Why Black Mom Entrepreneurs are making waves in the personal care industry

Tiffany Callender, Chief Executive Officer, FACE

Community developer and social entrepreneur, Tiffany Callender has spent her 16-year career developing and implementing programs to support Montreal’s Black community. In addition to being the youngest female Executive Director of one of the oldest Black organizations in Quebec, she was recognized by MIPAD as one of the 100 most influential person of African-descent under 40 in 2020.

In 2021 Tiffany was named the inaugural CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE). FACE is a coalition of Canadian Black business support organizations that worked with the federal government to co-develop and administer the $160 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.

Tiffany has presented recommendations for policy change to public institutions, notably as a signatory for Montreal’s consultation on racism and systemic discrimination as well as Quebec’s Laurent commission on the overrepresentation of Black children in the Youth Protection. She also regularly presents sensitivity and equity training to private institutions. Her career is inspired by her personal life as she is a proud mother of three.

What inspired you when starting FACE? What challenges have you faced when running FACE?

Many in the black business community realized that the policies designed to support entrepreneurs hard hit by COVID-19 did not provide adequate resources for black entrepreneurs to get back on their feet as quickly as other entrepreneurs. So, in 2021, five black-led businesses got together to create the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE). Our goal was to provide Black entrepreneurs with the resources and the financial services they need to succeed and to create wealth for Canadians of African descent. At this time, I would say that FACE’s main challenge is to provide quality services to the thousands of Black entrepreneurs who has applied for its loans. Since the creation of FACE, the number of loan applications has been phenomenal, and our services must respect the highest standards possible.

What are your thoughts on the state of Black businesswomen in Canada? What do you think is needed to support Black women entrepreneurs?

The state of Black businesswomen is much better than before, solely because we’re now talking about it, which widely differs from only a few years ago. However, talking about it isn’t enough. Black women and, in particular, Black women entrepreneurs often face the additional challenge of taking care of their families and business. This is a challenge that is amplified specifically for the Black women minority group. I think we need more initiatives on the part of public decision-makers to support Black businesswomen in their entrepreneurial projects. Policies and programs considering the systemic social and economic obstacles they face and also aimed at helping Black women start businesses or expand would go a long way. Black businesswomen in Canada are ambitious, hardworking, and want to be an inclusive part of the business community. What they need is a little bit more support.

How has FACE helped support Black Canadian mothers in building their businesses and families?

We’ve intentionally considered within our loan application criteria that Black businesswomen often face systemic obstacles that Black businessmen don’t. If you’re a single Black mother raising a child while running a business, you will likely face a bigger challenge than most male entrepreneurs. It was therefore critical for us when designing our services and resources to consider the realities that Black businesswomen face, notably the importance of finding a balance between family and work. I want to note, in that regard, that one-third of the loan applications FACE received are from women.

How can mompreneurs create and sustain successful businesses? Are there any benefits to being a mompreneur? If so, what are they?

Through my lens and perspective, being a mother is the single greatest benefit a Black businesswoman can have. Although a lot of Black businessmen are also fathers and must find a balance between work and family, it still is the case that Black women bear most of the responsibilities when it comes to raising children. In that regard, they have an almost intuitive understanding of what it means to care for others and to consider other people’s opinions, views, and frustrations. They have an almost natural perspective on how to manage a team and make sure that everyone is on board and able to contribute to the group’s success. That is not to say, of course, that men don’t hold any of those qualities. A lot of them do. The point is that women have an enhanced sensibility when interacting with others and leading people. Exercising that sensibility to its fullest potential is, I believe, a very good way to create and sustain a business.

CanadianSME Small Business Magazine

Are there any other initiatives that FACE is working on that you think our readers should know about? What advice would you give to a mompreneur who is just starting?

FACE’s major achievement is the creation of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund whose goal is to provide Black entrepreneurs with micro and macro loans so they can set up a new business, invest, or expand their business. Since its creation, the fund has approved more than 19 M$ in loans to Black entrepreneurs across all of Canada.

My advice to a mompreneur who is just starting is simple: do it! Though the road may be unpredictable and the obstacles numerous, if you have a good idea, believe in that idea, and have the will, then you should not hesitate. Also, you now have access to financial services and resources that were not available before, such as FACE. So, my second advice would be this: don’t hesitate to use the financial services and resources available to Black entrepreneurs such as yourself. Never have Black entrepreneurs, including Black mompreneurs, been able to benefit from so many programs that are tailored to their needs before. This is their time to shine and achieve great things.

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