B2B Magazine Winter 2021_issue 72

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A proud supporter of local business owners.

At Rogers, we believe in providing Halifax businesses with a network experience that empowers them to make more possible. Rogers has invested in building a truly national wireless network that is the most trusted and relied upon by Canadians.* Our resilient nationwide network includes 76,000 km of robust fibre-optic routes and connections to key network access points in the U.S. and overseas. We’re enhancing and expanding this network across eastern Canada, allowing us to connect more businesses than ever. What’s impossible today won’t be tomorrow, with tailored business solutions from Rogers .

For more information visit us at: rogers.com/business or call 1-844-676 6513

* Most reliable based on umlaut performance benchmark audit of Canadian mobile networks, June, 2020 © 2020 Rogers Communications

Black to Business 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: Sharon Ishimwe Sales Manager: Linda Gourlay Creative Director: Jamie Playfair Art Director: Mike Cugno

Contents WINTER 2021

Message from the Board of Directors


Message from the CEO




TRAILBLAZERS – Community Impact Alexi Rodriguez


LaMeia Reddick


Bridget Williams



Graphic Designer: Barbara Raymont

Geek Speak


Production Coordinator: Shawn Dalton

Black Wellness Co-operative Nova Scotia


Entrepreneur Tool Kit


Cover Illustration: Bria Miller @encouraginghonesty 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


BUSINESS COMMUNITY PROFILES Troy Lawrence – Honey Bee’s Ice Cream Parlour 23 Tracey Crawley – Crown & Glory


Jordan Anderson – Youth Entrepreneur


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BBI NEWS Partner Showcase – MacPhee Centre


Partner Showcase – Volta Labs


Regional Report


Special News


Meet the Board


Meet the Staff


BIJ Report – Winter 2020


Ask the BBI


Training Report



CORRECTION Contrary to the byline published in the last issue (Issue 71) of this magazine, the article “Turbocharging Young Leaders into a Future of Excellent Leadership” was written by Wanda Taylor. B2B Magazine regrets the error.


On the cover: Illustration by

Black to Business WINTER 2021 / Issue 72



Winter 2021

Bria Miller @encouraginghonesty

BBI News

Message from the Board of Directors Furthermore, the federal government announced the Black Entrepreneurship Program with the goal of assisting Blackowned businesses with resources, funding, expanded networks, and connections. This $221 million dollar program will help economically empower Black Canadian businesses. I am extremely proud of the BBI’s role in voicing the need for this type of program and continuously advocating for Black entrepreneurs.

For 25 years, the Black Business Initiative has been driving growth and prosperity in the Black business community. I have said before that the longevity of this organization is a testament to the leadership and dedication of the staff and board, as well as the need for this type of specialized service in Nova Scotia. This year is an important milestone as the BBI celebrates 25 years of changing lives by enabling economic independence.

In addition, the Government of Canada announced funding of $15 million for 85 anti-racism projects across Canada. One of these projects is the Diversity Employment Network (DEN). An initiative of the Black Business Consulting, DEN will address the very high prevalence of unemployment, under-employment, low income and poverty within the African Nova Scotian (ANS) community, specifically the challenges accessing higher quality jobs due to discrimination, perceived or real, and a lack of diversity in most workplaces and Boards of Directors. This work is made possible with the support from the Federal Governments’ “Action Against Racism Program.

It has been a pleasure and an honor serving as board chair and ultimately, serving my community. It is with huge pride and gratitude that I say thank you and look forward to moving to the next stage as Past Chair as we welcome the new Chair Joseph Parris, who has long been with the organization. It is with great excitement that we also welcome three new board members, Kenny Duncan, Andrew de Freitas, and Margot Hampden. I am positive that their experience and professionalism will be beneficial to BBI.

I would like to commend the staff and the board for their leadership. Through a challenging year, all of these successes would not have been possible without the work of the dedicated BBI team, my fellow board and executive members, the members of the Black business community at large, and our public and private sector partners. I feel a great sense of accomplishment after a year like we have had and I am looking forward to the continued success through the organization’s 25th year and beyond.

BBI has continued to build on the past years’ momentum despite the challenges that this year has presented. We have just concluded the first call for proposals for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI). This Canada-wide initiative through the Social Development Partnerships Program of Employment and Social Development Canada is giving us the opportunity to build capacity nationally through helping address the needs of Black grassroots or nonprofit organizations. We’re expanding our reach through this key partnership with the federal government’s intermediary funding model. It is an opportunity for BBI to use our expertise to develop a funnel to assist Canadian Black organizations navigate the funding provided by the government. The next call for proposals is scheduled to commence in Fall 2021.


Respectfully, Carlo Simmons, Chair


Winter 2021

Message from the CEO ARE WE THERE YET?

fisheries reminded me of her own challenges dealing with the predominantly white male fishing establishment. They were not ready for a strong Black businesswoman in their midst. I recall her applauding BBI publicly for supporting and “helping” her. I do not think she knew or realized just how good she was.

At midnight December 31, 2020, there was a collective sigh heard around the world. We hoped that as we crossed into the new year, the heavy burden that we faced during 2020 with COVID-19, and the elevation of violent anti-Black racism would all disappear suddenly. Of course, that didn’t happen. It took time to get here and it will take time to get back to some normalcy.

Grace will always be fondly remembered by BBI. I recall, even as she became an extremely sought-after keynote speaker, coach, mentor, and counsel to others, she still always had time for us. The last time she presented at a BBI summit, I had said in my vote of thanks, “I am not sure if I was in a Boardroom or a Cathedral.” She was that good a spiritual soul and that is the memory of her I will cherish forever.

2021 is special to BBI because it is our 25th Anniversary. A significant milestone of boldness, ambition, strong vision, and strategy for change in business and economic development.

So much has happened in 2020. We now know that COVID-19 is a critical health crisis with a catastrophic global economic impact. Every aspect of our lives is impacted by this pandemic and the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities is significantly amplified in Black communities. This was made worse by the devastating and heinous murder of George Floyd. We are still trying to recover, and yes, the recovery will take time.

We take great pride in the roadmap created by the BBI Task Force and passed on to us to implement in 1996. The five-member Task Force of the BBI, Grace White, Dolly Williams, Joan Jones, Tony Ross, and John Madison were pleased to table the report to the Ministers of the Economic Renewal Agency and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, dated, August 31, 1995.

The pandemic will disproportionately affect Black-owned small businesses for two critical reasons: they tend to face underlying issues that make it harder to operate and scale successfully; and they are more likely to be concentrated in industries most immediately affected such as accommodation, food services, personal services, and retail. Here is how you can help:

Sadly, 2020 took Grace White, the Chair of the Task Force, from us. We are still struggling with the very sad news and reflecting on how she would feel now about the initiative she helped to design, develop, and implement.

Become a supporter of the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) whose vision is to combat anti-Black racism in Canada in response to the direct and systemic racism that has faced Black people in Canada since 1629, when six-year-old Olivier Le Jeune was brought to New France as a slave on a British ship.

Grace immigrated to Nova Scotia from Jamaica in the early 1970s and attended Saint Mary’s University. Our paths crossed one day while playing tennis at SMU and we became lifelong friends.

The new federal Black Entrepreneurship Program is a $221-million program designed to enable more Black entrepreneurs and businesses to successfully participate in the Canadian economy. This innovative program will provide the necessary tools, supports, loans and business connections to ensure a better percentage of Black-owned businesses thrive. The BBI is one of the organizations that advocated for this support and hope to play a significant role in the program.

She was the consummate businesswoman and a true entrepreneur. If you spent time in her company, under her spell, you would always be in awe of her drive, ambition, and work ethic. Our paths would cross at different stages from time to time over the years. She was my insurance consultant, and was very good at it; a no-nonsense businessperson whose counsel and guidance was always helpful. Although she led the Task Force that launched BBI, she demanded excellence and was not easy on us. During the community consultations, she wanted the very best for the Nova Scotian Black community and went to great pains to get it right. She wanted us to be “vibrant and dynamic” in every way.

