B2B Winter 2018

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(IN-FINI-TUS) Limitless and Boundless

YOUTH MAKING MOVES BIJ – A look back and a look forward BIJ – New Strategy for 2018-2021 PARTNERING FOR YOUTH RBC iCode+ TD Spark Mentorship BUSINESSES ON THE MOVE Recruiting for Nova Scotia Relieving Patient Pain


Celebrating 20 Years of Business is Jammin’

READY TO GIVE YOUR BUSINESS THE PUSH IT NEEDS? Get access to financing of up to $45,000, mentorship and key resources to grow your business.

Natalie & David House of Auto Details

RESOURCES. FINANCING. MENTORING. futurpreneur.ca/B2B 1.800.464.2923


is the official periodical of The Black Business Initiative Its goal is to support the BBI as it fosters a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia Business Community. For advertising information, rates, submitting story ideas, notices or community events, and for more information, call: 902-426-8683 advertising@bbi.ns.ca Publisher: The Black Business Initiative Editor in Chief: S.I. Rustum Southwell Managing Editor: Angela Johnson, Mirabliss Media Productions Sales Manager: Patty Baxter Creative Director: Jamie Playfair Art Director: Mike Cugno Graphic Designer: Darlene Watters Production Coordinator: Kelsey Berg Cover Photography: Paul Adams The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 910, 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Phone: 902.426.8683 Fax: 902.426.8699 Toll Free: 1.888.664.9333 E-mail: bbi@bbi.ns.ca


Contents Winter 2018

Message from the Board of Directors Message from the CEO

4 5






TRAILBLAZERS: Youth Making Moves Keonté Beals Foluke ‘Sharon’ Akinkunmi Jennifer Kpolu

16 16 17


BUSINESS COMMUNITY PROFILES Placemaking 4G - Recruiting Nova Scotia Ezabriell Fraser - Building his business, one photograph at a time Kaekoes - Caring for your Hair Micah Smith - Relieving Patient Pain

18 19 20 21

FEATURES Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer Award Geek Speak Ask The BBI Role Models on the Road RBC iCode+ Community Connection Hope Blooms Alumni Community Garden


15 28 30 31 32 33 34

BBI NEWS Partner Showcase Meet the Board of Directors Meet the Staff Training Report Regional Report BBI Out and About

22 24 25 26 27 30


Celebrating 20 Years of in’ Business is Jamm

siness Black to Bu BLACK BUSIN

Black to Business Winter 2018 / Issue 67




Boundless Limitless and

G MOVES YOUTH MAKIN and a look forward BIJ – A look back y for 2018-2021 BIJ – New Strateg FOR YOUTH PARTNERING RBC iCode+ ship TD Spark Mentor ON THE MOVE BUSINESSES Nova Scotia Recruiting for Pain Relieving Patient



Winter 2018



Photo: Nathaniel Cole

Black to Business

On the cover: Photo by Paul Adams

BBI News

Message from the Board of Directors For over 20 years, the BBI has been making positive strides on the social and economic well-being of Nova Scotians. BBI’s continued existence is based on a strong foundation and forward-thinking leadership that envisions and actively supports economic inclusion and engagement of marginalized communities.

around preparation for our youths’ futures and building business acumen now. We need to drive diversity in every sector, so our youth see themselves represented in every field. We can empower our communities to achieve no matter their circumstance. Since 1996, BBI has paved many roads and developed strong partnerships. In 2019, BBI is looking forward to onboarding new partners and enhancing our current relationships. We must continue the pursuit of strategic alliances to further educate our province, communities, clients, and youth.

The longevity of this organization is a testament to the foundation laid by the past Chairs, BBI staff, and external partners and stakeholders - an ecosystem of support that is second to none. When I was asked to be the ninth Chair of the BBI, I didn’t hesitate, as I know what the BBI stands for and the direction that they are headed. I am humbled to be a part of the work that the BBI does and continues to do - bridging the gap for entrepreneurs to financial institutions, government, employment opportunities, and other support agencies.

There’s so much more that we can do. Looking beyond the metro area to surrounding regional and rural centres, we can continue to advance women-owned businesses, help our clients innovate and scale-up, foster Black-owned businesses in the tech sector, advocate for supplier diversity, and continue expanding our reach to not only Black-owned businesses, but to businesses operated by all racially visible minorities. BBI has brought more visibility and awareness to our communities, but we still have a long journey ahead of us. By building upon our capacity, we are helping to secure better economic futures for our communities.

Since chairing the board, I have had the privilege of hosting important conversations and being part of some “firsts” within the organization. In June, during our Annual General Meeting, the board of directors presented the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. For the first time since BBI began, the top five nominees were all women entrepreneurs. With less than 16% of small businesses in Canada being owned by women, I believe this speaks to our progression as an organization and the work ethic, leadership, and determination of our clients.

Bridging the gap is a continuous effort; the work must be done. I was proud to be a part of the BBI as one of its Board members, and I am honoured now to serve as its chair. I respect and recognize the tireless work and commitment of the staff and my fellow board members to the clients and the organization. With our continued strong leadership, I know we will accomplish even greater things, together.

As Chair, I have been honoured to have met with Parliamentary Secretary David Lametti and Premier Stephen McNeil, on two separate occasions, to discuss the impact of our programs and initiatives over the last two decades. The roundtables were engaging and educational; input was given and received. The conversations were candid about the successes and the barriers. This dialogue is imperative as we move forward, advocating for our communities and clients. The conversations centered



Carlo Simmons, Chair


Winter 2018

Message from the CEO Since the last issue of the Black to Business magazine we have regained momentum, making significant progress reengaging our stakeholders.

entrepreneurs and business owners along with us to join the technology revolution and innovation driven enterprises now happening in Atlantic Canada. Dalhousie University, along with government and private sector entities are leading the charge. Canada’s Ocean Super Cluster, Innovacorp, Volta, Cove, Develop NS, Emera ideaHUB and Irving Shipbuilding have already started a seismic change to the business landscape in the Atlantic provinces and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to participate.

The first step was at the Board level. With our previous Board Chair, Cynthia Dorrington, becoming Chair of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, we anticipate additional partnership opportunities with many mainstream corporations who are searching for opportunities to embrace diversity and inclusion in their marketplaces. We also look forward to the years of business and community experience our new Chair Carlo Simmons, who comes from the historic Black community of North Preston, will bring to the BBI Board of Directors.

Our youth initiative, Business’ is Jammin’ (BIJ), began in 1999, and for the twenty years of its existence it has touched the lives of over 8,000 youth. It is still going strong! I continue to feel deep pride for the impact that BIJ has on Black youth in Nova Scotia and the work that has been undertaken in recent months in many critical areas that will lead to the long-term success and well-being of our youth and community. With our industry partners, in particular, Dalhousie, Imhotep, RBC iCode+ and TD Spark Mentorship, we are truly climbing to new heights.

The recent months have continued to be a period of change, complexity and opportunity for the BBI and our partners and stakeholders in Nova Scotia. Following our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, we have held meetings with Nova Scotia Department of Business, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and hosted roundtable sessions with David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the Honourable Stephen Mc Neil, Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia.

In this issue we celebrate some of the young game-changers who are making a difference in our community. From the graduation of the first two cohorts of the “kids” from Hope Blooms Youth Ventures Limited, to the graduation of BIJ Alumni in nursing, medicine and engineering. We are now seeing the results of our efforts. And we are being noticed, Right Now!! Respectfully,

I will continue to focus on the strategic pillars articulated in the BBI Composite’s strategic plan – Right Now!! and position BBI as a leader within the economic and social imperatives facing Nova Scotia. We are in the midst of an energetic effort to raise Nova Scotia into the top 25 of Innovation Cities and Black businesses must participate. Consequently, we’ll be taking our brightest


S.I. Rustum Southwell BBI, Founding and Interim CEO


Winter 2018



Winter 2018



Limitless and Boundless By Sharon Ishimwe

Photo by Paul Adams

Born into a family of educators, Andreas Robinson learned the importance of education, hard work and dreaming big early on. During high-school, he played football on the Under 19 National team and then for an elite preparatory school in the United States. Unfortunately, a knee injury derailed his athletic trajectory and after two surgeries, he decided to attend the Sobeys School of Business in Halifax. Inspiring and encouraging youth was not new to the 24-year-old, so it wasn’t surprising that this became the basis of his business. Three years ago, Andreas rolled his education and this passion into Infinitus. On the website, Infinitus is described as an action-brand with four key developmental pillars: Identity, Resiliency, Leadership, and Mental Well-being and services that include curriculum development; facilitation and consulting; events; speaking engagements; multimedia and content creation. The company employs social and experiential learning techniques to foster resilience, leadership, and mental well-being among communities. “All services are tailored to the specific needs of each client or group. For example, although our messages are uniform, we use different delivery approaches for inner-city schools than we do for the more affluent schools. The experiences of the children attending these schools are different, and we factor that in our approaches.”

