Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Taking Action

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is an important and ongoing priority for Futurpreneur and we are committed to taking action – starting today and for the long-term.

In June-July 2020, 13 members of our team who identify as Black (and also represent intersectionalities including Indigenous, Asian, 2SLGBTQIA+ and new Canadian) worked with our Head of Diversity & Inclusion to develop commitments that are authentic to Futurpreneur, reflecting our current state and where we want to be as an organization with an inclusive mandate and diversity & inclusion as core values.

We make these commitments and take these actions with the full support of our CEO, Leadership Team and Board of Directors, and will update and track our progress in the months and years ahead.

To live our values, that we are Diverse & Inclusive:

• We embrace the unique perspectives and experiences within our team.

• We strive to welcome and provide excellent service to a broad range of aspiring young entrepreneurs, fostering inclusive prosperity.

To stand against racism and discrimination in all their forms, and in particular to acknowledge, understand and address systemic bias and barriers facing people who identify as Black, Indigenous & People of Colour, LGBTQ+, and other underserved communities – in our workplace and in our work.

To foster a culture that exemplifies and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in our dealings with employees, clients, mentors, suppliers, and all others with whom we interact.

To achieve our purpose of driving inclusive economic & social prosperity across Canada by supporting the success of diverse young entrepreneurs.

To measure how we are doing today, and to prioritize and track our progress moving forward.


We regularly measure the diversity of our Team, Leadership and Board as we know that having diverse and representative teams at all levels leads to better experience, discussions, decision making and results.

(As of August 2022)

 

All Staff: 

106

Leadership 

Team: 23

Senior Leadership 

Team: 8

 

Board: 12

Women

60%

61%

50%

58%

BIPOC:

– Black

– Indigenous & Métis

– People of Colour *

59%

27%

8%

32%

48%

13%

4%

39%

38%

25%

0%

25%

33%

17%

8%

8%

Born outside Canada

29%

35%

50%

25%

2SLGBTQIA+

6%

9%

13%

8%

Living with Disability

9%

13%

0%

0%

*includes people who also identify as Black and/or Indigenous

We are seen as inclusive by 89% of our employees (based on our May 2022 employee survey):

• 98% believe Futurpreneur values diversity.

• 94% believe Futurpreneur builds teams that are diverse.

• 92% believe people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed at Futurpreneur.

• Our employees’ perception of Futurpreneur as an inclusive workplace has improved by 10-15% since June 2020.

We know we have room to keep improving, to increase our employees’, leaders’, Board members’ and mentors’ awareness of bias and the impact of systemic barriers on diversity, equity & inclusion – so that we are better equipped to address these biases and barriers.

We have started to capture the data on the diversity and challenges facing our leads, applicants, supported entrepreneurs and mentors. Thus far this data has confirmed various barriers that communities of colour face that could impact their ability to access our key offerings.


Leadership

We want our Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors to be diverse and representative of BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

Training

We want our values to be fully reflected in our culture and for our employees and volunteers (Board members and mentors) to be aware of how their actions and words could negatively – and positively – impact others, both inside the Futurpreneur work environment and externally.

Programs

We want to continue to evolve our adjudication models and programs to enable BIPOC and other groups facing barriers to launch their businesses with Futurpreneur’s financing and mentoring support.

Outreach

We want to be one of the first organizations that young BIPOC & LGBTQ+ aspiring entrepreneurs think of when they need financing, mentorship and resources to launch their business. We want to be present within BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+ communities so that these entrepreneurs know how to find us and access our resources and programs.

Partnerships

We want to foster inclusive economic prosperity by increasing our work with BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+ suppliers and strategic partners. We are doing this by partnering with CAMSC, CGLCC, and we’re constantly looking for new national partnerships to complement our programming. We’re also developing an inclusive procurement policy.


Our actions will continue to evolve as we start to measure our results, learn, adapt and grow. Some actions will yield results quickly; others may take longer to implement or achieve desired outcomes.

Leadership

In August 2020, we established a “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council”, led by our Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a member of our Senior Leadership Team. The Council’s objectives are to advocate for, advise on, implement and monitor the actions taken to achieve the vision we have for diversity, equity & inclusion, both internally and externally. Council membership and related Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Teams are open to all employees and reflect a diverse and representative membership. We have formalized this work in team members’ performance responsibilities and evaluation.

We have increased our focus on recruiting, developing and promoting BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ candidates for leadership roles. This is paying off, with seven Leadership Team and Board members hired or promoted in 2020-2021 who identify as BIPOC. We have identified and are committed to addressing gaps in representation.

To ensure we improve our hiring practices and alleviate any barriers, in 2021 we removed mandatory postsecondary degree requirements for most roles and ceased our practice of credit checks for new employees. We continue to broaden our outreach in recruiting and promoting diverse employees at all levels, and in particular Leadership Team and Board members.

Training

IDiversity and Inclusion is one of Futurpreneur’s foundational organizational values and as such we are committed to supporting our team members along their learning journey. We recognize that everyone is at a different place on their journey and we aim to support them where they are at while encouraging continuous active learning.

In early 2020, we spent months identifying and working with experts to develop diversity, equity & inclusion workshops and training tailored to Futurpreneur’s needs. In April-July, we worked with Ann Divine, CEO of Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services, to deliver workshop-based training to all Futurpreneur staff and Board members. Together we embarked on some foundational learning around unconscious bias, anti-black racism and diversity, equity and inclusion.