To learn more about the Black Opportunity Fund, visit, blackopportunityfund.ca A luta continua. Respectfully,

She was a successful and highly accomplished business owner, who won many accolades and awards as one of the foremost Black and female businesspersons in all of Canada. Her company Canjam Trading was a powerhouse fishery and food wholesale business. The recent tension in the South Shore


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


Winter 2021

Located in the North End of Halifax, Gottingen Street holds fascinating stories and secrets about its history, its people, and its drastic transformations. This traditional Mi’kmaq Indigenous territory was originally settled by the British military in 1749. As the area evolved and changed, working-class Black and white people became its face and culture. Sections, like the historically Black population that makes up Uniacke Square, prided themselves on community spirit and Black entrepreneurship. As those small Black businesses disappeared and the area eventually became gentrified, its people felt that sense of community slipping away. To add to that, many Black small business owners felt they were being pushed out.

By Wanda Taylor Illustrations by Bria Miller Photography by Amanda Carvery Taylor

But a casual conversation about the old days would lead to Takin’ BLK Gottingen, one of the area’s most successful summer efforts at revitalizing that spirit of community and Black entrepreneurship (NEBA). The faces behind the organization of this initiative are Michelle Strum, Bria Miller, Kordeena Clayton, and Marika Paris. “Takin’ BLK Gottingen was birthed organically and quickly,” artist and business owner Bria said. “I was at Michelle’s [home] in July sitting on her lawn and we were talking about gentrification, how much it has changed Gottingen Street and the North End of Halifax, and how it has pushed out Black businesses and residents who historically lived in the area.” Michelle, owner of Alterego’s, then connected with Kordeena, an artist and the owner of She Nubian Liberation. Kordeena also works in Program Development at the North End Parent Resource Centre. She had existing partnerships with a few dozen Black vendors and had organized some vendors’ markets in the past. She, too, felt many entrepreneurs in the area had suffered as a result of gentrification. “Gottingen Street used to thrive with Black-owned businesses until other people started taking interest in what we created – those vibes that radiated along the street. They wanted to join us. Make it hip, high-end, and urban – to the point that they pushed us out,” Kordeena said. Takin’ BLK Gottingen is a play on words. Kordeena came up with the name as a symbol of the group’s efforts to restore Black



Winter 2021

entrepreneurship, its presence, and vitality along Gottingen Street. The summer event would bring Black vendors together with existing predominantly whiteowned establishments in the area. Vendors would receive an allotted time and space to sell their products in these establishments. Kordeena was in charge of outreach to the Black vendors. Bria was responsible for graphics such as posters and messaging. Michelle was tasked with reaching out to the mainstream establishments on Gottingen Street to see if they would partner by sharing space with the vendors. Instead, Michelle reached out to Marika from the North End Business Association. It was an important move, as Marika mobilized resources such as funding and promotion, and was able to use her established connections within the business community through NEBA.

TRev Clothing Silver, owner of ABOVE: Trevor 2 Bad Publicity 90 Lorde, owner of BELOW: Ashley

Bria, who talked about how her grandparents used to share stories of their visits to Black-owned clubs and shops along Gottingen Street, said she and Michelle discussed the potential of such an event. “We agreed that it would be incredibly beneficial and powerful to see Gottingen Street reinvigorated by Black business owners. As soon as we said it out loud, we felt something special and got excited.” News of the event quickly spread. Media outlets covered it, and word-of-mouth helped build excitement. Marika received a lot of positive feedback from the businesses in the area willing to partner for the event. She matched business owners with the vendors who held their pop-up shops during the July event. The vendors sold everything from artwork to food to novelties. Some of them were set up in a section of the business, others in the storefront window, and some right outside of the business. By the end of the event, all vendors had sold out – or were close to it. One of the partnerships was a match between Vandal Donuts and

Gottingen Street used to thrive with Black-owned businesses until other people started taking interest in what we created – those vibes that radiated along the street. They wanted to join us. Make it hip, high-end, and urban – to the point that they pushed us out. – Kordeena BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021

I have loved working with these women, how organically this all has grown from an idea that really came from intuition and the heart. I’m so excited for what’s to come and excited for us to succeed and support each other.

– Bria Miller

vendor Carlette Gray of Carlette’s Pop Up Shop who sold chocolate-covered strawberries. Vandal Donuts decided to infuse some donuts with Carlette’s products, and the creation was a huge hit with customers. The market turned out to be so successful that the women held a second market event in August and a third in September. Each event saw an increase in businesses and vendors all wanting to be involved. That included a request from a business in New Brunswick wanting to get in on the action. Kordeena recalled being shocked but pleased by the event’s positive reach to another province. The market also provided opportunities for increased exposure for artists. The Nova Scotia Art Gallery reached out to the group to inquire about the visual and print artists for a potential collaboration. With each event, the partnership’s potential increased.

ty 902’s pop up s at Bad Publici Crowd of vendor

“I had discussions with other businesses, and I have been exploring possible partnerships, like BBI mixers for vendors that could focus on branding and growing social media platforms,” Marika said. The group was mindful that the events were taking place during a pandemic, so they had to incorporate that reality into their planning. “We made sure to include COVID information in our promotions. And even before masks were mandated, we included in our marketing that it was mandatory to wear a mask while shopping the market.” Bria said. The group also made sure proper precautions were being taken by businesses to ensure the safety of customers and vendors. Besides the excitement around restoring the vitality of the community, COVID fatigue may have also been a draw for customers. “The feedback that was given to me was how much we needed something like this, how nice it was to be able to go out and support

ls & Kings Natura owner of Queens Tanika Bundy,



Winter 2021

and mingle with everyone. COVID has made it hard on all of us when it comes to in-person interactions, and the market got a lot of people out and within the COVID protocols. It was a safe way to find some sort of normalcy,” Kordeena said.

g Gifts & Marketin Sankofa Afrikan

The future looks bright for Takin’ BLK Gottingen. The group is planning a winter market, and have been discussing the possibility of expanding to other communities. They want to keep the market grassroots and continue building partnerships as they grow. Much of their success goes back to the history of Gottingen Street, and the sense of community that may not have been lost after all, but perhaps locked away. Another part of their success is the way they work together as a group. “I have loved working with these women, how organically this all has grown from an idea that really came from intuition and the heart. I’m so excited for what’s to come and excited for us to succeed and support each other.” Bria said. This talented group of women had a vision. They put their skills into action and they realized that vision. The results were more than they had ever imagined. As a team, they brought enthusiasm and excitement to Gottingen Street, opened up opportunities for Black vendors, and capitalized on the resources of businesses eager to jump on board. With these wonderful accomplishments under their belt, there’s no telling what lies in store for these women, and for Takin’ BLK Gottingen. ch e, owner of Chur ufassa Mononok ABOVE: Kiki M fts & Marketing nkofa Afrikan Gi Sa of r ne ow , ette Hamilton BELOW: Bernad



Winter 2021

Trailblazers: Community Impact

Alex Rodriguez Photography contributed

By Feleshia Chandler

Outdoor enthusiast and founder of Different Strokes Paddling Program, Alexi Rodriguez never saw people of colour engaging in water sports like kayaking or canoeing when he was young and always wondered why. Now he aims to change that lack of representation with his recently launched paddling program.

Rodriguez says outdoor activities have helped him a lot so maybe they can help others deal with issues they may be experiencing too, the same way they did for him.

After Rodriquez took the outdoor adventure program at Algonquin College in Ontario, it became even more apparent to him that people of colour were absent from the outdoor activity scene. He decided to do something about it. Rodriquez started a GoFundMe fundraiser, and his Different Strokes Paddling Program was born.

He started the Different Strokes Paddling Program last July offering free kayaking one-hour beginner lessons to young people of colour. He also offered to help kids hone outdoor skills they already had. Since starting the program he has taken over 25 people paddling, and he says one of the most rewarding parts of his job is “taking someone for the first time, especially if they are nervous around water, and seeing them become empowered and take charge.”

“It’s done a lot of good in my life. Growing up I had a fair amount of issues with the justice system and addiction and stuff like that.”

“When I go for outdoor activities, whether it’s mountain biking or kayaking, skiing or snowboarding, most of the people I see out there are white. The majority of people who can access these activities are well off. They’re not cheap sports. There are barriers there for sure.”

Rodriquez is working on obtaining funding. “I’m currently working on getting some grants so I can properly form this organization and start things like swimming lessons and field trips and [get] new equipment.”

Rodriquez hopes to show people of colour that not being able to engage in these activities growing up or not seeing people that looked like them participating, does not mean that the activities are not for them.

