Falling through the cracks, report: Women and minority business founders hit harder by economic impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 Survey of Underrepresented Founders - Survey Cover Title Image

Media availability:
Nancy Wilson, CEO and Founder, CanWCC
Isaac Olowolafe Jr., Founder Dream Legacy Foundation

Full Report: canwcc.ca/covid-survey

TORONTO, May 13, 2020 /CNW/ – According to the final analysis from a nationwide survey of women, visible minorities, indigenous, LGBTQ+, refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs, there has been a greater economic impact from COVID-19 on these underrepresented business owners in Canada than on other segments of the population.

The Falling Through The Cracks survey of close to 350 diverse 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.

The nationwide survey uncovered the following concerns:

  • 53% of women entrepreneurs have experienced an additional burden of childcare as opposed to only 12% of male entrepreneurs
  • 50% of underrepresented respondents indicated a 10-20% decrease in revenue, compared to only 22% of small businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada1
  • 16% of underrepresented respondents reported an 80% decrease in revenue.
  • 61% of Women owned businesses reported loss of contracts, customers and clients.  In contrast, 34% of businesses across Canada report cancellation of contracts2
  • Inability to access government programs and benefits

“The narrative right now around business and economic stimulus is very homogenous. It’s critical that we don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse to erase the gains we’ve made in business diversity,” explained Nancy Wilson, CEO and Founder of CanWCC. 

The joint survey will use the findings to form recommendations to government policymakers on behalf of underrepresented entrepreneurs.

“We want every level of government to include the voices and experiences of all business owners when drafting policy and allocating financial support,” said Wilson.

Nancy Wilson and Danielle Graham (Dream Legacy Foundation) 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. Community leaders from a diverse range of groups have supported the survey and committed to developing their own strategies for bringing awareness to businesses falling through the cracks. 

“Marginalization becomes even more pronounced in times of crisis. 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,” said Isaac Olowolafe, Founder, Dream Legacy Foundation.

The COVID-19 Underrepresented Founders Survey was supported and distributed by Startup Canada and 28 other entrepreneur networks across Canada including Scale Without Borders, JumpStart Refugee Talent and the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology.

The full report and infographic can be found at canwcc.ca/covid-survey.

About CanWCC: The Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce is a national advocacy organization working to support women-identified business owners and make equality in Canadian business a reality. CanWCC provides community and connections for its members, and makes an impact through a yearly advocacy agenda using the input and feedback from women business owners across the country. For more information, please visit https://canwcc.ca/.

About Dream Legacy Foundation:
Founded by Isaac Olowolafe Jr., the Dream Legacy Foundation is a philanthropic organization that serves as a diversity and inclusion social thought leader advocating for the millions of talented members of Black and racialized communities. The Dream Legacy Foundation (DLF) believes that the entrepreneurial talent and the drive for innovation exists within every community and neighbourhood in Canada. DLF seeks to affect system-level change and believes this is possible when the private, public and non-profit sectors join forces to co-create solutions. We mobilize networks to invest in the resilience and ingenuity of visible minorities and young people in marginalized communities.  For more information, visit dreamlegacy.org.


  1. Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0234-01 Business revenue from January 1 to March 31, 2019, compared with January 1 to March 31, 2020, by business characteristics.
  2. Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0229-01 Extent of various impacts experienced by businesses because of COVID-19, by business characteristics.

SOURCE Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce

For further information: Media Contact: Sarah Kiriliuk, Rise Agency, 647-283-1766, sarah@rise-agency.ca; Jenn Perras, Jenn Perras PR, jennperras@gmail.com

Image courtesy Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC)

Original story from: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/falling-through-the-cracks-report-women-and-minority-business-founders-hit-harder-by-economic-impact-of-covid-19-822121731.html

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