He says his greatest asset is the networks he has built both locally and internationally. These are people who believe in him and who have supported him along the way. Andreas also credits his achievements to the inspiration he gets from his mother who after having him at 18 years, went back to university to complete her psychology degree. “Being raised by a single mother until the age of 8 put me in a situation where I was close with everyone in my family and was able to build a different level of connection and communication at an early age,” he shares on the Infinitus website. Building community is Andreas’ goal. He wants to engage and impact 1 billion people and make 100 million dollars in the next 35 years. “We have already reached over 3,000 people in just 7 years”. And if he won’t find the 1 billion people in Halifax, he says he is ready to find them in other parts of the world. He spent last summer in Jamaica on a scholarship. During this placement, he held community events on personal branding and marketing and developed a 9-week program to train fourth year technology students on how to become tech entrepreneurs. “I want to be remembered as that driven guy who did something and who led for change,” he asserts.

Andreas says that for youth support work to be effective, focus should be put on building relationships and ensuring efforts are continuous.

In addition to his busy schedule as Founder and CEO of Infinitus, he attends classes as a double major at the Sobeys School of Business, and is now consulting on the Youth Health Model, an initiative of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

“I want every young person I work with to know that there is this person who truly cares about them and who is going to be there tomorrow and the day after,” he says.

www.liveinfinitus.com/infinitus-academy academy@liveinfinitus.com



Winter 2018

Business is Jammin’ Celebrating 20 Years of Youth Entrepreneurship By Carol Dobson Photos by Ezabriell Fraser and contributed The power of a simple t-shirt is amazing. A few years ago, I was wearing my Business is Jammin’ t-shirt while I was purchasing a bottle of salad dressing from Hope Blooms. The young gentleman serving me saw the shirt and asked, with eyes bigger than saucers, “You know Mr. Rustum?” When I answered in the affirmative, we had a great chat about his participation in the Business is Jammin’ program. Since its inception in 1999, more than eight thousand young Nova Scotians have been introduced to the concept of entrepreneurship through the various Business is Jammin’ programs. Tracey Thomas has stepped into the leadership of the BIJ’s board of directors and has been in the role since the BBI’s annual general meeting in June. “Joe Parris was the first and only chair of BIJ,” she says. “He provided great leadership and set the organization on the right path. I’ve been both a staff member of the BBI and a long-term board member, so I’ve been immersed in BIJ but I’m on a learning curve as the chair.”

Thomas also mentions another program, the TD Spark Mentorship Program which aims to create a networking and mentorship platform for African Nova Scotian and other racially visible youth. The program’s goal is to: ‘foster an environment where youth are inspired and empowered to create and nurture professional networks to pursue vital opportunities and expand their leadership capabilities. Youth will have access to and be mentored by key decision makers; gain various skills and trainings; and be engaged and participate in broader community’. “We offer the Dr. Rudy FFrench Trailblazer Award,” she says. “Dr. Ffrench has been a great supporter of engaging youth, especially in rural areas.”

BIJ has remained responsive to the needs of Nova Scotian youth, whether through the annual summer and March break week-long introduction to entrepreneurship camps, to its in-school program: Role Models on the Road, to mentoring. One of BIJ’s newest programs is RBC iCode+, which is a partnership with Dalhousie, RBC and Imhotep’s Legacy Academy. The goal of this program is to teach coding to youth (ages 15-19) through hands-on coding exercises. It is a six-week long program that introduces students to the use of open-source software and hardware, skills that will be valuable as the students enter the workforce.

Thomas reminds readers that BIJ is a registered charity and raises funds through activities such as the annual Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament was the ninth and was held on September 14 at Granite Springs. With year end fast approaching, she says donors who want to top off their year-end giving are more than welcome to support BIJ (and receive a tax receipt). “I’m honoured to be the new BIJ chair,” Thomas says. “I’m excited to see how we will be able to advance BIJ to include programs that run all year round and that are held in various locations across the regions.”

Another program is Community Greenhands, which is funded by the United Way. This project, which took place at the H.G. Bauld Centre, taught youth about planting seeds, tending bees, raising produce, and the entrepreneurship aspects of taking it to market, including field trips to the Dalhousie’s Agricultural campus in Truro.


BIJ also partnered with the faculties of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie and the Nova Scotia Architects Association to introduce young Nova Scotians to the concepts of architecture and planning as future careers through its hands-on ‘Experiences in Architecture and Planning’ program which ran last May 18.


Winter 2018

BIJ Youth on the Move Edited by Angela Johnson Photos by Ezabriell Fraser and contributed

Since the BIJ program’s inception, hundreds of young people have benefitted from their involvement with the BBI, through its programs and services. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of Business is Jammin’, here are a two of those Youthful Movers – Then and Now.


Artist, Designer, Developer, Marvelous Design When were you featured in the magazine? I was featured in the Spring 2008 issue of the magazine as well as the Summer 2010 for the BIJ 15th Anniversary issue. hat has been your involvement with W the BBI? I was invited to attend a couple of the BBI’s Business Summits through my involvement with the Business is Jammin’ program as well as being invited to speak to various youth about being an entrepreneur on a number of occasions. I also received a micro loan many, many, years ago through the BIJ program, which helped me understand some of the processes for creating business plans and applying for business loans. What was your business idea or product? a. then: Selling artwork (prints) and art services; mostly portrait drawings and mural paintings. b. now: I currently offer services in digital marketing and brand development. What is your business name (then and now - if changed)? When I first started out I used the name “Marven Art and Design”. Since then, I’ve changed my business name to “Marvelous Design”.



Winter 2018

What has changed for you personally? One of the main changes for me has been my development as an artist and a businessman. This is important because combining these two is a major challenge for creative individuals, and because of this, I’ve recently started an organization which focuses on exactly that. The idea is to guide those with artistic abilities, regardless of what form it is (i.e. visual arts, dance, music, performance, crafting etc.), into pursuing a career as a creative professional. I’ve done a lot of work in the community and with youth, and this new endeavor for me will probably be one of the largest and most impactful changes to date. I’ll save the details for another feature. How has your business or sector evolved and why? As a digital marketer, I see constant changes in mine and other sectors due to the fastgrowing pace of technology in today’s society. The type of solutions we developed two years ago, last year, last month are quickly becoming obsolete because of the ever-changing market. This is why it’s so exciting because we have to constantly learn new things in order to push the envelope, be innovative, and stay up to date. A key part of what I do is to help businesses evolve their marketing strategies. What are you working on now that excites you? Everything I work on now excites me. The type of work I do allows me to develop creative solutions for clients daily. As a craftsperson, I love producing things that serve a purpose and help people to achieve a particular goal, no matter how big or small. I also enjoy the process of creating and bringing things that are meaningful and impactful into existence.

Please list any awards, achievements or recognitions you’ve received and when.

If you could speak to the young entrepreneur that was you, what advice would you give yourself?

I haven’t received any official awards or recognitions, so far. Nevertheless, the work I do, each individual project, is an achievement. For me and the people I work with, the solutions we create, the ideas we produce and the products we develop all have meaning. They are significant, they are unique, and I am proud to see each one progress from start to finish. It’s why I love what I do so much and always put forth my best, no matter how big or how small an opportunity.

I believe strongly that our experiences define us. The things we go through in life shape who we are and who we become. I’m quite satisfied with where I’m at currently and looking forward to the journey ahead. Therefore, the only advice I would give to my younger self would be to “keep it up!” and for the challenges ahead to “hang in there, because it gets so much better”.

What are your future business / development plans? My future plans consist of two ventures. The organization I mentioned previously which is called Make a Dream Endure or MaDE for short, and my marketing business, Marvelous Design. I plan to grow these both over the next few years.

Any final thoughts? I’m thankful for the opportunities and the experiences I’ve received from the BBI over the years and it’s an honour to be once again featured in this publication. marvelousdesign.ca projects@marvelousdesign.ca

The BBI has been a great stepping stone, and professionally I was able to move onto the YMCA where I get to represent the province on a national level. The YMCA - Community Action Network is a national program under the Canada Service Corps. It is 1 of 10 youth led initiatives that Justin Trudeau has launched. There are 10 provinces involved under this Y program with one Program Coordinator. Through the Y I have been able to travel and represent this organization and youth at large on a greater scale. I have travelled to Ontario, Vancouver BC, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. Professionally, I would not be and or have made the connections I have if it weren’t for the BBI. What are you working on now that excites you? The youth I work with are between the ages of 15-30; I have since led two cohorts. The first was in collaboration with the BIJ, Akoma Centre and the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia where the youth collaborated on a community garden. My next cohort had 16 youth prepping a school dance, with the admission price being non-perishable food donations and/or school supplies, and half of the proceeds went to the local mental health facility here in the North End. In 2019, working with an older demographic I will be working at NSCC with the Women Unlimited 14-week program.


Please list any awards, achievements or recognitions you’ve received and when.

Program Coordinator, YMCA Community Action Network When were you featured in the magazine?

October 28th, 2016, I received a Resolution Plaque recognizing my involvement and giving-back to community involvement.


What are your future business / personal development plans?

What has been your involvement with the BBI?

I will be finishing five courses for my undergraduate degree. I go with flow like most millennials do, so whatever God has in store for me next, I will await until it is time to take on a new adventure.

I was the former BIJ’ youth coordinator from Jan. 2016 - Dec. 2017. What was your business or profession, calling?

If you could speak to the younger you, what advice would you give yourself?

