Feb 26, 2024

Black-owned businesses — particularly those owned by men — are significantly underrepresented compared with their population shares

As Canada’s ethnocultural diversity continues to evolve, so has the crucial role that entrepreneurship plays for racialized groups. Business ownership is an indispensable driver of economic growth, innovation and job creation, especially during periods when, as empirical research shows, these communities are disproportionately impacted by unfavourable economic conditions compared to non-racialized counterparts.

According to the most recent Census 2021 data, the Black community in Canada is the third-largest racialized group after the South Asian (7.1%) and Chinese (4.7%) communities. Yet, in 2024, Black-owned private sector enterprises remain underrepresented compared with their share of the population. Data from the Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (Q4 2023) show that Black-owned businesses represent only 2.3% of all private sector enterprises, which is 2.0% lower than the share of Black population (4.3%), resulting in approximately 20,000 “missing” businesses. When examining gender dimensions, Black-owned businesses that are majority-owned by men show a much larger gap (roughly 2.3% or 19,000 firms) while women have a smaller gap (0.4% or roughly 730 firms), effectively missing from business ownership to align with their share of population.

The Canadian Survey of Business Conditions is a quarterly survey which uses a stratified random sample of business establishments classified by geography, industry sector, size, Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), and non-profit status. It does not include private sector self-employed (“unincorporated” businesses). Different literature and sources show that this is an area where the share of Black owners are higher. Our calculations and analysis are based on Q4 2023 CSBC and Census 2021 data where we look at representation as the total share of Black businesses owned by gender in Canada and compare it to that respective population i.e. we compare Black-male owned businesses to the Black male population, and Black-women owned businesses to the women population. The degree of underrepresentation does not factor in the disproportionate and intersectional barriers that are faced by Black-women entrepreneurs. 

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