Trevor R. Thomas
When the partners of Ascent created our company, it was a relatively straight-forward process. We prepared a business plan, we consulted with various professionals to obtain advice, we approached a bank to apply for financing, we engaged other service providers to help us set up and manage our company, and we navigated the various rules, regulations and procedures required to be business owners. For us, we had significant advantages: we were educated, connected, and possessed an understanding of how to leverage our abilities to get what we wanted. Most importantly, we did not face systemic barriers to becoming business owners.
We acknowledge that our success is, in part, due to the system we operate within and the lack of barriers to participate in this system. For others – various disadvantaged groups, the system is difficult to understand and participate in. Recognizing that our advantages can be used to help others, and taking some inspiration from BCorp, we decided to create a program to help business owners – minority business owners, address a critical component of business ownership: employees.
How Ascent Can Help
Ascent Employment Law is proud to have the following policy as an initiative to help lessen the systemic barriers that certain groups face in business ownership.
1. In order to improve access to legal services for underrepresented groups, Ascent offers reduced hourly rates and consultation fees for eligible employers seeking legal advice.
2. BC-based entrepreneurs who face systemic barriers to business ownership are eligible to receive an equity discount.
3. In order to qualify for the discount, companies must meet two criteria:
a) The company must be >50% owned by any of, or a combination of, the following groups:
· People of colour (members of racialized groups)
· Women, or those who identify as female
· People with disabilities
b) The company must have less than $3 million in annual gross revenue.