He hopes to someday expand the organization and train mentors across different communities to get Black and Indigenous communities more involved in outdoor activities.

“We’re so blessed there are different outdoor activities here in Nova Scotia but obviously they are only serving specific populations so my goal is to help open the doors to people that look like me and make the outdoors more accepting [to them].”


“I think the biggest thing for me since the numbers aren’t steep yet is just that representation,” he says. “Just putting those images out there for people to see, has probably had the biggest impact.” 10

Winter 2021

LaMeia Reddick Photography contributed LaMeia Reddick – community engagement consultant, founder of KINnected Leadership consulting firm, artist, and community advocate is creating a safe space for Black youth and young professionals in North Preston. She is doing this work out of BLXCK HOUSE Life Studio, a split-level house she purchased with her mother. “By trade, I’m a facilitator so I often pop up in other peoples’ spaces but I wanted to have my own space,” says Reddick. “So, my mom and I bought the house together with the intention of allowing me to grow my skills and my work.” The “X” in BLXCK HOUSE represents the interchangeable title of Block House and Black House. Block comes from the fact that the house is located on the North Preston “block” meaning a familiar place where everyone hangs out or where people were raised and Black of course stemming from Black pride and Black love. What started out for Reddick as a place to host organization-related events and a place to hone her own skills eventually became a place she wanted to share and offer to others – thus BLXCK HOUSE Life Studio was born. “I do a lot of mentorship and development with young people, young entrepreneurs through BLXCK HOUSE,” says Reddick. Since first establishing BLXCK HOUSE in 2015, Reddick has hosted many events in the house, saying she is really proud of what BLXCK HOUSE has been able to achieve. One event she was particularly proud of was an art workshop for adults which she held in partnership with the Association of Black Social Workers and with the help of counselor, social worker, and social justice advocate Rajean Willis. “We were able to invite an intergenerational group of people to explore art as a healing tool,” says Reddick. Reddick adds it’s been beautiful to see how BLXCK HOUSE has affected the lives of local kids. “We really try to curate the experience for them so when they leave feeling very happy and excited that they had an experience that was different, I get really happy because they don’t have access to things that some other kids in the city do,” says Reddick. Recently, Reddick was able to raise enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to build an addition onto the house so kids can have somewhere quiet to work and eat.

LaMeia Reddick is creating a safe space for Black youth and young professionals in North Preston. She’s doing it out of a split-level house purchased by

“We just built a homework café outback,” says Reddick. The homework café was a partnership with Eyes for the Job, a Nova Scotian reality television show. As of right now, Reddick says the spaces are a bit separated. The basement area is renovated to be more kid-centric and the upstairs is more of Reddick’s personal living space and an area for young professionals.

her and her mother, which she calls BLXCK HOUSE Life Studio.

As for what’s next for BLXCK HOUSE, Reddick and her mother are constantly looking for event ideas and new ways to add to the BLXCK HOUSE experience saying she hopes this space will become a source of empowerment for the community. “Through that empowerment, we will see a whole bunch of other beautiful things happen,” says Reddick. “We are empowered people and there’s really nothing that we can’t do if we really put our minds to it. So, I hope people will see that through what my mom and I have been able to do.”



Winter 2021


Bridget Williams Photography contributed Author, community advocate, and stage four cancer survivor Bridget Williams always knew she wanted to help people. So, when she had the chance to help those devastated by the financial effects of COVID-19 she was more than happy to do it. Recently, through her business Adjusting Your Lifestyle she organized an event titled, It Takes a Village Backpack Drive. “We are here for a purpose and that purpose for me, is to help others – the less fortunate,” she says. Williams, who has written numerous books about bettering one’s finances and has worked with various non-profit organizations, saw how children and teens were affected by the financial impacts of COVID. “I work for the school board and I see kids coming in without food and school supplies.” It Takes a Village Backpack Drive collected school supplies and backpacks in Nova Scotia and Toronto to help marginalized students. Executed with the help of volunteers from different walks of life including counselors, students, executive directors, and so on, the drive helped over 280 students across the province and over 40 schools throughout Nova Scotia and Toronto. “People appreciate what you do but this wasn’t about me. It was about helping the children because sometimes they get left out.” The drive was successful as it provided supplies to numerous students but Williams believes the impact was far more reaching and that such events are important for communities. “They show community outreach and a sense of caring.” Williams says she is currently working on more events but she won’t say what they are just yet. One thing is for sure: She doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “You just don’t know what’s coming. There are always surprises.” And even though times may seem grim right now amidst a pandemic and widespread racial tension, Williams says she turns to her faith and above all else tries her best not to be consumed by these things. “The thing is, we can’t hide our talents and our abilities,” she says, adding that we should use them to create a better world for ourselves and others. BLACK to BUSINESS


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The MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning If one happens to miss the blue and purple building situated on Queen Street in Downtown Dartmouth, their senses will quickly alert them of where they are by the sounds of laughter and music that echo through the walls of the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning - not to mention the smell of fresh baked goods offered as a snack in programs.

the volunteers at the Take Action Society in Dartmouth North. One partnership that is continuously celebrated lies in MacPhee’s work with Business is Jammin’ (BIJ).

Most recently, the Centre partnered with BIJ to host a Community Youth Art Project where Black and African Nova Scotian youth worked with a team of local artists to conceptualize and design an art piece that was brought to realization through a community mural at the Akoma Community Garden. One of the youth participants, Abena, shared what it meant to be part of the project: “I love being part of this project because it is something I am good at and being around art is really exciting. I also get to be around people I can relate to.” MacPhee, along with BIJ centers on the importance of education and personal development in their programs and through this project supported the empowerment of Black and African Nova Scotian youth in using art to express themselves and take action in their communities.

Founded in 2009 as a non-profit training centre for youth who were not finding success in the traditional learning environment and were at risk of dropping out, the MacPhee Centre offered youth-led programs to ensure youth in the community graduated from high school. Since then, the organization has evolved to offer free creative learning programming to youth between the ages of 12-19, Monday through Friday at the centre, online, and in the community. With the help of local artists, community volunteers, and a staff team that is dedicated to putting the needs and voices of youth first, the MacPhee Centre ensures that youth are at the heart of each decision made.

The partnership between MacPhee and BIJ is ongoing and exciting opportunities for collaborative programming and community development are endless. For more information about the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, you can email katie@macpheecentre.ca, call (902) 469-2851, or visit our website at www.macpheecentre.ca or MacPhee Centre on social media.

A glance into the windows showcases a multitude of creative projects ranging from painting to comic illustration, to creative writing, to mobile photography, and even the formation of a band. One can find inspiration in the surrounding art, the conversations that are held, and how the youth show up day-today to build a world filled with acceptance, love, and understanding. What first began as a space to engage with creativity, has become an intersectional space that works to support the entire youth using creativity as a vehicle. It is a place where youth can be any version of themselves and explore what it means to be a leader in their community. This sense of community exceeds the walls of 50 Queen Street and is held in partnership with the IWK, HRCE, and over 50 community organizations including the YMCA, Demetreous Lane Community Centre, and BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021


By Ross Simmonds




Content marketing is often assumed to simply be the development of content. Marketers often assume that their job is done after they press publish on a new YouTube video, podcast episode, blog post, or new lead magnet. In reality, content marketing is the consistent act of both creation and distribution of content. One of the best ways to distribute content that is often overlooked is the power of a content marketing remix. But before we jump into the power of the remix you need to understand it’s role in the marketing mix. Content remixing is a part of a content distribution strategy.


Winter 2021

What is a content distribution strategy?

Here’s what most marketers overlook:

A content distribution strategy is a strategic document that an organization creates to guide its marketing efforts for promoting posts, ebooks, resources, and other content assets. And I’m a firm believer that the act of content distribution is STILL one of the most underrated & under invested areas of digital marketing.

After creating content for a few months (or even years) you start to build up a reserve of valuable content. Over time, you shouldn’t limit these stories to a single format; instead, you should diversify their format by remixing them into new formats for new channels.