Then: Youth Coordinator Now: Program Coordinator for the YMCA Community Action Network What was it that you were doing then that was featured in the magazine?

Being young or the youngest around the table, is not a disadvantage, you are around the table for a reason.

Working with youth, by helping them establish service projects.

Final thoughts?

How has your professional development evolved and why? What has changed for your professionally?

I am humbled to have worked for this organization, to the BBI at large don’t stop learning, growing and networking. I am extremely grateful to have worked under the youth entity BIJ’ who will be celebrating 20 years! A huge congratulations!

Coming from a business background, and the work I’ve done at the BBI I am well versed in various business sectors. I also hail from a family business, First Rate Graphics, owned and operated by my dad and uncle Russell and Conrad Grosse. I love what business is. I love what I do with the youth.



YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth amber.grosse@halifax.ymca.ns www.ymcahfx.ca/ycan/ www.ymcagta.org/action Winter 2018

20 Years Business is Jammin’ – The Way Forward New Strategy for 2018-2021 The purpose of the Black Business Initiative (BBI) is Changing Lives by Enabling Economic Independence. BBI achieves this by empowering individuals and building communities, creating wealth and improving economic well-being. Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) is a province-wide charitable initiative of the BBI that focuses on motivating Black and visible minority youth, stressing the importance of education and personal development in all its programs. BIJ’s goals are to deliver a comprehensive leadership, career development and entrepreneurship learning strategy and instill business and life skills that will offer long-term benefits to young people.

BIJ strives to build tomorrow’s leaders.

Historically, youth in Black and minority communities have lagged behind their counterparts from the general population in issues of socio-economic wellbeing and access to wealth and other resources, as reflected in very high unemployment, significantly lower participation in good jobs or higher education and lower graduation rates from high school and tertiary institutions. Recent Statistics Canada census data shows that the prevalence of low income households and individuals is about three times higher for Black communities, at close to 22%, when compared to the general population of Nova Scotia, and that on average, individuals from the Black community get paid up to $12,000 less than the general population.

BIJ understands that:

We grow and nurture the minds of Black and racially visible minority youth across Nova Scotia, providing a foundation and helping youth create a life plan. BIJ works with youth ages 8 to 30 years old. Youth have a voice, want to be heard and most importantly want to have an impact. As such, it is critically important that we provide programming that is not only relevant to them, but that they have a say in creating those programs. To be effective, we must change and adapt the way we interact and communicate with the youth today – bearing in mind that their generation is the first fully digital generation. BIJ seeks to expose youth to entrepreneurism and social enterprise through experiential learning.

In a community where 59% of the population are aged 34 years and younger, the youth are highly likely to remain in the same cycle of poverty that has plagued prior generations, unless drastic steps are taken to move them onto a path to economic independence.

While we understand that not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, we can help to grow and foster not only the entrepreneurial mindset but that of intrapreneurs, dreamers who do, and take the initiative to create innovation within their workplaces, for example. BIJ therefore provides programming that enables youth to develop this mindset and use it to influence and grow their own communities and the economy at large. Through experiential learning we expose youth to non-traditional career paths and give them the opportunities to find their strengths in areas that may not have otherwise been apparent to them.

BIJ strives to end the multi-generational cycle of poverty by working with the youth to shape them into vibrant and productive members of the community through a range of educational, social, mentorship, and financial support programs to build self-esteem, soft skills, entrepreneurship and leadership skills that are required to succeed in the modern workforce. The objective of BIJ’s programing is to empower the youth to take charge of their own futures by giving them access to opportunities that they ordinarily wouldn’t have access to.



The program helps youth speak up on issues that affect them, giving them a platform to confidently step forward to grasp opportunities, both educationally and professionally.

What if …? … youth were given opportunities and tools to create their own futures? … leaders could grow the next generation of leaders? … we could invest in and grow youth entrepreneurs?

BIJ provides youth with mentorship opportunities The program exposes them to co-op and other experiential learning activities. It is vital that we now begin to follow a group of youth throughout their educational careers to assist them with creating a life plan so that they can become successful contributors to their society/community. BIJ provides the tools and resources to build successful leaders and engaged citizens. Our objective is to create a shift in the economic culture and reality for racially visible minority youth, thereby changing their lives by enabling economic independence and investing in growth for the future. We aim to positively influence the Nova Scotia business culture by promoting and assisting in the development of racially visible minority youth through education, entrepreneurship and employment.



Winter 2018

Empowering Black Youth Through Entrepreneurship Who is Business Is Jammin'?

Business is Jammin' (BIJ), part of the Black Business Initiative (BBI), is a Province-wide charity. We strive to build tomorrow's leaders by empowering youth today. How do we do this? We provide youth with the opportunities, tools, resources, and mentorship to build leadership and business skills. We work with and advocate for Black and racially visible minority youth across Nova Scotia, by focusing on the importance of education and personal development through hands-on learning. We help grow the entrepreneurial mindset and those of intrapreneurs, dreamers, and those who take the initiative to create innovation within their workplaces to do something amazing!

BIJ Youth Programs

We offer a wide range of exciting programs to teach youth from the ages of 8-30 professional, practical, and soft skills. These programs are designed to introduce youth to alternative careers that they may not have considered, like entrepreneurship, non-traditional industries (such as architecture, film, engineering, etc.), and fields that lack diversity. Listed are some of our key programs with the target age groups: Summer Entrepreneurship Camps (8-15) Experiences In Programs (15-18) Role Models on the Road (12-18) RBC iCode+ (15-19) TD Spark Mentorship Program (19-30) March Break Biz Kidz Camp (8-14) Community Greenhands (8-18) All Programs are FREE.

Youth Trailblazers

Our mission is to build a strong entrepreneurial culture in Nova Scotia, offering programs and services to help youth learn about entrepreneurship. Business Is Jammin' BIJYouth

Since Business Is Jammin' began, we have worked with over 8,000 youth through our programs! We've watched youth take part in our programs and go on to be successful students, entrepreneurs, doctors, artists, engineers, and to do many other amazing careers! We also offer a scholarship to assist with Post-Secondary education costs: the Dr. Rudy Ffrench Award, for youth "Trailblazers" who are making an impact in their community. Contact us for more information on any of our programs or how you can get involved!





Winter 2018


20 Years BiJ programs 2018 has been a fantastic year for BIJ, we have been rolling out new programming and bringing back some of our legacy programs. We have met with a record number of youth from elementary through high school. Role Models on the Road (Target age group: Elementary to High School) This a legacy program that runs from October through to June. The program brings entrepreneurs and professional into the elementary, junior high and high schools across the province. The interactive format allows the guests to have meaningful conversations with a small group of youth. The guests share their experiences in education, career path and choices. We try to ensure that the Role Models that are brought in are reflective of the youth and communities that they are going into. Experiences in Architecture & Planning (Target age group: Grades 9-12) This program’s purpose is to introduce African Nova Scotian youth to the discipline of architecture and urban planning as viable career opportunities and a mode for cultural expression. Through an experiential learning model, this program helps youth to not only explore architecture and planning as a viable vocation choice, but also recognize the inherent potential dwelling within each one of them to form, shape and contribute to the culture of Nova Scotia through buildings, sustainable community planning and other structures, and through drawing and art, by using kinesthetic learning. The long-term goal of the program, is to affect an increase in the participation of African Nova Scotians in the fields of architecture and planning, resulting in a more diverse sector. It is also to provide opportunities for the expression of Black culture in society through design and construction of structures and the communities around us. (African Canadian representation in the fields of architecture and planning is currently very insignificant.) An exposure to urban design and planning, for example, will encourage contribution to growth and improvements of the communities they live in. Different perspectives ultimately enrich society. A successful pilot program with the Dalhousie University Schools of Architecture and Planning and the Nova Scotia Architects Association, ran May of 2018, the plan for 2018-19 is to run a three-day summer intensive for high school-aged participants and a one-day session for junior high-aged participants.



Summer Business Camps (Target age group: 8-15) This program aims to introduce youth to entrepreneurship as an alternate career choice, while stressing the importance of education and personal development, in a fun and energetic environment. These week-long, fun-filled, interactive business camps take young people through the different stages of starting and running a business. During the summer camps, our Youth Coordinators deliver several entrepreneurship workshops; exploring the characteristics of an entrepreneur, techniques for idea generation and engaging creative thinking exercises. The activities are interactive and help to develop academic essential skills like math as well as learning about personal entrepreneurial traits. As the camp week comes to an end, the Youth run their own Business for a Day. This is a valuable learning experience that will foster the development of the attitudes, skills and characteristics needed in an entrepreneurial culture. These camps are run provincewide, all summer long. We employ post-secondary students as Youth Coordinators at each site. Greenhands Community Garden (Target age group: 8-18) This program works to empower African Nova Scotian and minority youth of all ages and incomes to grow and eat healthy, organic, local food within their communities. The Greenhands Community Gardens project achieves its mission by providing access to gardening, land, social enterprise and education. The program works with youth within their communities to develop the skills, awareness, and knowledge they need to grow, prepare, market and eat nutritious food while introducing them to green jobs/economy. The goal is to empower youth to make healthy choices for themselves, their community, and the environment. During the first year of the project, more than twenty primarily low-income youth participated in the gardens. This program engages participants in afterschool and summer hands-on experience that teaches food growing skills, provides access to healthy and local food, and offers a unique garden-based experience. In summer 2018, youth visited and toured the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus for a day. March Break Business Camps (Target age group: 8-14) The week-long business camp focuses on leadership and entrepreneurship through education and personal development, in a fun, energetic and interactive environment. Youth will explore what they are passionate about and how this can relate to business. We have been approached to expand this program to other areas of the province.

