Despite receiving less than 1% of all VC funding, according to Forbes, Black Women are amongst the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, achieving success in various industries such as beauty, fashion and tech to name a few.
Being specifically inspired by Black Canadian founders, We have compiled a list, in no particular order, showcasing the success of largely Black Canadian women led businesses that are making enormous strides in their respective industries and truly embody what it means to be 'bad for business' in the best way possible.
1. Take Me Away Essentials
TMAE products are made in small batches using the purest, most effective organic plant-based materials to ensure they produce the highest quality and most effective product for their customers. TMAE’s natural ingredients are carefully selected and their formulas are meticulously designed to provide you with products that will deeply and effectively nourish your hair and skin. While many products on the shelf are predominantly water, TMAE takes pride in using a high concentration of organic botanical oils and extracts that will hydrate, nourish and protect your skin from the harsh external environment.
2. Saint Chic
Gingie McLeod is the Creative Director and Founder of Saint Chic. A playful headwear company that went viral and almost broke her entire business. Gingie was also a 2020 mentor at Founders Fund and loved soaking up every minute of her learnings:
"When her playful headwear design went viral, designer Gingie McLeod quit her day job to focus all her energy on her emerging brand, Saint Chic. But as quickly as the fickle fashion industry gave her the spotlight, it took it away. Two years after sales of the Paparazzi Visor took off, Gingie found herself with no income, starting over.
The experience taught Gingie a lot about her business—and herself. She learned to listen to her customers, expand her collection, and cut costs. Her hard work paid off. Less than three years later, Saint Chic is thriving again and, in August 2019, Gingie even incorporated the business.
Today, her relationship with money is different—and she’s grateful for it. The ebbs and flows of success, she says, are just part of being a small business owner. She’s focused less on what she doesn’t have and more on making what she does have work harder. Here, Gingie shares the financial ups and downs (and ups again) of owning a fashion brand." (Source, Shopify)
3. Please Notes
PleaseNotes is a line of affirmation-filled goods created to help you become your favorite version of you. The idea for PleaseNotes came when Founder Cheryl was in a weird period of transition. She just quit her corporate job and knew she wanted to start something that fulfilled her, however she also knew that her self-confidence wasn’t in the place to support any new ideas that she had. She decided to work on herself through using affirmations, journalling and delving back into her personal growth practice. By reinforcing who she really was and getting clear on who she wanted to be, she realized that it was Personal Development that she had always been in love with.
Handcrafted, ethically sourced, naturally nutritious and beautifully designed to share with your friends and family. MUMGRY prioritizes the dietary needs of Mums throughout every stage of motherhood: pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. Good for everyone, especially Mums. Keeping you nourished and energized is MUMGRY’s greatest goal. All snacks are plant-based, low in sugar, high in protein, iron and calcium.
5. KDPM Consulting Group
Karlyn Percil is a Certified Emotional Intelligence and Neuro-Life Coach with a focus on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. Through her SisterTalk Group Leadership and Wellness Academy identifying the narratives (known as “Elephant Stories”) that limit their potential. As the CEO of KDPM Consulting Group, she works with companies to change their culture by identifying their own Elephant Stories and dismantling the systems that uphold them. Her transformational tools like The Success Planner, to help women, groups, and individuals increase their emotional and social intelligence in order to lead and live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. She is most recognized for her multiple features on Oprah’s Lifeclass and mentions in Forbes and Essence.
KinkyCurlyYaki was born out of the need for high-quality textured hair extensions that blend perfectly with all hair types. Hair is such an important part of how Black women show up in the world and KinkyCurlyYaki wanted to equip you with the power of versatility. KinkyCurlyYaki loves to see you shine naturally, but they also know that from time to time, you might want to switch things up. KinkyCurlyYaki’s collection of 100 percent virgin human hair comes in 6 textures and a wide variety of coverage options that allows you to do just that.
7. Cherry Gardens
Cherry Gardens is an athleisure-inspired loungewear brand with a focus on minimal design and quality fabrication. These everyday essential sets and separates were thoughtfully designed and created in Toronto by founder Myla Davey, with comfort in mind; made to celebrate the body and enhance the way you lounge. The brand was named after a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica, where Myla spent time as a child, and the names of each garment are inspired by important people, places and things in her life. As a biracial woman, Myla focuses on inclusive representation as a pillar of the brand -- growing up seeing very few people that looked like her in the media, Myla aims to increase the representation of BIPOC individuals as well as body positivity through the brand.