Many marketers will spend 20 hours to create a masterpiece and spend 20 minutes to promote it. Then they’re left wondering: Hmm… Why didn’t that take off? Distribution folks. Embrace it! The opportunities that exist for content distribution are broad. There are literally hundreds of ways to distribute your content. But one way to distribute your content that takes inspiration from the wonderful world of Hip Hop is the power of creating remixes for content that already exists. For example – You can turn a single blog post into a… Downloadable PDF YouTube Video Quora Answer Podcast Episode LinkedIn Update Tweet Storm Infographic Slideshow Deck And so much more… But for some reason most brands will press publish on a piece of content once and that’s it! It’s a broken approach. Content marketing remix is the act of taking one asset and turning it into multiple other assets to give your content a longer lifecycle: • If your audience is on Twitter; remix your content into a thread • If your audience is Instagram; remix your content for Instagram stories • If your audience is on LinkedIn; remix your content as a LinkedIn article A content marketing remix is something that I’ve been talking about since 2017 when I wrote a piece titled “Rain Drop, Drop Top, How To Make Your Blog Never Flop, Flop”. Hilarious title right? Either way; in that piece I explain how leveraging a content marketing remix was a strategy I had used time and time again to reach new audiences. The first time I applied the technique was when I took an ultimate guide that I created about Instagram and turned it into a SlideShare deck. That deck went on to generate hundreds of thousands of both views and dollars in revenue. It eventually became a YouTube video, a downloadable PDF and even a course.


Out of all the different assets that exist that you can create podcasts & videos are probably the most remix-able content formats that provide marketing remix gold! One video asset can be transcribed and turned into a blog post. One video asset can be transcribed and turned into a twitter thread. One video asset can be stripped of the video and turned into a podcast. One video asset can be chopped and skewed into snippets for social media.

How Do You Know What’s Worth Remixing? Some of the content you develop is going to have a sole purpose (think sales enablement content) but some assets will be created with the sole intent of offering you the flexibility to remix it. The best way to validate whether or not a piece of content should be remixed is to first get that solo asset in front of as many people as possible. Once you have distributed that asset to your audience, it’s time to analyze how they respond to that content. If the reaction is significant — plenty of social media shares, new leads, thousands of downloads or views, etc. That’s a sign that you have content-market fit. Content market fit occurs when a piece of content’s value, the customers’ needs or wants, and the distribution channel leveraged all align. It’s at this point where you have a signal that shows remixing this asset could be worthwhile. Keep in mind… Content-market fit doesn’t have to be validated or acted upon two days after going live. Many companies have developed hundreds of assets over the last few years and have had a handful of different posts that were wildly successful. Those assets have content-market fit. Thus, it’s these successful assets that you also consider remixing. The opportunities of a remix are endless. The only thing that can truly hold you back is your commitment to putting in the time after pressing publish. It’s a fundamental shift in the way most brands view marketing but it’s a shift that could change the way you do content forever.


Winter 2021

Black Health and Wellness Experts Supporting Underrepresented Communities



Winter 2021

By Minnie Karanja personal training. Since opening its doors this year in July, they have organized outdoor physical fitness boot camps and continue to offer online Afro-centric yoga and meditation series three times a week in partnership with the Health Association of African Canadians.

It is always great when we connect with people who truly understand our motivations, but it is even greater when they also share our lived experiences. “It’s like a breath of fresh air,” says Joy Chiekwe, a founding member of the Black Wellness Co-operative (BWC). The only words to express how she feels about being surrounded by other Black health and wellness experts that share her experience as a Black person in a predominantly non-Black, Indigenous, people(s) of colour (BIPOC) health and wellness industry.

It is not surprising that the co-operative is also a safe place where people are allowed to be vulnerable as well as a place to network and build relationships. The need for the Black community to connect with each other and show solidarity has never been greater than in this unprecedented year. Major world events have had a negative impact on the mental health of individuals, particularly those from underrepresented communities. The Black Lives Matter Movement fueled by the murder of George Floyd in the US ignited critical discussions and activist demonstrations about racism across Canada. The mental health of Black and Indigenous communities has been greatly affected as they reflect on the institutional social injustices suffered. Moreover, the global COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering existing health gaps and inequalities among Canada’s Black and underrepresented communities. These issues have no doubt taken a toll on these communities’ mental health and initiatives such as those of the BWC provide valuable support to communities.

The Black Wellness Co-operative Nova Scotia is a non-profit organization that is essentially a conglomerate of Black health and wellness experts who are passionate about supporting each other and sharing their expertise, knowledge, and training with their community. The co-operative provides free health and wellness services to Black and underrepresented populations in Nova Scotia. An accomplished clinical exercise physiologist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority where she runs and oversees exercise programs for cancer survivors around the Maritimes, and consults with physicians on how to use exercise as a form of medicine to manage and prevent chronic diseases, Chiekwe longed to connect with other Black professionals in her field. “It was my personal goal to connect and network with Black health and wellness experts in Nova Scotia and showcase them to the rest of the region,” said Chiekwe.

Driven by the spirit of solidarity and recognition of the value BWC brings to the community, support from individuals and business owners from BIPOC and non-BIPOC communities has been overwhelmingly positive. BWC’s fitness boot camps have been well attended with local businesses participating by providing giveaways to inspire and motivate.

Guided by the belief that wholesome personal health encompasses both mental and physical health, the cooperative provides a wide range of services including mental fitness, yoga, circus training, massage, and



Winter 2021

The coming together of the dream team With a mission so great, you may be wondering how it all came together. Well, it all goes back to wonderful words of wisdom in the African maxim that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. Although Chiekwe is an accomplished health expert, she wanted to connect with and amplify the skills of others in her industry. Herself, like many other Black people in Nova Scotia who find themselves isolated in workspaces where Black people are underrepresented, yearned to connect with people that looked like her. Other Black professionals who daily have to navigate their careers through largely non-BIPOC spaces and who have a shared desire to make a positive impact in their communities.

While being an active member of the fitness industry “ and working in a clinical setting, I quickly noticed the lack of representation in both fields. I wanted to understand the experiences of other Black health professionals...

“While being an active member of the fitness industry and working in a clinical setting, I quickly noticed the lack of representation in both fields. I wanted to understand the experiences of other Black health professionals,” explained Chiekwe. The objective of creating the BWC was two-fold; to create a safe space for Black health and fitness experts to network, learn and grow together and to provide an opportunity for them to have an impact in their community through sharing their expertise with underrepresented communities who would not otherwise have access to them or their knowledge due to financial or other socially constructed barriers. Chiekwe invested her time researching within the health and wellness industry to find a core group of professionals that had a common mindset and willingness to redefine how health and wellness are constructed within the Black community. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April, Chiekwe did not sit back to wait out the storm but marched right on, conducting Instagram live interviews with peers in her industry. BWC, now made up of four founding members, is growing and making a huge impact on communities in Nova Scotia. Over the last couple of months, the Black community has come out strongly to demand and show solidarity for initiatives that are developed by Black people for Black people. In short, “Nothing for us, without us!” Today, one event at a time, BWC is re-imagining health and wellness for the Black community in Nova Scotia.



Winter 2021

Meet the team

Korede Akindoju is a physiotherapist at

the Nova scotia rehabilitation centre and part of the BWC. He understands first-hand the existing barriers to health care for the Black population. According to him, Black people do not necessarily feel supported by the healthcare system and this affects their health outcomes. This speaks to the health gap that BWC strives to fill. “The rapport between a Black patient and a Black healthcare provider leads to better health outcomes because of the shared lived experiences,” explains Korede.

Melanie Clarke (above, second from right) is a diversity and inclusion consultant who until recently was head coach, programmer, and chief heart officer at blended athletics. For her, being part of the BWC combines her passions of working with Black people and other professionals in health, sport, and fitness fields. “I get to do what I love, with and for the people I love. I am constantly surrounded by people that inspire me, push me to be better, and care about my well-being as I care about theirs,” said Melanie.

Korede envisions the centre as a safe hub where people will feel welcome and united.

Melanie has also been voted as the temporary President of the BWC.



Winter 2021

Ashley Grant is a massage therapist with her own practice in Nova Scotia. She was motivated to join BWC by the vision of the cooperative to give the Black community access to health and wellness services that they would not normally have access to due to financial and other barriers. Ashley has found great value in connecting with fellow Black health and wellness professionals. “This has given me the opportunity to grow my network in the health and wellness community and definitely contribute to enhancing my practice through learning from my peers,” she said.