Winter 2018

Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer Award This year we are pleased to announce the introduction of the Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer award in honor of Dr. Rudy Ffrench. Dr. Rudolph Ffrench was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to Canada in 1960 upon receipt of a Scholarship to attend Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he obtained his B.A. (Honors) and Master’s degrees in Economics. Prior to attending Queen’s University, he was a Senior Executive in the Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance, in Jamaica. Dr. Ffrench joined the Economics Department at Acadia University in 1966 where he remained until retirement. During his academic career he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Wales and attained the rank of Full Professor in 1977, and later became the Head of the Department of Economics from 1978 - 1982 and from 1985 - 1992. He has also held the position of Visiting Lecturer at the University of Manchester, England, and Visiting Research Professor, University of the West Indies and Mona Campus, Jamaica.



Sip with Me COME


The Dr. Rudy Ffrench Trailblazer Award is presented annually by Business Is Jammin' to Nova Scotian youth of African Descent for contributions to their community, as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as volunteers, students, athletes and/or artists Among these outstanding individuals, two youth from across the Province are selected annually as "Trailblazers" and are awarded a $1,000 scholarship towards tuition, books, or other related fees at a recognized post secondary educational institution.

He has been an Advisor and Consultant to both the Canadian Federal and Atlantic Provincial Governments and the Jamaican Government, in such areas as fisheries, banking and international finance, transportation, tourism. He has published numerous articles and reports on these topics and has also worked in an advisory capacity to Caricom on behalf of the Jamaican Government and the University of the West Indies. Dr. Rudy Ffrench was a BBI board member and was instrumental in the creation of the Business is Jammin’. Dr. Ffrench has been a strong advocate of the role of education in the African Nova Scotian community and has contributed to the attainment of this goal; in addition to the upgrading of entrepreneurial and business skills in the community. The Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailbrazer award will be presented annually to 2 African Nova Scotian youth for contributions to their community, as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as volunteers, students, athletes and or artists. Youth will also be awarded a $1,000 scholarship towards tuition, books or other related fees at a recognized postsecondary institution.

Delmore “Buddy” Daye

Learning Institute

Excellence in Africentric Education & Research

5450 Cornwallis Street, Halifax, NS B3K 1A9

Join Enter Attend www.dbdli.ca f l i i x BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2018

Trailblazers Special Feature - YOUTH MAKING MOVES In celebration of BIJ’s 20th anniversary here are three young people who are making some moves and making their mark.

Keonté Beals, Singer-Songwriter/Musician

By Sharon Ishimwe Photo by Lou Gannon

Keonté Beals was born and raised in North Preston, Nova Scotia. He started singing in the Junior choir of Saint Thomas Baptist Church at 7 years old. “I’ve been preparing for music and entertainment all my life,” he says. His first opportunity to show that he could sing came when one of his aunts asked to record a video of the two of them singing. She shared the video on YouTube and people loved it. This encouraged Keonté to record and share a video of himself singing Silent Night. This video got a lot of support which boosted his confidence and gave him the courage to ask his parents to send him for vocal lessons.

Keonté Beals

After years of training, Keonté sang his first solo at his home church. “I did the whole song with my eyes closed and when I opened them at the end, the whole congregation was on their feet, clapping”. Feeling even more energized, the then 16-year-old saved up from a peer tutoring job at an elementary school and paid to produce a video of his cover of I’m Here, a track from the movie The Color Purple. The video was widely shared, and it led to people asking him to produce covers of other songs The most personal song Keonté has written and released is his 2016 single, Man Down. Keonté had lost four cousins to gun violence in a period of five years, but the last one hit him the hardest. “He was my

best friend. We did everything together. I felt like a man down”, he says softly. The song won numerous awards, opened doors for the singer to speak at events on gun violence and got him featured in documentaries. “I’d say I’m going through a stage of growing up and I want to share my experiences with deeper stuff like love and depression”. Keonté ’s ability to share his true feelings was nurtured by Chris Bailey, a realtor, who reached out to him and asked to be his mentor. Chris talked to him about business, being a man and being able to express his emotions. “So crazy that a realtor would reach out to a musician,” he jokes. Keonté is currently running a project with North End Halifax based Hope Blooms, aimed at influencing young people through music. He has also been involved with Black Business Initiative’s Business is Jammin program talking to elementary and junior high kids about business. He is also heavily involved in the Baptist Youth Fellowship where he helps out at soup kitchens, serves seniors in the community and serves at events free of charge. The already successful musician plans to go back to school to study music therapy and hopes to start a clothing line and to grow his music merchandise sales. https://www.keontebeals.com/

Foluke ‘Sharon’ Akinkunmi, Sugar and Spice Designs By Lydia Phillip Photo by Ezabriell Fraser Foluke ‘Sharon’ Akinkunmi is a 15-year-old high school student who is striving to make a difference in her community and around the world through her passion for creative design. When Foluke is not studying, playing basketball and guitar, or volunteering - she is running her own business. Passionate about graphic design, Foluke has been making products for a few years now, but this past summer, she made it official and started ‘Sugar and Spice Designs’. Foluke participated in the Junior Achievers Program ran by Business Is Jammin’ which gave her the confidence to begin her venture, “I learned how to market items, price the products, deal with business issues, and lots more! Without this program, I never would have learned how to create a business and how much fun it can be to run your own business.” Foluke Akinkunmi

Sugar and Spice Designs makes custom home decor and signage for weddings. Foluke sells her products through her Facebook page, but her goal is to have BLACK to BUSINESS


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a presence on Etsy and eventually a website as the business grows. Sugar and Spice Designs is based in Halifax but is reaching other parts of the world through a partnership with the nonprofit, G Inspire 360. Together, they are able to send posters and signs with inspirational messages to schools around the globe. Foluke wants to use her creativity to instill in youth everywhere that they can pursue their passions and achieve their dreams. If customers buy a Sugar and Spice Design product marked ‘G Inspire’, the proceeds are then used to send the same poster to a school somewhere in the world for their classrooms, hallways, and libraries. Foluke’s inspiration for her business and the G Inspire 360 cause is to spread positivity wherever possible. “I want to be able to inspire others to continue to push and to work toward their goals and I know that the little my business can give can make such a big difference.”

Jennifer Kpolu,

RBC iCode+ Program Coordinator By Lydia Phillip Photo by Ezabriell Fraser Jennifer Kpolu is a fourth-year computer science and business administration student at Dalhousie University. A recipient of the TD Opportunity Scholarship earlier in 2018, Jennifer conducted research in the medical field over the summer and gained more exposure to different areas in STEM.

Jennifer Kpolu

Jennifer enjoys working with youth and was excited about the opportunity to work with one of Business Is Jammin’s’ initiatives, the RBC iCode+ program, as a Program Coordinator and Mentor. As STEM fields are fields that typically lack diversity but have many viable career options that youth are often unaware of, Jennifer was excited to be a mentor and to inspire youth through coding. She used her own background in computer science to design the lessons and instruct the sessions. Jennifer was able to relate to the challenges that the youth faced when coding; and then with her own experience, was able to problem-solve and find creative ways to teach the material.

Maigoro brings new possibilities to the company and a new way of looking at things that helps others open up their own way of thinking. MARLEE MOORE VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING GREEN POWER LABS Diversity and youthful perspectives can energize a workplace. The Graduate to Opportunity Program provides salary contributions of up to 35% to Nova Scotia employers who hire recent grads for new jobs. To breathe new life into your workforce, visit NOVASCOTIA.CA

Maigoro Yunana, Building Energy Modelling Specialist, Green Power Labs



Winter 2018

Jennifer was inspired by the dedication and commitment that the students showed toward the program, “Often Black students get a bad reputation in the school system, but they were so motivated to show up and to learn.” Jennifer also has been running her own business since January 2017. She saw a demand for braided hair and extensions in the Halifax area and started selling products that she imports from Nigeria. Within the year, she expanded her product line to different colors and braids and also sells handmade wigs on request. This is just the beginning for Jennifer, as this is just one piece of the bigger picture. Jennifer’s goal is to have a business where she can provide resources for African students and immigrants. She dreams of providing an environment where Black immigrants can navigate the culture shock and feel “at home” through a variety of products, services, and mentorship that her business will provide.


Placemaking 4G Recruiting Nova Scotia By Carol Dobson Photo by Ezabriell Fraser Bradley Daye prefers actions to words. That’s why he, and his two ‘placemakers,’ Matt Thomson and Lauren Sears, are the founding partners of Placemaking 4G, a unique recruiting organization that is determined to assist young Nova Scotians to stay in this province. “A year ago, we were a little desperate about the state of things in this province,” he says. “We were hearing a lot of narratives about keeping young people in the province, but nobody was actually doing anything about it, so we decided to strap on our boots and take action.” Outmigration of youth and the ageing demographic in the province is a major issue and the approach the partners are using is one which has a major values alignment proposition for its clients. Their ideal clientele is Nova Scotians looking for entry or mid-level opportunities. “Many young people are graduating with a lot of debt, so they grab the first job they can, in order to pay those bills,” he says. “They don’t enjoy the job but take it because they have to and then leave after a couple of years. That’s led to a false belief that they’re lazy and don’t stick at things, which is unfair.”

