Non-profit organizations Tent Partnership for Refugees (TENT) and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), with sponsorship from TD Bank, have announced that they are launching a new certification program for businesses owned by entrepreneurs who recently arrived in Canada as refugees.
The program seeks to provide refugee entrepreneurs with market access and connect them with over 150 corporate and government members in CAMSC’s database, who in turn can search and filter for refugee suppliers, bringing diversity to their procurement partners.
“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 TENT. “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 registered in the program can also access mentorship programs, and training sessions and workshops to learn how to respond to proposals, negotiate contracts, improve their marketing skills and more.
TD Bank will cover certification fees for qualified applicants in the first three years, as it hopes to remove financial barriers to registering businesses and bolster greater financial inclusion
To be eligible for certification, the business must be for-profit, operating in Canada, and at least 51 per cent owned and managed 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 the country.