New national digital directory for Black-owned businesses launches in Canada

Oct 26 2021, 5:20 pm

A major milestone has been rolled out to celebrate Black Small Business Week in Canada.

Uber Canada, together with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), has launched the newest national digital directory for Canadian Black-owned businesses from coast to coast: Black Business Direct.

The directory is a comprehensive, easy-to-access resource that Canadians can use to discover and support local Black-owned businesses in their cities. It’s free for businesses to join the directory and free for consumers to view it.

Black Business Direct builds on shared efforts to develop a community-based platform that engages Black-owned businesses. The Black community has always had ongoing regional and crowd-sourced lists to promote and improve access to Black entrepreneurs and businesses. The CBCC sees Black Business Direct as the newest iteration to profile and uplevel businesses across the country.  

Founder of BIPOC Futures, Colin Elvis, expressed that a Black business directory is important because it allows for businesses to be seen without getting lost in the shuffle.

“Some businesses rely heavily on their community to support them, but if owners can’t afford to spend [money] on marketing and advertising, it becomes very hard for them to gain exposure. A directory will allow for more voices to be heard and create more opportunities for small businesses to become competitive,” said Elvis.

Although Uber Canada and the CBCC announced their partnership last year, they have since spent time engaging with the community to better understand their needs and continue to grow and support more businesses.

“Uber is a company that powers movement, which is the essence of liberty. So it’s essential that we continue to channel our global breadth and technology to confront systemic racism and step up as an ally to the communities we serve,” said Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, Tony West.

He continued, “We are proud to partner with the CBCC to launch Black Business Direct and support thousands of Black-owned businesses across the country. We stand in solidarity with Black communities across the globe, and this means that our company continues to reflect, change, and support efforts to fight racism and be a champion for equity.”

Speaking about the launch of Black Business Direct, President of the CBCC, Christelle Francois, noted how “Black entrepreneurs are incredible innovators and make a tremendous contribution to the Canadian economy.”

Francois said the directory will serve as a powerful tool and contribute in an impactful way to the community business ecosystem. “This incredible partnership with Uber creates the opportunity to support Canadian Black-owned companies to be championed.”

Necole Hines, the founder of Faded Living, shares a similar sentiment; she believes creating a directory like Black Business Direct is “so needed for our community.”

“Within the past year, I’ve been noticing that people want to support Black-owned businesses and have been searching for a way to access lists of Canadian Black businesses. This directory will make it so much easier for people to show their support for Black entrepreneurs,” she said.

Black Business Direct page preview (Black Business Direct)

On a company level, Uber Canada has challenged itself to be better over the last few years, including its commitment to becoming an anti-racist company. Along with updating its community guidelines so that all users on the platform understand what’s expected when using Uber, the company has rolled out anti-racism modules for drivers on the platform.

In 2020, Uber Canada’s efforts to support Canadian Black-owned businesses in the community included a commitment to $0 delivery fees for Black-owned restaurants. The company also offered $500 in vouchers to dozens of Black-owned, small- and medium-sized businesses.

Black Business Direct page preview (Black Business Direct)

“We are proud to partner with the CBCC to launch Black Business Direct and support the thousands of Black-owned businesses across the country,” added West.

To support Black-owned businesses in your community, visit the Black Business Direct website. Or, if you’re an entrepreneur or a Black-owned business, you can register now to be featured in the directory.

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