Posted by Alia Abbas & Kareem Bonner |

Black Owned Businesses & Community Spirit in the Toronto Region

Toronto Global is a place that values diversity and recognizes the way our team and our entire region are enriched by the collision of many different cultures and ethnicities. It’s also a place where we recognize the various Black leaders and Black owned businesses that have done amazing things for our communities, making the Toronto Region the best place for Black owned businesses to expand, grow and thrive.

Celebrating Black History Month has never been more important than it is right now in 2021. Following a year of racial injustice protests, many in the Toronto Region and the rest of the world have taken a stand on social and political issues.

Toronto Global helps international businesses gain access and expand into one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the world. In this blog, we’re highlighting three key benefits for Black business owners and entrepreneurs that want to expand to one of the best regions in the world:
  • The many Black owned businesses already here in the Toronto Region mean you will be in good company;
  • The great talent pool available to Black businesses make it easy to hire the team you need to succeed; and
  • The quality of life in the Toronto Region that is further enriched by a thriving and growing Black community means that you will feel at home here.
Let’s celebrate the contributions of Black owned businesses in the Toronto Region

There are more than 4,000 Black owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations in Canada, and many of those businesses have operations in the Toronto Region. From restaurants and catering, to mail delivery services, retail stores, beauty salons and other miscellaneous services, these businesses inject a unique flavour and excitement into the Toronto Region.

No matter what you’re craving, we know you can satisfy your hunger at one of our famous Black owned restaurants in the Toronto Region: And take advantage of the many services offered by Black owned businesses across the region, including: Black owned businesses looking to join our community will not only be entering a thriving and supportive environment, but will also be able to take advantage of hiring from one of the most highly educated and talented workforces in the world.

The unmatched talent pool & programs available to Black owned businesses

In addition to the 18 universities and colleges across the region that ensure businesses have access to an incredible and growing talent pool, we also have a wide range of programs to support Black owned businesses as they scale up in our communities. These programs provide mentorship, connections to industry, capital and an alumni network to support growth. Here are just a few of the programs available to businesses today:
  • Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP): This program is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and financial institutions. This program has an investment of up to $221 million over four years to support Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • Ryerson University Digital Media Zone (DMZ) - Black Innovation Program: This is a first-in-Canada program that will provide start-ups led by Black entrepreneurs with programming support from the DMZ. 
  • Sheridan College – Black Mentorship Inc.: This mentoring program connects Black youths, professionals, and entrepreneurs at different stages of personal and professional growth with experienced mentors. Its one thing to attract talent, but here in the Toronto Region, companies also have an easier time retaining talent because of our excellent quality of life and inclusive society.
The quality of life our region offers to the Black community

The Toronto Region has a lot to offer when it comes to celebrating diversity and providing a wide range of entertainment options. While these festivals and events are open to all, the particular tastes, sights and sounds of Africa and the Caribbean draw a huge crowd each year from our own Black community, and from all over the world! Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival for instance draws over one million participants annually from all over Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. While some of the events below will be impacted by the current pandemic, we are looking forward to welcoming the world to our region again soon.

Here are just a few of the many cultural events to enjoy in the region: It wouldn’t be a festival without some of our local celebrities coming out to perform. Did you know that the following stars are from the Toronto Region?
  • Top Celebrities: Drake, The Weeknd, Kardinal Offishall, Ayesha Curry
  • Top CEOs: Dennis Mitchell, Heather Campbell, Kevin Johnson, Jessica Yamoah, Nadine Spencer
  • Top TV Hosts: Dwight Drummond, Kevin Yarde, Azalea Hart
  • Top Sports Icons: Mike “Pinball” Clemons, Donovan Bailey, Herb Carnegie
In the words of Raptors President, Masai Ujiri, “Honestly the best thing that we can offer is showing people more about our city and our country. We have this beautiful country here. Being together, being kind, being loving, creating such a diverse community — I think there's so much to that.”

Echoing that sentiment, Toronto Global has an important role to play in showcasing and opening up our region to the world.

In our next diversity blog, we will be focusing on our schools/programs, incentives, and incubators/accelerators that support businesses from various cultures as they enter the Toronto Region market. Stay tuned!
 

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Alia Abbas & Kareem Bonner

Alia Abbas & Kareem Bonner

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