One way they are spreading their message is by posting short videos on their website highlighting young people who want to stay in Nova Scotia to live, work, and thrive. “They’re a combination of people who are here by choice or people from communities, like our African Nova Scotian community, who have been here for hundreds of years,” he adds. “We try to tell a new story every week.”

Placemaking 4G wants to bridge those gaps and knock down the silos that are prevalent in many organizations. They perform cultural audits to help them determine how their clients can fit into the organization and if they have room not only to contribute but also to grow themselves and the company.

Daye’s commitment to his province comes from his strong roots. He’s the grandson of trailblazer Buddy Daye and wants to carry on his grandfather’s legacy of building a better Nova Scotia for those to come.

Their business model is a community interest company – a hybrid of a for-profit and not-for-profit organization where a percentage of revenue is put back into community economic development efforts.

“We want to set a big table with lots of chairs and there’s lots of room for people to sit there.” Placemaking 4G Bradley Daye www.p4g.ca/ 902-718-7441

“There are no tax incentives with this model,” he says. “We have to rely on succeeding in business in order to reinvest the 60 per cent back into the mission.” They’ve had some success so far, assisting the Town of Pictou to hire a special events coordinator, have spoken to various business and political groups, and have developed a well-rounded portfolio of clients.



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Ezabriell Fraser – Building his business, one photograph at a time By Michael Lightstone Photo by Ezabriell Fraser Equipped with a background in carpentry, Ezabriell Fraser had a blueprint for an enterprise involving a totally different skill set. He shaped his love for taking pictures and opened his Dartmouthbased business, Fraser Photography, in early 2018. “I started to become interested in photography in 2010, taking pictures of everything that I possibly could, even my children’s toys,” said Fraser, a married father of three. Several years later, he said, “it became a more serious activity, with more opportunity developing.” Fraser studied carpentry at Nova Scotia Community College and worked in the construction/renovation industry for years before launching his commercial photography business. He still does carpentry and framing work, and runs his one-man photo outfit as well.

Among other things, Fraser Photography provides portrait photos, pictures of family events, interior and/or exterior real estate photos and pictures for people needing business-related head shots.

A self-taught shooter, Fraser didn’t take photography classes when he was younger. He said he “spent many late nights reading and researching my camera.”

Fraser said he doesn’t do any paid drone-photography work but acknowledged drone use is a recreational hobby. As for trends in the photo business, “creative portrait photography seems to be a major trend this year.”

Also, he’s received “tips from other successful photographers along the way, which has been very much appreciated.”

The inaugural paid assignment Fraser got was to take pictures at a child’s first birthday party.

Fraser said he doesn’t view competitors working in the photo field in the Halifax region “as opponents,” but sees them more as colleagues.

Fraser Photography has a social-media presence, notably with the use of Twitter and YouTube. The latter platform has a short audio-visual promotional presentation that includes nighttime pictures of Historic Properties, Halifax City Hall, downtown towers and the harbour.

“We see each other as respected photographers who all have a lot to bring to the table and provide various perspectives in our work,” he said in an email interview in October.

Fraser includes the BBI amoung his champions for business growth, for instance, the BBI has hired him to take pictures for this magazine and has given him the opportunity “to further my photography business and grow my professional network. The BBI is a strong supporter of my photography work, and they have referred me to other individuals to work with.”

Fraser doesn’t use a studio; he travels to clients for on-site photo shoots. His expenses include editing software and camera equipment and repairs. Regarding his business plans, including hopes for growth, Fraser said customer service is key.

He noted one of his magazine pictures for the Black Business Initiative was published on a cover.

“One of my future business goals is to focus on providing a higher quality of work to clients and continue to learn various methods in how I can deliver the best service possible.”

“Words cannot describe the appreciation I feel for those who have played any part to my success,” Fraser said.

The 30-year-old Dartmouth resident said he intends “to grow Fraser Photography’s client base and create the bandwidth to take on more clientele.”


Fraser Photography Ezabriell Fraser fraserphotography.ca


Winter 2018


Kaekoes – Caring for your Hair By Carol Dobson Photo by Ezabriell Fraser When Kienya Booker couldn’t find hair products that worked on her hair, she made her own and turned it into a business with customers on both sides of the Atlantic. “I was looking for a solution for my ‘kinky’ hair and had to come up with my own solution,” she says. “I named my company after my two teenage daughters, Kae and Koe, and I was always trying my products out on them, so they named me ‘the mad scientist’.” Most of her sales are virtual, from her webpage (www.kaekoes.com), Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube sites. “I have a lot of customers who buy from me locally, but I’ve also sold my products to customers in the United Kingdom, across Canada as far as Vancouver, and have a lot of purchasers from the United States,” she says.


One of her products is her “Untwine and Define” moisture boost which she says is perfect for people whose hair is wavy or kinky as it hydrates and defines the strands of hair. It’s made from all-natural ingredients and she recommends keeping it refrigerated to ensure its quality. Another successful product is her ‘Root Awakening’ hair and scalp oil, which is also made from all-natural ingredients.



“My ‘Youth Boost Face and Body Butter’ is becoming really popular,” she says. “It’s a rich, thick butter that’s good for all skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, and it’s perfect for the coming winter.” Kienya’s branched into a new line of products – all-natural wigs and the link to her wig business is on the website. “There are many customers who like to have the choice of a wig, when they want to change their look or give their normal look a break,” she says. “My wigs are made from virgin, human hair, which I colour for you, and you have to look after them like you would look after your own hair, and they will last. You can go on my website, and also order extensions and clips if you want to weave them in yourself.”

Your Community Lender

While most of her sales are virtual, she has exhibited at a show organized earlier this year by Styles by SD and was so successful, she sold out. In late October, she took that real-life experience further by booking a booth at the annual Maritimes Natural Hair and Beauty Show at Saint Mary’s University. “It’s a good opportunity to demonstrate how to use my products,” she says.

To find your nearest CBDC visit www.cbdc.ca or call 1-888-303-2232

KaeKoes Kienya Booker 902-489-5239 kaekoes.com

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is pleased to provide financial support to the CBDCs in Atlantic Canada. BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2018

Micah Smith – Relieving Patient Pain By Sharon Ishimwe Photo by Paul Adams Micah Smith exudes a sense of calm and peace that only an old soul can master, which translates nicely to her chosen profession. Oddly, she didn’t start out wanting to be a massage therapist. Born 26 years ago in North Preston, Micah dreamed of being a singer. “When your whole family is musical, it is hard to think of doing anything but music,” explains Micah, whose grandfather Rev. Wallace Smith is the leader of a popular gospel group based in Nova Scotia. Inevitably, Micah pursued music. In fact, she is currently an occasional back-up singer for up-and-coming R & B singer Reeny Smith, also from North Preston. But at the back of her mind, she says she knew she also wanted to help people. With a full scholarship and perfect grades, she initially pursued a career in social work. But soon after enrolling in university, she thought, “I love this. But I want to be more hands-on.” She decided to apply to massage therapy school and that marked the end of her sociology degree. A combination of student loans, singing ‘gigs’ and other part time jobs helped pay for her new scholarly endeavor - massage therapy school. She says her initial classes weren’t quite what she expected. “I thought we were going to rub people’s backs to make them feel better but there we were sitting in a classroom studying skeletons.” She didn’t realise how important anatomy would be to her as a massage therapist. Being a visual learner, and after just a few classes, Micah decided to purchase her own skeleton and an anatomy colouring book. This helped accelerate her learning. Soon after graduating in 2014, Micah was hired as an independent contractor for Massage Addict, a chain of massage clinics in Nova Scotia, where she still works. She has since expanded her knowledge and practice by studying oncology massage at a prestigious institution in Boston. Oncology massage therapy helps to relieve pain for cancer patients. “The difference is you apply less pressure and more hand movement.” Micah’s next venture is to open an ‘at-home’ practice next spring. She credits some of her readiness to the level of professionalism that she has picked up from her current workplace and the support she has received from her community. “I get random texts from people telling me that I am doing well and encouraging me to remain focussed. That keeps me going,” she says. Micah Smith Massage Therapist 902-233-5222



Winter 2018


Building a Road to Economic Prosperity for ANS communities By Carolann Wright, Director of Business & Labour Development for African Nova Scotian Communities, Halifax Partnership

Community Engagement Session

On June 7 & 8th, the Halifax Partnership and the Halifax Regional Municipality’s African Nova Scotian Affairs and Integration Office (ANSAIO) were pleased to come together to present the inaugural Road to Economic Prosperity: A Gathering of ANS Communities and Neighbourhoods in North Preston. The event is part of a collaboration between the Partnership and ANSAIO to better engage and connect with ANS communities, leveraging the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent. The purpose of the gathering was to: 1. Share the current state of the ANS communities; 2. Share promising practices and discuss ways to support one another; 3. Discuss ongoing activities across all levels of government and how these can enhance growth and economic prosperity of the communities; and

4. Begin to develop the Roadmap to Economic Prosperity, an action plan with strategies that will ensure growth and prosperity for black communities and neighbourhoods. The plan will be part of Halifax’s Economic Growth Plan 2016-21. Participants from five communities and two organizations presented on development initiatives in their communities. This is the first time the communities have met from an economic perspective to connect and share their projects, experiences and challenges. It was wonderful to see communities sharing their amazing work with a desire to encourage and support one another. Several recommendations resulted from the gathering, including: • Pinpoint key issues for the communities • Create a think tank to discuss economic development and review data to support decision making BLACK to BUSINESS


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• Explore types of cooperatives, whether they be housing or food, and re-examine their validity in the communities • Maintain awareness that our ancestors did more with less than we currently have, and that we want to honour them and the legacy they’ve left behind • Find a way to have regular conversations about how we’re doing as a people, if we are moving ahead or backward, and how to address that. This is just the beginning. There is more to come, and more work to do to ensure our communities are prosperous in the years to come. For more information on how you can participate in developing the Roadmap to Economic Prosperity, contact carolannwrightp@halifaxpartnership.com.


