There has been a greater economic impact from COVID-19 on underrepresented business owners in Canada than on other segments of the population, according to a nationwide survey of women, visible minorities, indigenous, LGBTQ+, refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs.
The Falling Through The Cracks survey of close to 350 entrepreneurs, conducted by the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC) and Dream Legacy Foundation (DLF), sought to provide a fuller, more diverse picture of the economic crisis in Canada.
Findings show that 53 per cent of women entrepreneurs have experienced an additional burden of childcare as opposed to only 12 per cent of male entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, 61 per cent of women-owned businesses reported loss of contracts, customers and clients. In contrast, 34 per cent of businesses across Canada report cancellation of contracts.
The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of underrepresented respondents indicated a 10-20 per cent decrease in revenue, compared to only 22 per cent of small businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada, and 16 per cent of underrepresented respondents reported a 80 per cent decrease in revenue.
Another concerned flagged, is the inability to access government programs and benefits. The joint survey will use the findings to form recommendations to government policymakers on behalf of underrepresented entrepreneurs.
“The narrative right now around business and economic stimulus is very homogenous,” said Nancy Wilson, CEO and founder of CanWCC. “It’s critical that we don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse to erase the gains we’ve made in business diversity. We want every level of government to include the voices and experiences of all business owners when drafting policy and allocating financial support.”
Nancy Wilson and DFL’s Danielle Graham first developed this survey to enable data-driven advocacy for women-identified business owners, but the survey grew to encompass other underrepresented founders who have been disproportionately affected.
“Marginalization becomes even more pronounced in times of crisis,” notes Isaac Olowolafe, founder, Dream Legacy Foundation. “We need to ensure that we are listening to a diversity of experiences, advocating to centre their voices but also providing data for them to take independent action.”