Afropolitan Canada is a bilingual not-for-profit organization based in Toronto that uses its platform and expertise to support people of the African and Caribbean diaspora in the development and implementation of socio-professional and entrepreneurial skills. Afropolitan Canada provides soft skills and entrepreneurial workshops, cultural programs, and events to support young women and men in their education and career advancement.
9. Makini Smith
Makini Smith helps women to own their voice to create impact, prosperity & legacy. As a Proctor Gallagher Certified Consultant and Mindset Coach, Makini helps turn goals into accomplishments through habits and mindfulness practices. Makini Smith is also a 4 time published author and host of the “A Walk In My Stilettos” podcast. She offers one on one coaching, self-publishing services and virtual podcast workshops to help women amplify their voices.
10. Naij Hair
Naij Hair’s mission is to provide Black womxn with premium quality virgin and raw human hair and connections to a curated stylist near them. Their vision is to bring more transparency to the human hair world and give Black womxn the choice to show up in whatever way they want to. Naij Hair wants to keep social benefit at the core of our business, prioritizing the Black community in any way that we can.
11. GRO FOR IT
Plants have been found to improve the quality of the air we breath, and even uplift our mood. Since plants can evoke happiness, it's a good idea to, “Embrace a plant filled life.” This is GRO FOR IT’s motto. Rare and classic treasures await you in store and online. In addition to houseplants, other plant related products, services and workshops with the same focus are offered.
12. Black Owned Toronto
When 2020 started one of Kerin John’s biggest goals was to support more black owned businesses. But it was surprisingly difficult to find and tell what businesses in the city were TRULY black owned. So, Kerin created Black Owned Toronto, in hopes of discovering more black owned businesses. Black Owned Toronto is a one stop shop for all shopping/service needs and this platform also provides a safe space for black people to showcase and share their work
13. Essentials By Temi
Essentials by Temi was created with luxury and wellness in mind — to assist others with finding balance with their daily well-being regimen - physically, spiritually and socially. Their handcrafted skin essentials are free of cruelty, harsh chemicals and fillers. Instead, their skin essentials are infused with the power of plants, love and healing energy of precious stones. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it is porous - it absorbs 60 - 70% of what you put on into your bloodstream. Essentials by Temi delivers awareness on the importance of nourishing your skin with pure ingredients and how to balance your mind, body and soul through skincare rituals.
14. Black Healing Toronto
Black Healing TO is committed to providing support & care for Black & Afro Indigenous folks in Ontario. Black Healing TO’s resources and initiatives are collaborative and trauma informed. They aim to embody 4 principals: respect, self-determination, being trauma informed, and anti-racist & anti-oppressive practices. When we heal, we all heal. We all have the personal & collective responsibility not to ignore the reflection of hundreds of years of trauma in various Black communities because everyone’s liberation is interconnected.
15. Doll House 905
Doll house 905 is a full service beauty parlour in downtown Brampton that provides services in over 10 departments of beauty. This includes hair, nails, facials, waxing , eyelashes, eyebrows , teeth whitening, makeup, tanning and piercings! Doll house 905 is a company that is women led and they promote intercultural competence in beauty. Doll House 905 is based on the idea that beauty services should be accessible to anyone and everyone in a safe manner.
16. Black Mentorship Inc
Evangeline Chima is the founder of Black Mentorship Inc. BMI – an organization dedicated to fostering the professional growth and personal expansion of Black professionals.
BMI was born out of her personal experiences as a Black professional woman in Canada. Despite holding a master’s degree in Information Technology Services, diplomas in Computer Network, Project Management, and Business Analysis, as well as numerous professional certifications, she felt unheard in business.
She experienced bias, was overlooked for promotions, leading to the frustration of being unable to achieve her true potential – regardless of her work commitment or qualifications. Importantly, she realized that she was not ALONE and that she was surrounded by powerful, dynamic, talented Black professionals and entrepreneurs – also facing the same career challenges.
BMI strengthens leadership opportunities for ALL People by connecting Black youths, professionals and entrepreneurs at different stages of personal and professional growth with experienced and well-established mentors through an unique mentoring program. Black Mentorship Inc. strives to support a participant’s skill development, personal and professional growth through an approach that includes networking, knowledge sharing and cultural training.