Marketing creative and strategy – the ingredients to build a great branding story. Formed in 1995, Advocate Creative Group (ACG) is the award-winning creative division of the Advocate group of companies. At the core of their team lies a commitment to not only great creative but understanding and executing a company brand to best present a client’s visual message in any media. ACG is built from creative first. The team members have direct contact with clients depending on the need. With this process, ACG is quite flexible and responsive to create on-the-mark products, doing so on time and within budget. Quotes and proposals are to the point, just like their clean, direct approach to the projects they create. Services include strategic and creative development, graphic design and project management for most forms of online and print communication, website design and development, email promotions, copywriting and editing and strategic marketing advice. They also can provide photography services through their sister division, VisionFire Studios. “In today’s competitive business environment, having a consistent message and brand image running across all of your marketing is key to your success” says Jamie Playfair, Creative Director for ACG. “Having one team develop all your promotional efforts ensures consistency across your advertising, online presence and print materials – ensuring better results.” With the previous issue of Black to Business, ACG has brought their experience to not only reworking the creative look of the magazine - but wanted to go deeper. They were asking the question internally, what kind of clients do we enjoy working with the most? The answer? Small and medium businesses. The opportunity to start with a company or team and be part of their growth and success was where they find the most reward within their craft. That is when ACG reached out to BBI – to look at a different way of promoting their business, while helping BBI clients succeed.

ACG and BBI have created a special grouping of products, with competitive rates and bundles that allow for not only visual design but take advantage of other Advocate group of company divisions, namely print and photography/video. With these packages, when a client uses two of the three tiers of products, they qualify for the savings, as

well as having a team pivot the management of that work through the other divisions, creating a seamless workflow to provide those marketing products and services. For more information or to take advantage of this offer (Expires December 31, 2018), please contact Jamie@acgstudio.com.

Providing opportunities and services that benefit the African Nova Scotian communities and the general society. 1018 Main Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada B2W 4X9 ♥ t.(902) 434-0674 ♥ f.(902) 434-6544 ♥ www.akoma.ca

The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre tells the story of the largest & most influential communities of free Black people in the world outside of Africa from 1783 to 1791 in Nova Scotia.

Museum Hours

June to Mid-October Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm October 16 to May 31 Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 4pm



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Contact Information 119 Old Birchtown Road Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0 Office: (902) 875-1310 Museum: (902) 875-1293 Fax: (902) 875-1352 www.blackloyalist.com

Meet the Board of Directors

Shaquille Smith Shaquille Smith is a native of North Preston who received his Business degree from Acadia University in 2016. Soon after, he quickly landed a full-time position at Colour, a fully integrated digital marketing agency headquartered in Halifax. Using technology, Shaquille services his clients by managing their accounts and helping develop and execute digital media plans and strategies. Shaquille is an active community member as well. He is a Board Director for Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) and Veith House. He is also responsible for leading a $300,000 development project in his home community of North Preston, by securing funding through provincial grants, and financial support from HRM, local McDonald’s owners, and other donations from around the province. Inspired by Shaquille’s personal challenges as a student athlete in university, the project consists of the construction of a new fullsize basketball court in the community, and educational programs tailored to teach kids to use their skills in sports to further their education and jumpstart their professional careers after school. The new basketball court is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019. Shaquille is young, ambitious and determined to give back to communities whenever he can.

Marissa Walter Marissa’s involvement with BIJ began over 15 years ago at a BIJ summer camp in Kentville. Since then, she has completed two terms as a BIJ Summer Youth Coordinator and has volunteered with BIJ for various youth programs. Her firsthand experience as a participant and facilitator of BIJ programming has contributed to her belief in the initiative’s power to educate, inspire, and empower young people. Marissa spent many of her early years as a competitive athlete, playing both soccer and track. As a track athlete, Marissa was a two-time National medalist in the 100 and 200 meters. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Queen’s University in 2013 and subsequently graduated from Dalhousie University’s Corporate Residency MBA Program. Marissa was the first recipient of the BBI-Dalhousie MBA Scholarship. The MBA presented her with many valuable experiences including a corporate role on Bay Street, an exchange semester at Copenhagen Business School, and business development work experience with a local mental health start-up. Marissa remains committed to fostering personal development and resilience in youth. In addition to her volunteer role with the BIJ board, she volunteers with local sports teams to help athletes hone essential mental and emotional skills for peak performance. She also offers workshops on mindfulness and emotional intelligence in elementary schools.



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Meet The Staff

Lydia Phillip

Laurissa Manning Director, Stakeholder & Community Relations

Training & Communications Manager

Laurissa Manning has worked both in the public and private sector. She is a multi-lingual, independent and confident entrepreneur with over 20 years of event management experience. She has successfully owned and ran two companies. She is passionate about building communities through social media and personal interactions. A detail oriented, results- driven, brand development executive adept in managing and implementing high-profile corporate marketing, events and strategies. She is a passionate brand champion that believes in true consumer engagement to build a positive brand experience.

Lydia is passionate about social entrepreneurship as a catalyst for creating social impact and empowering those within marginalized communities. Always having envisioned a career of advocacy and education, Lydia is thrilled to be a part of the Black Business Initiative team as the Training & Communications Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours from Mount Allison University, a private pilot’s license, a glider flight instructor rating, has three academic publications, and was named Enactus Canada’s HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow (Atlantic) in 2017.

Laurissa has a proven track record as a collaborative leader who can motivate, and exceed business directives.

Lydia is also a part-time reservist member of the Canadian Armed Forces and when she is not in the office, she can be found in the air teaching youth how to fly gliders. This past summer, Lydia was the first woman of color to hold the leadership role of “Flight Commander” at the Debert Cadet Flying Training Centre. She oversaw and managed the training of 26 student pilots. She supervised and mentored her staff of 16 to deliver the air training syllabus effectively and efficiently, while maintaining the overall productivity and safety of a flying operation.

She is a highly effective, problem solving, multi-tasking manager with a knack for creating and delivering consistently great client experiences through the planning and execution of internal and external projects, events and presentations. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University and George Washington University. Laurissa has served on several boards including Halifax Grammar School, Banook Canoe Club and Halifast Athletics Club. In 2012, she received the Progress Club Women of Excellence Award.

A creative thinker with unique experiences in research, marketing, and training - Lydia brings a lot of energy, new ideas, and a wide range of skills to the BBI team.

Business is Jammin’ shapes youth into vibrant members of the business community. We work with Black and racially visible minority youth through a range of educational, social, mentorship, and financial support programs to build business acumen and leadership skills. The TD Spark Mentorship Program aims to create a networking, mentorship and leadership training platform for African Nova Scotian and other racially visible minority youth. In partnership with business leaders and the broader community, we will foster an environment where youth are inspired and empowered to create and nurture professional networks to pursue vital opportunities and expand their leadership capabilities. Ages 18-30, must be a visible minority.



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Training Report By Lydia Phillip The Black Business Initiative’s (BBI) Training Department provides free professional training and business development courses to Black and racially visible minority entrepreneurs and employees across the Province. These programs are strategically selected and implemented to build the skills of the participants and to meet the needs of the ever-changing market. These training courses would not be possible without the support of our partners, particularly the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and AWENS - Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia. With the Fall training program in full swing, we were able to offer the following 11-week courses: • Leadership • Foundations to Success • Customer Relationship Management Although the courses are ongoing, we are looking forward to celebrating with the graduates. Information about the BBI Training can be found on our website and other social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ask an Expert Our Fall Training schedule also includes a variety of other activities to engage and support our clients. In September, we piloted the “Expert in Residence” sessions where clients have an opportunity to meet and to consult with professionals who specialize in various fields. We offered open office hours, where people could drop in or call in with any questions they had regarding their business or starting a business. This allowed clients to get professional advice and answers without the hassle and wait of booking an appointment and without having to pay a service fee.