Entrepreneur Tool Kit

Ashwin Sivaraman, RBC Career Launch Intern

IT Tools that your Small Business can use to increase efficiency

Small businesses can benefit

Project Management Software

from increasing their work

“I run an agency with remote staff in different countries, so Trello is gold for us in order to stay on top of deliverables and assign projects.”

efficiency by aligning their team goals with their business goals. These IT tools that we

— Bogdan Marinescu Managing Director of Digital Trails

have identified can help you with just that.

Managing projects in a small business setting can be deceptively challenging. Sure, there are fewer people involved and fewer processes to navigate. But big businesses often have a dedicated project manager for marketing, another for sales, and another for product development. The small business project manager, on the other hand, oversees multiple departments and likely wears lots of other hats. It’s important to find project management software that can help you maximize output while juggling everything else on your plate. Here are some of the best project management software for small businesses: • Asana for ultimate project flexibility • Airtable for spreadsheet fanatics • Trello for visually managing projects • AND.CO for freelancers • Paymo for complex projects that require invoices • Wrike for managing projects via email • Yodiz for Agile and Scrum teams • Basecamp for automating team check-ins

Not your average business? We’re not your average lenders?

Content Management System

Ask us about the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program.

For many small business owners, their CMS platform can end up making or breaking their business. This is why it is important to take an in-depth look at all of the options available to you before jumping right in. Don’t simply take our word for it. Each website builder offers a free option for your business to test out before fully committing. Try out how the platforms will benefit your content management schedule, and which one best complements your technical aptitude. So now, without further ado, here are the top CMS applications that your business can use:

eastcoast@creditu.ca | 1-866-230-7700 BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021

1. Wix – A website builder that centers on site presentation, Wix offers hundreds of designs to their users. Manage your blog, content, and social media all in one place.

Webmaster Tools Make use of vital data to help you analyze traffic and site performance by installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console (both preferably via Google Tag Manager), and Bing Webmaster Tools.

2. WordPress – Everyone knows the prominence of WordPress in the CMS market. As one of the most popular tools for managing content, WordPress is an excellent, free option for users. Although WordPress is not 100% simple once you begin installing plugins and design, it may be your go-to product if looking for function over stylish animation.

Social Media Management Tools The best social media management tools can make managing and marketing simpler and easier. Getting the most out of your chosen social media platforms is going to be an integral part of your content marketing, as part of your overall online marketing strategy. That’s why we’ve picked out some really useful social media analytics tools that will help you understand which of your posts are working, and which get a thumbs down. Here are some useful social media analytics tools that will help you with your small business:

3. Adobe Business Catalyst – Business Catalyst is the all-in-one business marketing and CMS solution that you’ve been looking for. With advanced analytics, built-in modules, lead generation and reporting, business owners should definitely try the Business Catalyst tool. 4. Squarespace – A bevy of features are at your disposal with the Squarespace robust platform. Experiment with a wide range of tools for your desktop or mobile site. In addition, sync with Google Apps, MailChimp, or multiple publishers to make this software truly invaluable.

1. Hootsuite

4. Hubspot

7. Agorapulse

2. Sprout Social

5. Zoho Social

8. Traject Fanbooster

3. Buffer

6. SEMrush

9. Sendible

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

10. SocialPilot

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability. Make sure you, as a small business, first try out a few different CRM software and then decide on the one which seems most suitable and the best value for money. The best CRM softwares: Zoho and Salesforce consist of full-featured and premium features CRM programs. Simple and easy to use, Insightly is another alternative for small business mainly because it’s simple and easy to use and compared to other CRM software

Conclusion The relevance of the different tools listed above will depend upon your business type and needs. Identifying the pain points of your business can help uncover areas of opportunities which can help you in deciding the types of IT tools to prioritize.

Human Resources Software There comes a point in the growth of every small business when they must stop bootstrapping and invest in a ladder—and the right HR software can provide the boost you need to unlock the benefits of wellmanaged employees.

BBI can help! If you would like support pricing your product or service, please contact one of our knowledgeable Entrepreneurial Engagement Managers at bbi@bbi.ns.ca, call 902-426-8683, or visit our website www.bbi.ca

Some great HR software options for your small business include JazzHR, Cezanne, BambooHR, Zenefits, Zoho, People and EffortlessHR. BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021

We’re here to support your business. During these unprecedented times, NSBI is here to help you navigate businesses challenges as a result of COVID-19 and beyond. Contact Karen Williams, Export Development Executive, at kwilliams@nsbi.ca to learn more.


SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NEXT HIRE. The Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program will cover up to 35% of the salary when you hire a recent grad. When you’re ready, we’re here. NOVASCOTIA.CA/GTO


By Feleshia Chandler


Photography contributed

It takes Perseverance After vacationing and visiting family numerous times in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Torontonians, Troy and Sonia Lawrence found a special place in their hearts for the small port town. So, when it came to setting up their business, Honey Bee’s Ice Cream Parlour, it made perfect sense for them to choose Yarmouth. “My parents are originally from Yarmouth and every time we had a vacation, we found ourselves coming back here,” says Troy, business owner, and father of two. “They aren’t getting any younger and they enjoy being around the kids so much so we said, ‘let’s see if we can do something back in Yarmouth.’” Troy’s brother was interested in embroidery and screen printing and Troy encouraged him to open his own business. When a building off HWY 1 in Yarmouth became available both brothers were happy to pursue this opportunity. “I was looking to find a building where my wife could have some independence to be able to foster her hospitality and entrepreneurship and I wanted my brother to have space to grow his business.” They purchased the building in June of 2014 and Troy and Sonia launched Honey Bee’s in July. But for the next two years, the duo ran the business from their home in Toronto until they decided that was not how they wanted to do things. “We said ‘we have to get back and start living our dream.’” In 2019 Troy’s brother who, up until this point, had been operating in the same building as Honey Bee’s moved his business. “That left us with the space we needed to really start working on our vision for the building.” That vision was to have an ice cream parlour, a food court, a juice/shake bar, and a back deck for extra outdoor seating. After gutting the entire building, they were able to do just that. Since then they have introduced a new and unique-to-them line of ice cream cakes called the perfect storm which involves layering ice cream and toppings in a precise pattern. They also have ice cream cupcakes and vegan ice cream cakes. And although the parlor has seen a recent amount of success Lawrence says it was not always like this. Getting people to lend him money was extremely difficult. “Being from a marginalized community, it’s even harder. It’s not easy,” he says, adding that he received a loan from BBI to help with the expansion of the business. To up-and-coming entrepreneurs and business owners, Troy says perseverance is key. “If you’re not resilient you’re not going to make it. The more resilient you become, the easier it is for you to take on a challenge and turn it into a positive and do it fast”. He also says having a mentor is incredibly important. “You have to have somebody that has a level head and knows how to solve those problems and has probably experienced them before because otherwise, you can get discouraged very easily.”

Troy Lawrence, Honey Bee’s Ice Cream Parlour

Now, the Lawrences are working on finishing the back deck, setting up furniture and ambiance. They are also expanding the kitchen area so they can start serving Japanese cuisine. After six years of running Honey Bees, they are finally able to turn their original vision into reality. “The difference between where we were before and where we are today, is night and day. Things have really come full circle but it’s only because of resilience, hard work, dedication, and having a vision. It’s going to be something for our Black Nova Scotians – to realize if you stick to [your vision] and don’t take no for an answer there are lots of things you can do that will have a very positive influence on other people.”