To continue our learning we implemented online “Learning Snippets” that send scenario-based learning to our team’s inboxes monthly and a DEI Conversation Series for continuous employee learning and engagement throughout the year. Along with providing a safe space for employees to unpack the topics touched on in Learning Snippets, every second month we invite an external speaker to share their story and experience of diversity, equity and inclusion in their life and work.

Upon the announcement of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in June 2021 and in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #92, Futurpreneur’s DEI Council began a commitment to take more actionable steps to the ongoing work of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. In accordance to the TRC’s Call to Action #92, Futurpreneur’s Training Team began the process of establishing and implementing education for both staff and management on the history and culture of Indigenous Peoples as well as foundational learnings on truth and reconciliation. In preparation for the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th / 2021, Futurpreneur invited the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to provide a presentation on the Residential school history and residential school experiences, Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and History of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the NCTR. In addition, our DEI Training Team created a Futurpreneur Truth and Reconciliation Toolkit to provide a living document designed to assist Futurpreneur staff with relevant information and resources that could be utilized for the observance of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation and beyond. On the recommendation of the DEI council, Futurpreneur staff were given a half-day to observe, learn, and take action to participate in the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

During National Indigenous History month in June of 2022, Futurpreneur DEI council implemented the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education course for our entire Futurpreneur staff and management. The 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education is an online multimedia course that will provide Futurpreneur with basic, foundational learnings on Truth and Reconciliation as well as the culture and history of Indigenous Peoples. As an organization, our collective goal is to have our staff and management obtain their 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Certificate of Completion by March. 31st / 2023.

Recently we started sharing a DEI Monthly Calendar publishing a monthly list of the widely recognized months and day(s) of celebration for diverse cultures and historically underrepresented people’s. These holidays are intended to help raise awareness and understanding, celebrating diversity throughout the year.

Programs

We have made significant strides in adjusting our programming in several important areas.

In recognition of the credit barriers faced disproportionately by Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs, we adjusted our credit eligibility requirement to provide loans to young Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs whose credit ratings would have made them previously ineligible (we are unable to support entrepreneurs in collections or with bankruptcy proceedings not discharged for at least 5 years). We developed a two-part Credit Information video resource available to all young entrepreneurs who register with Futurpreneur, in hopes of helping them manage their credit responsibly and setting them up for financial success.

Alongside these developments, we spent over six months working with RBC on new resources to support Black entrepreneurs and were thrilled to launch our Black Entrepreneur Startup Program on March 24, 2021. This new offering, delivered by Futurpreneur with funding from RBC and additional loan financing from BDC, is a tailored version of our core Startup Program created by Black professionals and others on our team and delivered by Black team members for Black-led founding teams, in recognition of the value of lived experience. We have also bolstered our Indigenous Young Entrepreneur outreach and programming, with support funded by ISED, with the same principles in mind, including collaborating with NACCA to develop and deliver an Indigenous-focused version of our online Business Plan Writer.

To ensure that our programming is both accessible and delivered in an inclusive, safe way, we have improved the accessibility of our website and online portals, and now include an anti-harassment statement at the beginning of every event, in addition to our loan application process.

Outreach & Partnerships

We are grateful to partner with a diverse array of BIPOC- & 2SLGBTQIA+ – focused and led community associations and organizations. We will make the work of BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations more visible within our organization, to raise awareness and create opportunities, including with suppliers and strategic partners, and initiated this work with the recent signing of a partnership agreement with CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council). We recently signed an MOU with Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. Through this partnership we will offer opportunities for our 2SLGBTQIA+ Entrepreneurs to connect with more like minded entrepreneurs and supplier diversity opportunities. We also hope to engage with their members and strategic partners in the hopes of engaging mentors with lived experience from the community.

We have added questions about the BIPOC status of entrepreneurs and mentors at intake, to better understand the diversity & inclusion of our community and client base. In an effort to provide better support to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, we have also adding questions about 2SLGBTQIA+ identification in the months ahead. We intend to establish targets and track both the number of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs we support and mentors we work with in order to improve our ability to serve the communities.

We’re also developing an inclusive procurement policy that will better allow our organization to live our values and procure services and products from a diverse pool of companies.

Recognizing the barrier that credit can create, and building on the existing credit education program within our online application. We are partnering with an organization that can provide an more immersive program to support people who have credit barriers.


We will measure and track our progress, recognizing that for some metrics, it will take longer to gather the relevant data required to measure, track and achieve success. We are committed to achieving meaningful, long-term progress – and while we have already achieved some of our key target metrics, we are not finished. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion recognizes that we are on a journey characterized by ongoing effort and continuous improvement.

Futurpreneur will have diverse and representative staff and leadership at all levels, including our Leadership Team, Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors:

• Gender parity, >40% women or gender-diverse employees, at all levels.

• At least 25% members who identify as BIPOC, including at least one Black and at least one Indigenous member on the Board of Directors at all times.

• At least 5% members who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.

As measured by feedback gathered through our annual employee engagement survey, 90+% of Futurpreneur employees will believe that we are a diverse & inclusive organization:

• 90+% believe Futurpreneur values diversity.

• 90+% believe Futurpreneur builds teams that are diverse.

• 90+% believe people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed at Futurpreneur.

Futurpreneur programs will support diverse entrepreneurs launching new businesses:

• At least 40% women

• At least 5% Black

• At least 7% Indigenous

• At least 5% 2SLGBTQIA+

These diverse entrepreneurs will be supported by Futurpreneur mentors with similar diversity of lived experience.

Futurpreneur will achieve its goal to be Canada’s “go to” organization for diverse, young aspiring entrepreneurs & new business owners, fostering inclusive economic & social prosperity, one Futurpreneur at a time.