By About Her Culture Team
Caribbean Canadian Tiffany Callender, has spent over 16 years developing and implementing programs to support Montreal’s Black community, as a community builder, social entrepreneur, and now the co-founder and CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE).
FACE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to stimulating economic growth and generational wealth for Black Canadians. One of the organization’s proudest feats was its partnership with the Government of Canada to create the $160 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which helps Black business owners access capital and other business resources.
FACE also provides Black Canadians with the necessary resources, knowledge, and confidence to not only operate successfully as entrepreneurs, but to thrive as a community across the nation.
In conjunction with her role at FACE, Tiffany presents 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 leads sensitivity and equity training to private institutions.
In this interview we talk to Tiffany about personal mission, inspiration and more.
What inspired you to co-found FACE?
Tiffany: I have worked in the nonprofit sector serving Black entrepreneurs for almost twenty years. I managed a provincial program for Black entrepreneurs in Quebec and have observed that the barriers to accessing capital exist nationwide. FACE was an opportunity to collaborate with organizations in different communities to co-design a loan program for Black entrepreneurs and contribute to wealth creation for Black Canadians.
So far, your career seems to be focused on empowering Black Canadians. How and why did you end up taking this direction?
Tiffany: My first job was at a Black community day camp, and throughout my university studies I was always involved in various Black community organizations. I understand intimately the socio-economic inequities my community faces consistently. I wanted to help design solutions, and I chose a career that has allowed me to contribute in an impactful way.
What is the ultimate change you’d like to help drive within your community?
Tiffany: I want to create equitable access to resources, networks and opportunities for my community. In simple terms, we need fair conditions to compete and thrive economically.
How have you been able to achieve so much already at only 40 years old?
Tiffany: I feel driven by a purpose, which in turn ignites a sense of urgency to make change. So, there was no time to waste!
Do you think your Caribbean heritage has impacted your vision, mission and desire to achieve? If so, how?
Tiffany: I was raised by Bajan immigrants who taught me the importance of community, hard work and resilience. Those values translate directly into my commitment to contribute with others to build a strong, prosperous Black Canadian community.
How, if at all, does the Black entrepreneurial experience in Canada differ from that of the USA, and how does FACE address the community’s unique challenges?
Tiffany: The Black or African-American community in the U.S. has a larger demographic and has harnessed – through different political movements, as well as their institutions – engagement with corporations to invest capital and make resources available to Black business owners. In Canada, our community’s entrepreneurial development strategy is just beginning, and various communities make up Black Canada. From the longstanding Black community in Nova Scotia, to the fast-growing Black immigrant community in Alberta, the Black Canadian entrepreneurial experience varies and their needs are different. FACE is committed to building key partnerships to build a strong ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs on their journey to financing and beyond.
What are FACE’s current special programs?
Tiffany: FACE offers term loans ranging from $10,000-$250,000 through a micro loan pilot program and macro loan program in partnership with the government of Canada, BDC, Alterna Savings and Vancity. These programs are open to start-ups and existing Black owned for-profit companies. All program details are available on our website www.facecoalition.com
What is your vision for the future of FACE? And, are there any new projects on the horizon?
Tiffany: FACE will be a catalyst for Black generational wealth creation in Canada and be a leader on Black economics. Our next project will focus on digitally amplifying Black Canadian companies and encourage consumers to #buyblack.