Join our Conference

Welcome to our annual conference. This year, we’re all about promoting leadership and economic empowerment for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC)! We will explore this pressing topic using an intersectional lens and focusing on gender.

We’re thrilled to be bringing together an amazing group of experts, leaders, and advocates from all over the country to dive deep into the challenges and opportunities facing BIPOC leadership and economic empowerment. Together, we’ll be exploring innovative ideas and best practices, sharing experiences, and discovering new ways to tackle these important issues.


      1. Build communities’ capacity to combat racism and discrimination by providing education and resources for women with intersectional identities and BIPOC organizations to address barriers to leadership and economic progress.
      2. Increase collaboration and support among leaders to help them move onto the right tracks to meet the diversity and inclusion goals of the 50-30 Challenge.
      3. Raise awareness about the systemic barriers faced by racialized women with intersectional identities in accessing leadership and economic opportunities and the impact of barriers on their ability to fully participate and contribute to society.
      4. Examine fresh perspectives on enhancing collaboration opportunities among nonprofits, businesses, and cooperatives to support innovative inclusion.
      5. Promote women’s economic development, inclusion, and anti-racism, anti-oppression (ARAO) by enhancing the capacity of organizations that support these issues and boosting the visibility and participation of BIPOC women.

Conference dates

Three days from 9 May 202311 May 2023


Online. Don’t let this exclusive event pass you by! Register now and stay informed about the upcoming schedule.

Register Now on Whova


We invite experts from diverse backgrounds:

      1. Policymakers and government officials responsible for promoting leadership and economic empowerment for BIPOC communities.
      2. BIPOC leaders and diversity, equity, and inclusion experts.
      3. Economists and academics with expertise in issues related to BIPOC leadership and economic empowerment.
      4. Representatives from community-led organizations and cooperatives promoting gender parity and BIPOC-led economic initiatives.
      5. Financial experts and trainers who specialize in promoting financial literacy and wealth-building strategies for women and BIPOC communities.

Want to share your knowledge and expertise? We are no longer accepting applications for guest speakers!

Intended Audience

  • Mainstream organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, wishing to transform their policies, strategies and service design to include more women from equity seeking groups — racialized groups in particular.
  •   Representatives from financial institutions and investment firms committed to supporting diverse, equitable and inclusive initiatives.
  •   BIPOC community members who wish to enhance their leadership and economic security.
  •   Community leaders and advocates for BIPOC economic empowerment.
  •   Government officials and policymakers.
  •   Financial institutions and investors interested in supporting equity, gender parity and BIPOC communities.
  •   Corporate leaders and representatives from companies committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.
  •   Academics interested in the fields of economics, leadership, and racial justice.
  •   Nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups working towards economic justice for BIPOC communities.


Conference participants are encouraged to explore a variety of topics related to the stated objectives. Below is list of example topics:

      1. Building capacity for BIPOC-led cooperatives and community-owned businesses.
      2. Promoting BIPOC ownership and leadership in industries that have traditionally excluded them.
      3. Developing and implementing equitable economic policies for BIPOC communities.
      4. Strategies for increasing representation and inclusion of BIPOC in leadership positions in the corporate world.
      5. The role of the government in promoting economic empowerment for BIPOC communities.
      6. Overcoming systemic barriers and obstacles to BIPOC entrepreneurship.
      7. Developing financial literacy and wealth-building strategies for BIPOC communities.
      8. Examining the impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC small businesses and financial stability.
      9. Building community-led economic initiatives for BIPOC communities.
      10. The role of corporate responsibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in promoting economic empowerment for BIPOC.
      11. Investing in BIPOC businesses and entrepreneurs to drive economic growth.
      12. Lessons learned from successful inclusive innovation initiatives
      13. Ways to engage and empower equity seeking groups to participate in economic development programs.
      14. Understanding and addressing unconscious bias in the workplace and best practices for creating a culturally responsive workplace
      15. Opportunities for collaboration between nonprofits, and businesses and coops to drive inclusive innovation.


Why we are focusing on BIPOC

We consulted with 37 equity-seeking organizations in our network between Sept-Dec 2022 to narrow down the theme of the conference. We were not surprised when the  inclusion and economic security of BIPOC were highlighted as a priority. 

Indeed, in October 2020, we conducted intersectional research where we examined the national landscape of women-centred community economic development. One of the main areas we focused this research on is diversity and inclusion. We found the following: 

      1. The landscape of business services is predominantly white and mainstream. Some of those who were interviewed do not see a problem with the inclusivity of their organizations.
      2. Many organizations that focus on business development do not consider the need of racialized groups in their program design. There is a significant gap in services for marginalized women and particularly, for women in small BIPOC communities. There is a general lack of understanding about the needs of racialized  women, who due to intersectional oppression, might face multiple barriers. Organizations supporting business development primarily serve women who fall within the mainstream. 
      3. Small BIPOC organizations are typically not networked strongly with mainstream organizations providing service to women in business.

While there have been some strides towards greater inclusion and diversity since 2020, there is still much work to be done. Systemic barriers and biases continue to limit opportunities for many BIPOC individuals to attain economic security or ascend to positions of leadership. This is especially true for Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians, who face significant disparities.

Furthermore, the experiences of BIPOC individuals in leadership roles can often be shaped by racism and discrimination, which can make it more difficult for them to succeed and thrive. This is something that needs to be addressed at both the individual and institutional levels, through education, policy changes, and cultural shifts. When our network members stated:

“Even when opportunities are offered to us, we find  it difficult to negotiate terms and conditions. After years of exclusion, our instinctive reaction tends towards suspicion or self-doubt”. 

We also acknowledge that representation and economic security go hand in hand. When leaders from BIPOC communities are in place, historical obstacles and prejudices that have kept them from accessing economic opportunities are dismantled. This can lead to more diverse and inclusive workplaces and policies, which can in turn create more opportunities for BIPOC individuals to succeed and thrive economically.