Winter 2021

Troy Lawrence Honey Bee’s Ice Cream Parlour (902) 748-0900 email address

By Wanda Taylor Photography contributed


Black Hair is the Crown. Styling it is Tracey’s Art As a consummate professional, self-starter, mentor, and community advocate, Tracey Crawley has dedicated her many years of experience in business to giving back to her customers and her community. The encouragement she received as a child, from her mother and grandmother, helped to set her on the trajectory toward a career that she is hugely passionate about. “I was four years old when I first learned how to cornrow on the long grass on my grandmother’s property. From there I knew this was what I wanted to do.” Her grandmother was her number one client and always encouraged her to create with hair. And every Christmas her mother made sure there was a doll head under the tree, which Tracey would use for practice. Many Black women can relate to the delight of learning to make that first braid or sculpt that first hairstyle. Creating styles for Black hair is a centuries-long, intergenerational legacy – Black hair is the crown, and hairstyling is the work of art showcasing its natural beauty. Tracey’s business name, Crowning Glory is a fitting tribute to this notion. Tracey was drawn to styling hair at a young age. However, running a hair business was not originally part of her plan. She never started out wanting to own a business. She calls her entrepreneurship journey divine inspiration. After high school, Tracey completed a Hair/Esthetics course at Transformation School of Hair Design in Halifax. She graduated at the top of her class and eventually opened her own shop. At the time, Tracey didn’t know the toll it would take on her personal life, as well as the sacrifices and dedication it would take to get the business off the ground and to keep it going. She also says she wishes she had grown her brand much earlier in the process. One important lesson she learned along the way was about being aware of the people around her. “Not everyone is for you. Protect yourself at all times.” Despite all of her challenges and obstacles, Tracey continued to persevere. Today she runs a very successful hairdressing establishment. Her clients are faithful and many have been with her since the beginning. Tracey credits her customers with being consistent, loyal, and invaluable to her success. Tracey also works to support and empower her community. As a board member for the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia, she strives to help others gain increased access and opportunities within the industry. She has also worked with NOW, a program that provides a pathway for young aspiring stylists. Tracey supports other Black entrepreneurs by carrying and selling their products in her studio – which is everything from hair and skincare to merchandising.

Tracey Crawley, Crowning Glory

Tracey Crawley Crowning Glory (902) 406-7676 crowningglory@eastlink.ca

Like many small businesses across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic deeply impacted Tracey’s bottom line. She was hit hard and was forced to close her doors for over three months during the lockdown. This resulted in a huge loss in revenue. She then re-opened to massively increased costs and precautionary expenses, such as plexiglass dividers and labour costs associated with ensuring her studio conformed with COVID-19 regulations. Those unforeseen costs required her to seek out COVID-related government support to augment her losses. Still, Tracey remained undeterred. Her Christian faith is what has kept her going and is what keeps her grounded. “He is my source.” She says. “Even through this pandemic, my business is still open and thriving. He has kept me.” Tracey’s future plans include expanding her business and its online presence, hiring more hairstylists, and increasing her partnerships with Black entrepreneurs. Her advice to young Black women striving to become business owners is to go into entrepreneurship with a vision and a solid plan. “Cultivate good work habits and practices. Become a forward thinker.” BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021


By Sharon Ishimwe


Photography by Paul Adams

Eleven-year-old Baker Launches Business In the Spring of 2020, it wasn’t uncommon to see or hear about people picking up baking. Social media was awash with images of sourdough bread and other baked goods. This period may go down in history books – joining only a few other momentous events such as the First World War – as a time when baking supplies were hard to come by. Eleven-year-old Jordan, like a myriad other people, found comfort in baking in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But unlike many, she had been baking almost her entire life and this season only catapulted her to the launch of her business, Jordan’s Delights. From turning all her sleepovers into baking contests; to astonishing her classmates with very elaborate Science projects titled Baking as a Science, or The Chemistry of Baking, Jordan has always been passionate about baking. Her mother traces her passion back to when she was just about three years old. They both fondly recall a kitchen stool that Jordan guarded so jealously. It was the stool she stood on to work on the kitchen counter with her family as they cooked and baked. With schools being closed early last Spring, Jordan turned her attention to making pretzels, doughnuts, pizza, and cake. “Baking makes me feel calm.” When her dad posted one of her cakes on social media, the response was overwhelming. “People were surprised and they started asking me to bake for them.” From there, she got her first order – a cupcake bouquet. Jordan’s greatest challenge at that point was pricing. “I didn’t know how much to charge.” With the help of her parents, however, she now sets her prices with confidence. For her, opportunity met preparation. Jordan credits her move, in part, to Business Is Jammin’s Girls with Ideas Program led by Ariel Gough. Hosted in Jordan’s community of Hammonds Plains, the program encourages young girls to pursue their dreams. “If you have an idea, don’t be afraid or let anyone say you can’t do it. Kids sometimes think they are not good enough or their idea is not good enough,” reflects Jordan who believes the right mindset and support from friends and family are very important for starting a business. Although baking is relaxing for her, the admitted perfectionist also finds the process stressful at times. “Creating unique designs is difficult. I try the more complicated ones on a plate several times before I recreate them on a cake”. The self-taught baker dreams of becoming a pastry chef, owning a ‘fancy restaurant with a bakery’ and hopes to someday polish her skills in Montreal and France because she believes they make the best pastries. “That means I have to step up my game in French.” Jordan attends French immersion at Madeline Symonds Middle School and for now, she finds inspiration from an Aunt who is also a baker, YouTube videos, and baking shows. Committed to the success of her business, Jordan has learned to make sacrifices. “Sometimes I am at my [grandma’s] house playing with my cousin and the only reason I have to leave is to bake,” she says, adding that she never wants to disappoint her customers. “Even when I am tired, I push myself because I know it’s an order and I must finish it.” Nevertheless, the reward at the end of every job makes it all worthwhile. “I feel really happy when my customers are pleased.”


Jordan Anderson Jordan’s Delights Guardian: Kesa Munroe-Anderson (902) 412-3270 rissy7@hotmail.com

Jordan’s Delights has grown steadily over the last months and Jordan is now working with her best friend to develop a logo. BLACK to BUSINESS

Jordan Anderson, Youth Entrepreneur

Winter 2021

BBI News – PARTNER SHOWCASE Volta Launches Program to Support Black and Indigenous Founders Volta, Canada’s East Coast Innovation Hub, is dedicated to building an inclusive and collaborative community that empowers entrepreneurs to achieve growth and success in our region, across the country, and around the world. Located in the heart of downtown Halifax, Volta is cultivating a respectful and supportive environment where founders and their teams come together with both private and public sector partners, to validate and advance their innovative business ideas, and get to market more quickly and efficiently. “When we begin any new project, program or initiative, we are always looking to enrich our offerings by collaborating with industry experts and ecosystem partners to facilitate, organize and enhance the project’s impact and learnings for all participants,” Martha Casey, Volta CEO said. “Over the next few months, we have some very exciting, new programs, partnerships, and initiatives in the works to support entrepreneurs at all stages of development.” Building on important partnerships with the Black Business Initiative and Ulnooweg, we are delighted to launch Boost in early 2021 that aims to nurture the growth of Black and Indigenous founders and future leaders as they pursue their entrepreneurship goals. The program will run for approximately 16 weeks, with various workshops and access to leading experts and mentors, as they build out their idea at a working lab at Volta. Applications will open in February 2021, and the program will start in March. Applications are accepted through voltaeffect.com/boost/

We are also thrilled to be bringing industry experts from around the world to the region – albeit virtually – to share their insights with our community via our new, Volta Global Program. Six high-caliber global experts will be invited to facilitate workshops and training sessions on a variety of topics related to entrepreneurship and digital technology. Volta Global began in November 2020 with renowned businesswoman, Arlene Dickinson, as the first speaker.

Another new initiative beginning in January 2021 is Volta AI; in partnership with ScaleAI, it will provide AI-enabled supply chain companies with access to funding, resources, and workshops to rapidly scale. The application process was completed in October, and five companies will kick-start the program in January.



Winter 2021

Regional Report Entrepreneurship Team

No doubt the last year has been very challenging to the whole world in all aspects of life. When COVID-19 started, I don’t think any of us imagined that it would last this long or the magnitude of the impact it would have on all of society globally. Once businesses started opening under new rules and protocols in June 2020, we adapted to the new norms of how to do business and interact with each other in all aspects. Now that we have experienced the first wave of COVID-19, many of us are preparing for the second wave. BBI continued to be in constant contact with Black business owners in Nova Scotia for any type of support that we could offer. We continue to split our time in the office and working remotely, reaching out to our clients via phone and holding virtual consultations.

