducted a survey of the Black business community.

Among respondents, 23% had done business with the City of Toronto. Most of these firms expressed positive experiences working with the City. While a proportion of those who have not engaged with the City in the past due to firms not operating in sectors that would have this opportunity (such as various forms of retail), many entrepreneurs claimed they never viewed the City as a potential client or that they were not informed about the possibility of doing business with the City.

When asked about methods to improve the working relationship between Black-led businesses and the City of Toronto, some individuals called for contracts designated for visible minority businesses or to establish a quota for awarding contracts to visible minorities in order to encourage greater diversity in the City’s procurement processes.

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Also in 2017, the Canadian Government released a report called The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada, which found that diverse supply chains may help:

  • better represent a corporation’s diverse customer base, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and revenues;
  • better reflect the diverse backgrounds of employees, thereby increasing their job satisfaction and retention;
  • build more robust supply chains by identifying a wide range of qualified suppliers and reducing the risk associated with streamlined supplier pipelines;
  • open new markets (e.g., in the United States), which can lead to economic development for the corporation and the local economy.

The City of Toronto Social Procurement Program aims to create jobs and drive economic growth in the city. It is comprised of two components: Supply Chain Diversity and Workforce Development. In the City’s Social Procurement Program, Supply Chain Diversity applies to Departmental Purchase Orders from $3000 to $100,000.

A diverse supplier is a business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by an equity-seeking community or social purpose enterprise. City staff who are purchasing goods and services between $3,000 and $100,000 are required to invite at least one certified diverse supplier to submit quotations as part of the three-quote process. A monthly list is produced and circulated among City divisions.

If you are a Black business owner in Toronto, find out how your business can become a Certified Diverse Supplier.

To find Canadian Black businesses to support, check out the By Blacks Online Business Directory.

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