Toronto, October 13, 2022 – Today, the Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent) and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), with sponsorship from TD Bank Group (TD), are launching a new certification program for businesses owned by entrepreneurs who recently arrived to Canada as refugees.
This new supplier diversity certification program will provide better market access for businesses owned by recently arrived refugees, connecting them to over 150 corporate and government members in CAMSC’s database – which collectively spend over $1 billion annually on procurement. In turn, CAMSC’s corporate and government members will be able to search and filter for refugee suppliers to help bring greater diversity to their current procurement partners.
Effective today, the program is open and accepting applications from entrepreneurs from the refugee community.
“The qualities that have helped so many refugees escape violence and persecution at home – including resilience, courage, and drive – are the very same qualities that make a successful entrepreneur and have helped many refugees build thriving businesses,” said Scarlet Cronin, Vice President of the Americas at the Tent Partnership for Refugees. “The certification program will make it easier and more accessible for businesses across Canada to purchase from these refugee-owned businesses for the very first time – helping to diversify their supply chains, while also creating economic opportunities for Canada’s refugee community.”
Entrepreneurs who certify their businesses through CAMSC will be exposed to opportunities to grow their networks, participate in mentorship programs, and join training sessions and workshops to learn how to respond to requests for proposals, negotiate contracts, improve their marketing skills, and more.
“It is imperative that corporations and governments be intentional in their support and inclusion of those businesses previously underrepresented in the supply chain,” said Cassandra Dorrington, President and CEO of CAMSC. “At CAMSC, our objective is to certify and promote these diverse businesses to level the playing field and facilitate economic inclusion. Recognizing the evolving diversity across Canada, we are delighted to welcome the entrepreneur with refugee experience into the certification fold. Certification, seen as a “market access tool,” will certainly open doors and bridge the divide to development, new networks and opportunities.”
TD has supported the program from its inception and will cover all certification fees for qualified applicants in the first three years to remove financial barriers for registering businesses and champion greater financial inclusions. The program will allow some of Canada’s largest purchasers to advance their supplier diversity and enhance their brand reputation. According to a recent study by supplier.io, 73% of companies believed that engaging with diverse suppliers has a positive impact on their company both internally and externally in the marketplace.
“At TD, we are continually seeking ways to be a more inclusive bank that fosters innovation, encourages respect, and drives equity within the bank and in the communities we serve,” said Michael Schechter, Senior Vice President, Strategic Sourcing & Enterprise Real Estate. “This program is the result of a conversation TD’s Executive Refugee Taskforce spearheaded with CAMSC and Tent in 2019. We are proud to see this new program come to life and look forward to continuing to provide opportunities to support and promote refugees and entrepreneurship.”
Immigrants, including refugees, tend to have higher rates of entrepreneurship than the rest of the population. However, business owners from diverse backgrounds are underrepresented in major multinationals’ vendor rosters as a result of economic disadvantage, lack of professional networks, and barriers to equal opportunity.
Among the first to register their business is Tareq Hadhad, Founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate. “Refugees are motivated to translate their experiences into an opportunity for life here,” said Mr. Hadhad. “Those who are entrepreneurs bring their values, products, and messages – not just about business or making money. We all need to do everything we can to level the playing field and eliminate all barriers that prevent them from having the same access to opportunities. By giving everyone in Canada an equal platform to share their voices and talents, we build a strong, diverse, and welcoming country.”
To be eligible for certification the business must be for-profit, operating in Canada, and 51% owned, managed, and controlled by an entrepreneur who arrived in Canada as a refugee. The business must also have been set up within 10 years of the applicant having arrived in Canada as a refugee.
If you are interested in learning more about the certification for businesses owned by entrepreneurs from the refugee community and want to register your business or would like to find out how a company can purchase from refugee-owned businesses, please visit www.camsc.ca.