In addition to our new initiatives for 2021, we continue to revisit existing programming to identify areas for improvement. More than a year ago, we began researching additional locations to host our Hoist Program – and fortunately, we have been hosting the monthly meetups both at Volta and the North Preston Community Centre ever since. Hoist is an informative and engaging monthly meetup for teens ages 12 to 19 who are interested in entrepreneurship, technology, and business. At each session, industry leaders teach participants a new skill, then, the remainder of the day is spent applying their learnings to a hands-on project. Volta Academy’s core premise remains the same: it helps individuals take their big idea and turn it into a tech-enabled startup by providing participants with skills required to become a successful entrepreneur with a scalable business model. But, the program has expanded from 11 to 12 weeks to include a session on establishing inclusive business practices before the idea becomes a company. Applications for the winter 2021 sessions close January 13 and can be found at voltaeffect.com/ideas. In partnership with RBC, Volta continues to offer its Women Taking over the World with Tech Program each month. WTWT brings together female entrepreneurs, startup employees, and supporters to build community, grow their skillset, network, and discuss any challenges they face as they grow their business or professional careers. Over the past year, there have been some very important, much-needed conversations taking place around the world – ones that have created meaningful change, but there is still so much work to be done. Recognizing that, Volta is eager to build relationships with community partners and organizations to help identify and fill in any gaps that will make our communities safer and more inclusive places for entrepreneurs to work, learn, connect, and grow. If you would like to collaborate with us on a project, program, or initiative, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can learn more about Volta at voltaeffect.com.

The federal government extended the Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to June 2021 and expanded the CEBA loan by $20,000 on top of the $40,000 for any business wishing to take advantage of these programs. I would like to welcome two Entrepreneurial Engagement Managers (EEM) to the team, namely; Otni Chinenere & Mamadou Wade. Congratulations go out to Cathy Akinkunmi of Beautiful Celebrations for being the recipient of the North End Award and Samantha DixsonSlawter of Styles by SD the recipient of the Gloria Fisher Persons of the Year. Samantha has also received approval from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to open the first black hair school. This will be an apprenticeship program. To Floyd Kane who was the cover feature of our Winter 2020 issue for being appointed to the Board of Governors at St Mary’s University. I must not forget our very own Candace Thomas for being appointed as the First African Nova Scotian female Deputy Minister of Justice. On October 2nd BBI along with African Nova Scotia Affairs Office and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency hosted their final province-wide “Trade as a Career” event at Digby Regional High School for the African NS students. Congratulations to Rodger Smith one of our Entrepreneurial Engagement Managers who has recently been appointed to the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission as an ex-official member. Please not that our in-person Thursday “intake sessions” will now be conducted over the phone or Zoom due to COVID-19 protocols. We ask that you bear with us during these times of uncertainty.



Winter 2021

Special News By Minnie Karanja

Black-owned businesses to access funding through $221m Black Entrepreneurship Program This funding is the first of its kind in Canada and according to Rustum Southwell, the CEO of Black Business Initiative, it represents a huge commitment from the government to invest in the sector. “Financial investment is a valuable tool in addressing the challenges within the Black community. It will provide opportunities for wealth and quality job creation. Through this program, Black entrepreneurs will have access to credit to scale their businesses.”

Black-owned businesses make invaluable contributions to Canada’s economic growth, however, the absence of funding for Black entrepreneurs has hindered their growth and reduced their capacity to create new jobs. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the existing systemic barriers against the Black community in Canada. To address some of these challenges, in September 2020, the Canadian government announced the launch of the Black Entrepreneurship Program in which the government will directly invest $93 million over the next four years while Canadian financial institutions including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings will contribute $128 million in lending support.

While the funding is certainly welcomed in the Black community, there is still more that needs to be accomplished to end Anti-Black systemic racism in Canada. Southwell adds that credit and finance is only one side of the equation and more work is yet to be done in other sectors from Justice to housing to education and other areas where Black communities are disproportionately affected. “Innovative solutions will be required to move the needle on these issues.”

While announcing the program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that “the pandemic has shone a light on the inequalities that disproportionately affect Black Canadians, and has underscored the need to restart our economy in a way that allows all Canadians an equal chance to succeed.” He acknowledged the leadership, advocacy, and expertise of Black business owners and Black-led organizations – of which the Black Business Initiative was part – in the development of the program which he said would “help support Black entrepreneurs and create new opportunities for Black-owned businesses, so they are well-positioned for our economic recovery.”

Louis-Edgar Jean-Francois, CEO of Groupe 3737, a business accelerator innovation hub based in Montreal, and one of the Black business leaders that advocated for the creation of this program, is confident that the program provides an opportunity to try innovative solutions. He explains that traditional vetting methods such as credit scores and collateral used by banks to qualify individuals for loans have long excluded Black entrepreneurs and is working with banks to develop other innovative ways to make sure that Black entrepreneurs with solid business plans to scale their businesses are not denied funding. “This funding is important to Black entrepreneurs – current and emerging ones. They will have access to resources they would not normally have access to for scaling their businesses and creating more job opportunities. It usually takes about $50,000 to $250,000 for a business to grow its employees from about two to 10. Established entrepreneurs will also access support to sustain operation and have additional resources to scale their businesses and create even more job opportunities,” said Jean-Francois

As part of the program, up to $53 million has been set aside to develop and implement the novel National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations. The fund will provide business owners and entrepreneurs with access to funding and capital as well as other supports such as mentorship, coaching and business training. Another part of the program is an investment of up to $33.3 million that will go through the Black entrepreneurship loan fund that will see loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 provided to Black entrepreneurs. The last part of the program, for which up to $6.5 million will be dedicated, is the creation of a new Black-led Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth.


To build on the momentum of the Black Entrepreneurship Fund, a coalition of Black Canadian business executives and leaders came together in December 2020 to create the Black Opportunity Fund aimed at dismantling systemic racism by supporting 450 Black-led organizations.


Winter 2021

Meet the Board

Kenny Duncan Kenny obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Prince Edward Island where he also played men’s varsity basketball. He started his career with Scotiabank as a Personal Banking Officer at the Atlantic Customer Contact Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2004. Since then, Kenny has held increasingly progressive positions including Account Manager - Small Business, Manager - Personal Banking, Manager - Small Business, Private Banker, Senior Private Banker and Team Lead, and Branch Manager. Currently, he is the Regional Director - Small Business Development for the Prairie Region. Kenny resides in Winnipeg with his wife Jessica, children Kaylah (7), Janessa (5), Keegan (3), and their dog, Duncan

Margo Hampden

Margo is passionate about transformational leadership, building team effectiveness, innovation capacity, employee growth and engagement, and diversity and inclusion. She has been a keynote speaker on both public and private industry subject matter. She works with employers, businesses, and organizations in many segments helping them implement leadership strategies, diversity and inclusion plans; identify training needs and distinguish employee-learning gaps.

Margo is an innovative, visionary, and resourceful individual bringing 25 years of management experience in various fields. She has worked in federal and provincial governments, private companies, not-forprofit and community sectors in Canada and the US. Her experience cuts across multiple fields such as business, education, energy and utilities, transportation, and technology.

She has performed skill gap research with a federal body on the UPSKILL project reviewing the essential skills and identifying trends, gaps, and solutions to employee dexterities. She has performed her own research on “Barriers and Challenges Facing Female Employees Before and After Entering Leadership Positions” (UPEI). A recent work experience in Toronto with CAMSC allowed her to work with Fortune 500 companies on business development and supplier diversity. She continues to manage large groups of employees and help organizations through change management.

A skilled facilitator, business consultant, negotiator, coach, and speaker, with experience in strategy, team building, change management, human resources, and leadership, Margo has worked in collaboration with government departments, labor organizations, business and industry associations, learning institutions, and several community organizations.

Margo holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (UPEI), Certification in Negotiation, Mediation and Conflict Resolution (Dalhousie University), and is currently in the process of recertifying as a member of (IPMA-ACP). She is familiar with BBI as she previously served on the Board as Resource Director and supported many projects.

ensure preparedness and streamlined processes. Jasmine is always eager to lend a hand to the rest of the team, providing support in marketing communications, Business Is Jammin’ programs, events and logistics, and corporate services. Jasmine is always eager to learn new things as she believes that stepping out of your comfort zone and facing new challenges is a huge part of personal and professional growth.

Meet the Staff

Jasmine Murphy

An avid volunteer and a believer in creating positive impact, Jasmine has traveled to El Salvador to volunteer with Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child. She also volunteers with the Prison Fellowship Canada, the IWK as a Child Life Volunteer, and is a mentor with Big Brothers and Big Sisters Halifax.

Office Administrator Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Jasmine Murphy is from the community of Beechville. She graduated from Sheridan College in Brampton, Ontario with a Community and Justice diploma after which she worked as a Youth Staff member on Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America for seven years. A world traveler, having been to over 40 countries, Jasmine loves creating and learning from new experiences.