Intake Sessions We invite all persons interested in starting a business, receiving financial assistance or business advice, or any information about the BBI, to attend our free weekly information sessions. We will provide you with information about our organization, our services, and the next steps for starting your business or advancing your business. Intake sessions are held every Thursday afternoon at 2pm at our office located at 1660 Hollis Street, Suite 910, Halifax. If you unable to attend these sessions, we can provide alternative means for you to receive the information.

Winter and Spring Training Courses The following courses will be offered for the Winter and Spring Training sessions. These training courses will take place at the AWENS centre in Halifax, NS. Please contact training@bbi.ns.ca for more information.


Winter Training, beginning in January • • • • •

Advanced Excel Financial Management Business Skills for Growth and Profitability Marketing-Action Plan Training Sales Training for Small Business

Spring Training, beginning in March • • • •

Sage Accounting Wordpress for Small Business Pricing for Small Business Foundations for Success

Graduates of the BBI Metal Fabrication 101 Training Course. BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2018

Regional Report By Rodger Smith In the last quarter, I have had several conversations with potential entrepreneurs with great ideas who are working through their business plans and cash flow projections. In July, Rustum Southwell, Interim CEO and I visited two businesses in metro. The conversations were productive, and we were able to offer suggestions for business success. In September, the Interim CEO, Director of Entrepreneurship, Emma Beukema and I visited three other business owners featuring haircare and hair products business models – all are showing great potential. Congratulations to Tracey Crawley, owner of Crown & Glory Hair Salon, who, in November, celebrated her 10th year as an entrepreneur in the hair salon business. Congratulations also to Dennis and Melissa Mbeba, owners of Delectable Desserts, who recently received a major contract supplying delectable desserts to a business outside of the Halifax-Dartmouth area.

Make an



YOUR PASSION is what drives you out of bed in the morning. You want to make a difference, and you want to see how far you can go. YOUR CAREER needs a solid grounding in practical skills and an understanding of strategy. Choose the MBA and specialize, or pursue a specialty program and get set up for accelerated success. YOUR IMPACT on your community, on your region, and on your field: that’s what makes your family proud. That’s what sets you apart. And your degree from Sobey School is where it starts. Learn more about the Master of Business Administration, Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Master of Finance, Master of Applied Economics, Master of Business Administration (CPA Stream), Master of Management, Co-operatives and Credit Unions, or our suite of executive and professional development programming.


Sobey BBI ad .66 page June 2018.indd 1 2018 BLACK to BUSINESS 27 Winter

6/21/2018 3:43:55 PM


By Ross Simmonds

How to Generate Leads Using Facebook In 2019


GE K Do you have a pricing page? Do you have blog posts about your product? Do you have a page that talks about certain features or benefits delivered to clients? If someone is reading this content on these pages or better yet – they click on something like “buy now” or “contact us” -- it’s likely that they’re the person you want to talk to. So why not increase the likelihood that this happens?

Generating leads on Facebook isn’t impossible. It’s often assumed that Facebook is for fun and nothing more, but in reality, it’s a channel that can be used to generate leads across almost every industry. Whether you’re trying to generate a funnel of leads that are finance professionals, marketers, founders or doctors -- Facebook is a channel that smart brands are using today to generate leads.

With using remarketing, you can have ads appear in front of these people once they leave your site. You can entice them to come back with lead magnets like guides, webinars, instructional content or a simple call to action asking them to get in touch. All these options can work wonders. Here’s a few examples of great remarketing pages:

In this article, I’m going to break down the four most effective ways to generate leads on Facebook in 2019 and beyond.

Use Remarketing Campaigns to Engage Leads

• Pricing Pages

Have you ever looked at a book that interested you on Amazon? Or maybe you found a vintage hat on eBay that caught your eye but you didn’t buy it? Did you ever see an ad for that EXACT product on Facebook, Google or a random site only 2 or 3 hours later? Seems like magic right?

• Check Out Pages

It’s called Remarketing. It’s the process in which a website (like Amazon) adds a little bit of code (cookie) to your browser giving them the ability to show you ads based on your behavior on different sites. Your brand can do the same thing thanks to Facebook’s Pixel capabilities.

• In-App Cancellation Pages


• Product Specific Blog Posts • Feature Specific Blog Posts • Webinar Sign Up Pages


Winter 2018

Add Value to Industry Relevant Facebook Groups

Share Your Lead Generation Content Organically

Over the last few years Facebook Groups have taken off significantly. According to Facebook, there are more than 1 billion people using Facebook Groups every single month to discuss their passions, interests, local events and chat with friends. If you’re on Facebook, it’s very likely that at some point in the last 12 months you’ve received an invitation to join a group or are already in one or two.

This is the most straightforward technique for generating leads on Facebook but it’s often the most underutilized. It’s the idea of taking your lead generation assets and sharing them organically as status updates on your page. Whether it’s a floor plan (real estate) or a PDF about finance (accounting) -- all of these things can generate leads. The people who follow or like your page have already indicated some type of interest in your business by pressing like or follow. It’s likely that these people are exactly who would be interested in downloading the assets you’ve created or attending the webinars you’re putting on to generate more leads.

Facebook groups are a great place for marketers to generate leads and build industry relationships. Inside of these communities you will find people talking about things that interest them, organizing events, providing support to others in their industry and much more.

What Should You Do Next?

This type of dialog is happening in many industries. A simple search on Facebook for your audience’s occupation, industry or topics that might be of interest to them will likely arm you with a handful of groups where your audience gathers.

Generating leads through Facebook isn’t going to be an easy task but it’s certainly something that is feasible. Over the last two years, I’ve been able to generate more than 10,000 emails through the various Facebook marketing efforts I’ve outlined above. Does it take work? No question. But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s feasible. The key is to recognize that while I’ve experimented with tons of different channels and opportunities on Facebook you really only need to double down on one lead generation tactic to succeed. So pick one… Embrace it… And start generating leads.



Winter 2018

Ask The BBI

Staff contributed

BBI Problem Solving What are key factors to consider when creating an innovative product or service? What is the pain-point you are trying to solve? Most businesses are created from the discovery of an innovative way to solve a key issue or concern. You first need to identify a key issue that people are facing or that a group has identified a need for a resolution. Identification is essential, as it will be the key to how to sell your solution and how you tell the story to your customers.

How is the problem being solved today? When trying to find a solution to a problem you need to look at how the problem is currently being solved. This will help you identify what market leaders are doing in solving the problem but more importantly: What can you do that will make your product or service better or how can you be different. You will need to show what your value proposition is. Questioning what other problems your customers face, that aren’t getting solved, will also help in identifying opportunities you may not have considered.

BBI Out and About

What is the size of the market? The size of the market is key in determining if you’ll proceed with the innovation. We recently attended a Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) session as a guest. CDL helps innovators transition from science projects to high-growth companies. They help companies transition from pre-seed to seed-stage funding. In the session, questions mentors attending the program kept asking program participants were: what is the size of the market and what was the customer identification process? BBI also asks what the customer discovery process has been. This customer discovery process should include talking to as many customers as possible and as a result iterating the product or service. This would provide validation and can show that you’ve tested the market and identified that there is a need for the solution that you are offering. Identifying the size of market should be your go or no go to determine if you’ll proceed with the business idea. It is also a key factor many funders including the BBI look at before funding a business idea. Understanding the size of the market short term and long term determines the feasibility of the business. Funders also want to understand what the go to market strategy is and consider what is the shortest path to the customer? Lastly in a global market companies should also ask what other markets could we sell our products / services in?

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ISANS Business Marketplace Your guide to immigrant businesses

Find a business. Feature a business.

marketplace.isans.ca BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2018

This past year BBI spent a lot of time meeting with community, stakeholders and having fun! The BIJ Golf Tournament, held at Granite Springs on September 14, 2018 was a huge success!

Role Models on the Road

Role Models on the Road, an initiative of Business Is Jammin' (BIJ), is a volunteer-based program that serves to encourage Black and racially visible minority youth in Nova Scotia to create a strong vision for their future and to set measurable goals to achieve it - while furthering their education. The program aims to encourage and support skills development, to impart knowledge and appropriate behaviors, and to boost the confidence and self-motivation of participants.

The Role Models

Through a panel of role models, the program engages junior high and high school students in topics such as: Choosing the right career path, maintaining their work-life balance, entrepreneurship, and other topics that are vital to youth building their futures. Past role models and youth participants have consistently attested to the positive impact of the program in their lives.


Education and Entrepreneurship

The youth are encouraged to continue in their pursuit of education, as well as the pursuit of their dreams, including the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur. This is achieved by introducing and connecting them to positive role models within the Black community, with a hope that they, themselves, will become role models in their own communities.

Hill.Ashley@bbi.ns.ca BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2018


We are currently looking to partner with organizations in making this phase of the program a success. Opportunities of partnership could include hosting Role Models on the Road sessions and providing participants and role models for the program. Please contact us if you would like to get involved!


RBC iCode+ The RBC iCode+ is a program of Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) that teaches coding to youth ages 15 – 19 in African Nova Scotian and minority communities, including First Nations. The program is designed to engage learners with hands-on coding exercises, introducing them to the use of open-source software and hardware to code robots and manipulating data through Microsoft Excel programming. The program modules and activities are designed to be appealing to youth. The program aims to, among other things, expose youth to computer coding and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in general, encouraging them to participate in higher education and equipping them for the possibility of gaining employment or pursuing entrepreneurship in STEM. The program will run 6-8 week modules that take participants from coding fundamentals to high level coding.

