Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Bench
Systems of racism and discrimination exist. Bench has been complicit in these systems, and we need to actively work against them. We’re engaged in the ongoing work of identifying and dismantling systems of racism and discrimination throughout our workplace, and building more just ones.
This work won’t be perfect—we are going to make mistakes. But action is non-negotiable. We are committed to investing in change, learning/unlearning, apologizing when we fail, and trying again.
Each quarter, we provide an update on our progress, and where we’ve fallen short. This is not about patting ourselves on the back or virtue signaling. It’s about holding ourselves accountable to make big changes in how we operate as a company—and how we play our part in dismantling systemic inequity.
Black History Month
As a part of our ongoing commitment to anti-racism, we pledged to donate 20% of all new revenue generated in February to organizations that support Black-owned small businesses. We selected four organizations to receive our donation that have contributed in meaningful ways to the Black small business community. The recipients were:
Tech Spark: Canada’s first tech and design school committed to empowering children of colour, girls, women and teachers through innovative education. Learn more
Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce: The CBCC was created to serve the purpose of Commerce, Black-owned businesses, Entrepreneurship and Economic development within the proud Black Communities across Canada. Learn more
Black Connect: The only national, membership based organization focused solely on eliminating the racial wealth gap in America by increasing the number and success rate of Black-owned businesses. Learn more
Black Girl in Om: Black Girl In Om exists to hold and catalyze healing within black women around the world on their unique journeys towards wholeness. Learn more
Gender Parity Project
For our Gender Pay Parity project, we completed a full regression analysis of our compensation across the company at every level and in every department. This information will be used in the next quarter to identify key insights and develop recommendations for systemic change across our company.
Monthly DEI discussions
In January 2021, all of our executive and senior leaders began meeting monthly to discuss what we are doing in our various business units to further integrate DEI into all we do and how we lead. This is our way of ensuring DEI is never a separate program, but rather at the forefront of the way we operate everyday and everywhere.
DEI Team expansion
The DEI Team expanded in March! And will continue to. We successfully hired our second member of the DEI Team at Bench.
Where we've fallen short
Our work on supporting the development and sustainability of affinity groups at Bench faltered in the quarter ending March 2021. Our new DEI Specialist is taking this on with renewed energy.
We have yet to revisit the conversation on how to provide additional support to racialized and underrepresented business owners. This next quarter, our Partnerships Team is developing a new partner program oriented specifically to not-for-profits supporting marginalized communities. But beyond this, we do not yet have a concrete plan for how we are directly and particularly supporting racialized and underrepresented business owners.
Much of the diverse representation growing at Bench and in our leadership is as a result of ad hoc or indirect shifts in our company. We have yet to develop robust systems to measure and track our improvement as an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory company on the whole. We know that what gets measured gets done. We do not yet have a concrete plan for how we will develop robust DEI-focused measurement, tracking, and therefore accountability.
As America's largest professional bookkeeping service for small businesses, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable resources to minority-owned businesses. This page will continue to be updated as we add more resources.
Programs, Grants, and Resources for Black-Owned Businesses
Black businesses disproportionately have less access to capital. Here are 7 different programs trying to address that inequality.
A Big List of Small Business Grants for Women* (2021)
If you’re a woman and own a business, you might be eligible for the small business grants listed in this article.
*When we say women, we mean all women. Particularly trans, queer, BIPOC, and other women with intersecting identities.