17. Goddess Drip Beauty
Goddess Drip Beauty is a black owned Toronto based beauty bar. The motto at Goddess Drip is luxury and affordability. Goddess Drip prides itself in selling handmade and all natural products. In store Goddess Drip provides services that include but are not limited to eyelash extensions, manicures, pedicures, waxing & tinting. Goddess Drip Beauty also has an online store where they sell hand-made products such as lipgloss, press on nails, skincare products and much more.
18. Fly North Toronto (FNTO)
Fly North Toronto is a movement that exudes positivity, diversity and unity. There are no limitations on who puts on a piece of FNTO clothing. Fly North Toronto leads by example, steps with courage and Fly North Toronto represent as a team.
19. Impact Business Hub
Fostering a Culture of Community, Purpose and Impact are the core values of Impact Business Hub. Impact Business Hub is a new co-working space for women in downtown Brampton. Impact Business Hub is a shared workspace for a community of women entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives to transform their business, side hustle or cause into massive success.
20. Tech Spark
After helping black and female tech founders raise over 1.1 million dollars to launch their tech startups in Canada, Tamar Huggins Grant realized the importance for young girls and children of colour to see positive reflections of themselves within the tech industry. In 2015, Tamar launched Tech Spark - Canada's first technology and design school committed to empowering children of colour, girls, women, and teachers through innovative education. From its inception, Tech Spark’s courses have impacted the lives of over 15,000 students and have helped over 60,000 teachers through the Greater Toronto Area, Durham, and Peel Region. In 2021, Tech Spark launched the Grade 11 Tech Entrepreneurship Course which is being taught in high schools throughout the Durham Region, with plans of national expansion for the 2022 school season.
21. Timeless Care
Timeless Care is focused on Self-Care for The Compassionate Carer, from a trauma-informed lens. Timeless Care was created to help people who care for others uncover, reveal, and work through blocks and barriers on their journey to non-negotiable self-care, healing, and wellness. Too many times people are trapped in self-doubt and lack the tools to embrace and stand in our truths. Timeless Care provides Consultation, Content Creation & Resource Development by co-creating with other consultants & corporations to help support your journey of self care. Timeless Care also provides supportive services and products including; Reiki Healing, Support Groups, & Digital Products.
22. Mindfulness Meghan
Mindfulness Meghan provides Mindfulness Coaching to help individuals and group clients claim their inner peace, authenticity and their ability to live intentionally. All the services offered by Mindfulness Meghan incorporate her intentions to cultivate belonging and anti-oppression. Meghan believes it is your birth right to be yourself and still belong. As a certified L1 & L2 Unified Mindfulness Coach, Mindfulness Meghan’s services and educational programs are grounded in the Unified Mindfulness system, lived experiences of her own and those of the communities she serves.
23. Eight50 Coffee
Eight50 Coffee provides a variety of certified organic and fair trade coffee as well as responsibly sourced micro lot coffee products from around the world that are locally roasted and packaged right here in Canada. From flavour to frequency, brewing method to accessories, Eight50 Coffee provides an array of online coffee learning tools and equipment to allow for a complete online shopping experience for customers to brew our unique blends and single origin specialty coffee at home. Eight50 Coffee also offers a wholesale and monthly subscription program that allows members to select their preferred frequency, and delivery schedule.
As friends and entrepreneurs for over a decade, it seemed natural that Carter, the owner of consulting firm Carter Strategy Group, and Henry, a small business consultant and the founder of the AfroChic Cultural Arts Festival, would one day go into business together. Over the years, when the pair attended business conferences together they realized there was little programming and funding available for Canadian women of colour. So they took action.
“We realized that our definition of diverse is different from Canada’s definition of diverse,” the pair say, describing how white women are often the beneficiaries of funds directed at helping those in need in business. “The resources set in place to support marginalized founders were not touching the people that actually needed it, so we formed Pitch Better.”
Pitch Better bridges the gap between women-led start-ups and the means to acquiring capital through grants and investments, connecting entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals through workshops and coaching sessions. The company also collects data across Canada through FoundHers, its own national research study, to identify the tools needed to help women entrepreneurs and to assist them in applying for grants and investments.
The start of February kicks off Black History Month. And while this is an important moment to shine a light on Black culture, business, history and expose injustices faced by the community, we recognize the work extends deeper than acknowledging a "moment." It's critical we consciously use every month of the year to bring these same stories to the forefront on a consistent basis.
“Are you going to be here when the Black Lives Matter conversation is no longer in the news headlines? Are your donations and your commitment going to be just as strong as they were on day one? That’s going to be the true testament to what real allyship is going to look like for our community.” - Agapi Gessesse