Business Is Jammin’ works with a network of partners to deliver the RBC iCode+, including institutions of higher learning, public libraries and corporations. The network will be essential in the recruitment of participants and facilitators and mentors. The wide library network has a wide reach into the target communities. Universities and other public institutions will act as a conduit for the expertise and resources required to run the program.

The objectives of the RBC iCode+ program are as follows: a. T each coding to youth ages 15 – 19 in African Nova Scotian and minority communities, including First Nations, with the intention to build their minds, knowledge and skills while encouraging participation in higher education and equipping them for the possibility of gaining employment or pursuing entrepreneurship in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Dalhousie University’s Imhotep Legacy Academy (ILA) is a key delivery partner for RBC iCode+. ILA is an innovative university-community partnership that uniquely mobilizes university/college students, faculty and community leaders to help improve student success and bridge the achievement gap for Grades 7 – 12 Black students in Nova Scotia. ILA provides its participants with an enriching blend of real-world learning projects, skill-building and leadership development activities as well as tutoring support. Operating in half of Nova Scotia’s regional school boards, ILA trains and supports university/college students to play powerful roles in the lives of its participants through the building of selfconfidence, self-discipline and the mastery of concepts related to STEM. Both organizations have the human resources and expertise to deliver this program. Facilitators and mentors are hired from the local STEM student population. The program has already been successful run in two locations with 20 participants registered at the start.

b. C lose the technology gap that exists between various Black and minority communities, including First Nations, and other sectors by making available to them, the necessary technology, know-how and hands-on experience to enable learning. This will result in the provision and development of technological infrastructure in the communities as the program will be delivered right in those communities. c. P articipants will be given an opportunity to explore various high demand professions and careers in fields that are generally considered out of reach and non-traditional to the target demographic. Through a partnership with Imhotep’s Legacy Academy and Dalhousie University, youth will have an opportunity to explore the various academic options in each area.

Business Is Jammin’ is committed to empowering youth to take charge of their own futures by giving them access to opportunities that they ordinarily wouldn’t have access to. This and other programs are part of the greater initiative to grow the participation of Black and minority individuals in non-traditional sectors (in their context) such as STEM-based career fields. We have similar initiatives that are currently underway that are focused on encouraging youth to explore careers in engineering, architecture and planning, oceans and environmental sciences. BLACK to BUSINESS

d. I ncreasing the number of individuals from Black and visible minority communities, including First Nations, that are pursuing and graduating from higher education, particularly in STEM, resulting in a decrease in the graduation gap between these communities and the general population.


Winter 2018


The audacity to dream big

Community gardens establish deep roots in African Nova Scotian communities By Nicole Brooks de Gier For many students, finishing up the last exam tolls the proverbial bell of summer. Summer means time with friends, catching up on sleep, and a few months of carefree living. For Hope Blooms graduates Boca and Mamadou Wade and Kolawale-Bobeye it means rolling up their sleeves, literally, and stepping back into the garden. Brothers Boca and Mamadou Wade grew up in the Hope Blooms program, Kolawale-Bobeye too. He considers the brothers to be his friends, role models and direct competition. “I’m the youngest of the three,” he said. “And if they’re going to university I had to make sure that I was going to university, too. They’re [my] push.” The recent high school graduate now attends St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. A younger version of Bobeye can be found pictured in the garden on the Hope Blooms website homepage. “I’ve been anxious to go to university and further my education. I spent all of Grade 12 working hard. I didn’t want to take a year off, I knew my path,” explains Bobeye. “Getting in was a big, happy moment.” Hope Blooms, founded in 2008 with the intention to foster food security in North End Halifax, NS, has seen its roots grow deep and now there is a new generation of young people who are actively engaged in university, social enterprise and entrepreneurship. Mamadou and Boca Wade are likely the most well-known Hope Blooms kids and now attend University of Toronto and Stanford University, respectively. “When Boca got into Stanford, I knew I really needed to get into university,” jokes Bobeye. The three friends were spending their summer back at Hope Blooms helping the younger members establish two new social enterprises. A tea brand called “Possibili-Teas” and a lemonade venture. “The youth do it all and my role is guidance and mentorship,” explained Boca, “whether it’s helping them with photoshop and labels, contacting suppliers, or creating the [brand] story and values.”

For his brother, Boca, the Stanford computer science student, it’s about bringing his Hope Blooms experience to California and his learnings in Silicon Valley back to Halifax to inspire the next generation. “Sharing those experiences is really valuable. Hope Blooms provides a lot of opportunities: whether its public speaking or leadership. By selling at the market or becoming master gardeners, those things helped us not only in the classroom but [also in] how we interact and see ourselves in the world and really opened our minds to what is possible,” he said. Building on the success of Hope Blooms, the Black Business Initiative’s Business is Jammin’ has partnered with United Way Halifax to establish a new community garden project on land owned by the Akoma Family Centre, near the communities of North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook in Dartmouth, NS. This purpose-driven new project inspires a different cohort of local African Nova Scotian youth aged eight to 18 to engage in social enterprise and entrepreneurship. Laurissa Manning, BBI Director of Stakeholder and Community Relations, describes the program as an opportunity to engage a new stream of youth in farming by introducing them to the planting, growing and selling of food and the professions that arise from agriculture.

He goes on to explain the lemonade business is a way to engage the youngest Hope Blooms participants in a business venture.

The Business is Jammin’ Community Garden Project began in 2017 and is anticipated to further expand in the 2019 growing season.

“It’s awesome. Getting the entrepreneurship spirit at a young age is important because getting those values in place starts really young and as they grow they can grow [that spirit] into more complex businesses.”

“Re-engaging youth in agriculture can be a double-win: it is vital for the sustainability of the food systems and it can help addressing the issues of youth unemployment, poverty and out-migration,” said Manning. “The Preston-area was historically farmed, and this land still lies within families but is not being used. If we can connect our youth back to their land, we can help them grow economic security.”

Mamadou’s main responsibility over the summer was working to establish the Hope Blooms’ legacy. “Right now, we’re working on a Hope Blooms book that is a reflection with a lot of personal stories of different people in our community and program and their perspectives,” he said. “We’re also trying to establish a Hope Blooms alumni so the older kids and younger kids will have a network for advice and for mentorship.”

Mamadou’s impression of his time with Hope Blooms reinforces Manning’s goals for the new Business is Jammin’ project, “We come from a community with so many stigmas and stereotypes so for us to excel in the classroom and to also give back to our community is a great combination,” he said. “Because of Hope Blooms we have the audacity to dream big.”

While Mamadou worked to establish formal documentation of the Hope Blooms legacy, the legacy embodied in the trio strives to make a lasting impact in their communities and around the world. BLACK to BUSINESS

“We’re all originally from Africa – we’re from Senegal and Kolade’s from Nigeria – I’d love to do something back home with health care” said Mamodou. “We all want to establish other social enterprises and for me, I’d like to have my own business with a social impact with food hubs or own my own restaurant.”


Winter 2018

BIJ Program Business is Jammin’

Community Garden

Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) partnered with United Way Halifax to organize and run a Community Garden Project (CGP) that aimed to empower African Nova Scotian youth between the ages of 8 and 18 through social entrepreneurship/ enterprise. Under United Way’s Neighborhood strategy, BIJ invested in a CGP project to increase opportunities for youth to participate in the community, provide ways to empower/engage the community of all ages and to have youth believe that they have the power within themselves to create a brighter reality for themselves, and for others. BIJ is planning for future garden projects in the city; the community garden project will help youth start community social enterprises and empower them to seek out future career choices through education and a practical ‘hands on’ approach to growing and operating a small local business. It will also foster a grassroot generosity approach to philanthropy, where youth feel empowered to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. This project will engage community in growing the garden, and in teaching youth about planting a garden, sustaining it, sharing the harvest and celebrating community. The entrepreneurial component will also allow youth to develop their own products, create business plans, market fresh goods and earn an income from their investment. Summer 2018 visit to Dalhousie Agriculture Campus

Our March Break Camp is back in 2019! March 18-22

Free | Limited registration | Halifax, NS | NEW Amherst, NS Camp, 2019 | This free week-long business camp focuses on leadership and entrepreneurship through education and personal development, while in an energetic and interactive environment. Youth will explore how their passions can become innovative business ideas. The campers will then go through the entrepreneurial process, run their own business for a day AND at the end of the week they will participate in "Pitch It" - where teams will present their businesses to a panel!

Registration opens: January 2019! For more information, please contact: Hill.Ashley@bbi.ns.ca 902-476-9764 | www.BusinessIsJammin.ca



Winter 2018

on stage jan 22 - feb 10, 2019 An exploration of faith, family and forgiveness. The Bridge explores the complexities of a relationship between two brothers strained over 20 years of secrecy, sin and shame. Secrets are revealed one by one from the brothers themselves, as well as a trio of community gossips who provide the musical backdrop for this gospel - infused tale.

Richard Chevolleau and Emerjade Simms | Photo by Stoo Metz

9th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

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