An entrepreneur herself, when Jasmine is not in the office, she can be found working on her business Lakeview Haven – a tiny home Airbnb in Chester. She believes in providing guests with a place of serenity to disconnect and reflect while being surrounded by nature. Jasmine also finds joy in capturing her journeys through blogging. She writes about her life lessons in hopes of inspiring other people who are going through similar things.

With a passion for entrepreneurship and community, Jasmine is grateful to be a part of the BBI team as the Office Administrator. Jasmine is the first friendly face that you see when you walk through BBI’s door; she connects potential clients with resources and further supports. She also coordinates the BBI composite board meetings and documentation to BLACK to BUSINESS

Jasmine is hardworking, dedicated and optimistic in everything she does. A positive spirit with unique cultural experiences, Jasmine’s energy is contagious. Her organization, skill sets, professionalism, and personality bring a lot to the BBI team. 29

Winter 2021


BIJ Report

Winter 2021 By Ashley Hill, Business Is Jammin’ Manager

Virtual Programs Webinar Series! With social distancing practices implemented, Business is Jammin’ has leveraged creativity and technology to digitally connect Black youth in Nova Scotia to a variety of free programs and initiatives. Within the last few months, we hosted Girls With Ideas, a cohort of young female leaders, a virtual book club, a coding program for youth in rural communities, and a virtual webinar series for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. Our virtual webinars series was recorded, and the replay links are available upon request. Email bijyouth@bbi.ns.ca for a link today.

NEVELL PROVO played Division 1 basketball in the United States, played for Team Canada and then played at Saint Mary’s University where he finished his degree. During his studies and while he was playing basketball, Nevell would always come home to his mother’s delicious, healthy home cooked meals. One day, following his graduation his mother told him she was trying to save money for a trip. They brainstormed how to help her make a little extra money, and Nevell offered to sell some of her cooking to family and friends. Within a week they had more than 10 people interested, and from then on, that number steadily grew. Through CBDC Blue Water funding, Nevell was able to move into a kitchen in the North Preston Community Centre. In this space he grew the business from around 10 customers a week to 30, but the demand never stopped. In a little over a year, Smooth Meal Prep has grown into a new, larger kitchen allowing them to service over 100 customers a week and employ a staff of 10.

Financing, Training, Advice. Learn how the CBDC can help you start or expand a business

cbdc.ca | 1-888-303-2232

How to Build an Online Brand in 2020 Hosted by Ross Simmonds

Grow Your Business like a Pro Hosted by Gayneté Jones

So, You Want to Start a Startup? Hosted by Charles F. Milton

How to Scale on Online Business Hosted by Nicholas Stoddard



Winter 2021

Dr. Rudy French Youth Trailblazer Award The Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth 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. We would like to congratulate our 2020 Award Recipients, Alenne Adekayode and Marcel Desmond.

Alenne Adekayode,

Concordia University

“Going forward, I would love to further break down racial barriers that exist in my community around Black-owned businesses as well as gentrification and the animosity that exists in those two realms. I intend to keep portraying my community in my work and giving it a voice through my creative work as I evolve as an artist. It would also be really fun to give back by facilitating different creative learning workshops for youth.”

2020 Youth Summit Scholarship Winners

“My future career will be in law and policy. After my undergrad in Public Policy and Governance, I intend to complete a master of laws degree with a concentration in constitutional law. I then want to pursue a career that allows me to create, analyze, and implement policy from a more equitable approach; a perspective that is often missing in the creation and implementation of policy now.”

Daisy Rent graduated from

Last February BIJ hosted NEXT UP 2020, a Black Youth Leadership Summit that brought high school students together to explore their leadership capabilities and created a platform that inspired action. As part of the summit BIJ awarded scholarships to students to support their journey to postsecondary education. We would like to congratulate our 2020 Award Recipients, Daisy Rent, Rachael Day, and Gladys Wembo.

Halifax West High School and is attending Dalhousie University to participate in their Theatre program.

Rachael Day graduated from Millwood High School and

Gladys Wembo is currently pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree at Saint Mary’s University after graduating from JL Isley High School.

is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at Saint Mary’s University.


Marcel Desmond, St. Francis Xavier University


Winter 2021

Ask The BBI

Staff contributed

How to Live through the Pandemic We all know that COVID-19 has had a global effect on individuals, their businesses, and the economy as a whole. In the last issue of B2B we touched on five quick tips for small businesses to adjust to the pandemic. Now, here are tips to navigate through this phase:

Raymond Tynes, Human Rights Commission


Keeping Strong Communications


Check Your Bottom Line and Pivot Accordingly

Unite communities Join an agency, board, or commission With over 150 ways to volunteer, joining an agency, board, or commission allows you to help unite communities while supporting what matters to you. Applications are now open. Applications for many positions are accepted year round. To learn more and apply, visit novascotia.ca/abc or call 1-866-206-6844 (toll free). The Government of Nova Scotia has an Employment Equity Policy. We welcome applications from Aboriginal people, African Nova Scotians, other racially visible people, persons with disabilities, women, and other employment equity groups. Applicants are encouraged to self-identify.



Winter 2021

With several of us working remotely, it is more imperative to build strong communication channels with colleagues, business partners and customers. Utilize all channels available such as Zoom, emails, text messages, social media and phone calls. This will help your business continue to be a well-oiled and socially connected machine while also remaining physically apart.

On an ongoing basis, you should know where your business stands financially. Given all of the innovative ways in which you pivoted in order to keep your business afloat for the last 10 months, sustainability should now be top of mind. However, if the new methods do not prove successful, do not hesitate to consider other options.

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

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

halifax based Apparel company


Check Social Media Pulse Numbers don’t lie. In today’s technological environment, there is a huge emphasis on having a social media presence both for individuals and businesses. This is particularly necessary because not only is social media an avenue for people to keep in-touch, but it is also a great tool for marketing and branding. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs should take advantage of social media as a tool to bring more awareness to their businesses. Different social media platforms also provide analytics for interactions and sales amongst other useful information that a business can use to their advantage.

Always put your family first Never put materialistic things over your family Never forget where you come from familyoverfameofficial BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021


Training Report By Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager

BBI and Volta Launch Program to Support Black and Indigenous Founders In partnership with Volta and Ulnooweg, we’ve launched “Boost”, a brand new program for Black and Indigenous founders in Nova Scotia. This program is made possible with the support of ACOA.

Some of the workshops will include subjects such as:

Scheduled to start mid-March and led by experts in the industry, Boost is a fourmonth program designed to support the growth and development of Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. The program will take Black and Indigenous founders through workshops and skills development training to help them build their business ideas and achieve their operational goals. The program will select five to 10 individuals to join, participants will have access to a working lab in Volta’s co-working space and receive an honorarium for their participation.

• Leab

Ideal program participants include individuals with an early stage business idea or professional development goal who may need assistance moving the project forward; preference will be given to those with a tech-enabled startup idea though no technical experience is required. Boost participants must be willing and eager to learn and apply new skills from industry experts, be able to commit to a 16-week term to build out their idea, and be based in Atlantic Canada. Applications for the program are now open, closing on February 21st, 2021 at 11:59PM (AST). If you’re interested in applying, visit www.voltaeffect.com/boost.

Business Model Canvas • Leadership • Branding • MVP prototyping • Design thinking test solution • Customer discovery • Adapting to employment trends and COVID-19 • And more!

Applicants will be contacted for an interview, and those selected to participate in the Boost Program will be contacted on or before March 1, 2021 to enroll. The program will begin on Monday, March 15, 2020.

“ Black and Indigenous-owned businesses contribute significantly to Canada’s economy. We’re excited to announce this partnership with Volta, Mitacs, and ACOA. Launching a program of this caliber will provide significant opportunities in the entrepreneurial sector. We truly believe that increasing the participation of BIPOC founders in the startup ecosystem will strengthen the business community not only in our province, but globally.” – Matthew James Martel, Black Business Initiative Chief Operating Officer

Have a business idea? Every Thursday between 2pm-3pm, drop in to the BBI office to chat with one of our knowledgeable Entrepreneurial Engagement Managers and learn about how BBI can assist you at any stage of your business. Thursdays don’t work for you? Not a problem! Give us a call at 902-426-8683 and plan a visit! BLACK to BUSINESS


Winter 2021




















Black Business Initiative www.bbi.ca

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