B2B Magazine Legacy Edition Spring 2022_issue 73

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SPRING 2022

LEGACY EDITION CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE


ADVERTORIAL

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 Senior Director Creative Design and Production: Shawn Dalton Art Director: Mike Cugno Graphic Designer: Barbara Raymont

In 2012 TYSON BYARD approached CBDC Guysborough to help him get his business off the ground. The CBDC provided financing to help him buy his first truck and the business has continued to grow since then. “The support

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 Canada Post Mail Agreement

40026687

from the CBDC was appreciated, they are a great bunch of people to work with.” Tyson says owning your own business has its challenges, it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship, but he’s proud to be able to provide employment for people in his area. With five trucks on the road, the Tyson Byard Trucking logo can be found across the Maritimes delivering anything from

bbi.ca

lumber to fish to construction materials. If you see him on

Facebook: @blackbusinessns

road, give him a wave!

Instagram: @bbi_atlantic LinkedIn: Black Business Initiative Twitter: @BlackBusinessNS

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

cbdc.ca | 1-888-303-2232


LEGACY EDITION

Contents SPRING 2022

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Message from the Board of Directors

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BBI NEWS

Message from the CEO

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Two and a Half Decades On, Nova Scotia’s Black Business Initiative is Going Strong

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BBI Statistics

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Partner Showcase – RBC

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Partner Showcase – Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration

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Diversity Employment Network (DEN) Report

42

Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager’s Report

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Current Board of Directors

48

Then and Now – Board of Directors

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Board Highlights

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Then and Now – BBI Staff

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Meet the Staff Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI)

59 66

BIJ Report – Legacy Edition

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Training Report

70

Ask the BBI – Q&A

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COVER STORY Pearl Ijeoma Ejelike is Taking Halifax by Storm

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TRAILBLAZERS Jessica Bowden, Teens Now Talk

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Giovanni Johnson, Change is Brewing Co.

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BUSINESS COMMUNITY PROFILES Marven Nelligan – Marvelous Design 26 Joyce Adom – Simply Go Natural

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Dennis Mbeba – Delectable Desserts

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Cathy Akinkunmi – Eunoia Lifestyle Shop Inc.

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FEATURES Executive Summary: COVID REPORT

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Magazine and Editorial Highlights

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25th Anniversary Gala Highlights

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Formula for Success – Dr. Abdullah Kirumira

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The stories published in the Legacy issue of B2B magazine are a snapshot of a moment in time from the author’s viewpoint. Circumstances of the featured entrepreneurs and companies may have changed since the story was filed. We apologize for any inconveniences.

On the cover: Joe Parris, BBI Chair Afua Cooper, poet Barack Obama, US President Bozoma Saint John S.I. Rustum Southwell, BBI CEO

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Bridget Williams, author, community advocate Glenn Carvery, business owner Angela Johnson, communications professional Floyd Kane, film director Vinessa Antoine, actress Andreas Robinson, founder and president of Infinitus Academy, entrepreneur Tukwini Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela Marcel Desmond, advocate for equitable education for African Nova Scotian youth Gayneté Jones, G.A.M.E. Changing Industries Matthew Martel, Chief Operating Officer, BBI

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LEGACY ED

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BBI News

Message from the Board of Directors The Black Business Initiative (BBI) was established to bring change to the business landscape in Nova Scotia. From the work of a Task Force originally struck in 1995, recommendations were taken, a founding board was assembled, and staff were hired. BBI held its grand opening at Pier 22 on October 25, 1996. From its inception, BBI developed and worked around a number of strategic objectives and pillars that were informed by our Vision and Mission.

a premier business event and has attracted great inspirational business and social speakers, including Stedman Graham, Susan L. Taylor, Les Brown, Chris Gardner, Coach Ken Carter, Valerie Jarrett, and Bozoma Saint John to name a few. Business is Jammin’ (BIJ), our youth charity, has been introducing youth to entrepreneurship through innovative programming and engaging activities for over 20 years. The COVID-19 pandemic, the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have brought to the forefront a renewed emphasis on the government to confront lingering issues faced by our community. New national projects have placed BBI centre stage to deliver on initiatives that will help make a lasting impact on the Canadian Black community. These include the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) created by the Federal Government to build the capacity of Black-led, not-for-profit organizations that serve Black communities in Canada. There is also the Black Opportunities Fund (BDF), a dynamic partnership between businesses, philanthropists, foundations, and the Black community to combat the impact of anti-Black racism.

OUR VISION: A dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia business community. OUR MISSION: To positively influence Nova Scotia’s business culture by promoting and assisting in the development of Nova Scotia Black-owned businesses. We accomplish this within a cohesive framework to achieve a number of overall goals including; • economic independence of individuals; • improved standards of living; • career options for youth; • pride in communities.

As we celebrate 25 years, we must acknowledge and give thanks for the hard work and dedication of those who built the BBI. It truly did take a village — a large and diverse group of individuals and organizations, the support of our community, the original task force members, volunteer board members, staff, contractors, partners, and our government funders. None of this would have been possible without their support and engagement.

We are guided by the following principles: • every Black person who expresses an interest in starting a business is important to this Initiative; • the Black community needs business know-how, information, and skills development – not charity; • the Black business community should be fully integrated with the larger business community in order to access the necessary resources; • direct financial assistance is only one component of the BBI; • the merits of a project depend on the viability of the business case.

The future of BBI is bright! Over our 25-year history, we have brought change to the business landscape in Nova Scotia and we are now contributing to positive change throughout Canada. We will continue to support a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia business community. My sincerest thanks to our board members for giving their time and sharing their knowledge and expertise, and to our CEO, Rustum Southwell, for the strength of his leadership and his team for taking on all challenges and positively impacting our community.

The foundation BBI was built upon has enabled us to become the longest-serving Black business development initiative in Canada and to reach our 25th anniversary. Over our 25 years of operation, there have been many challenges and successes. BBI is here, we are relevant and moving forward. We have our B2B publication that tells our story, introduces our community to our employees, programs, new and successful business owners, and more. Our business directory lists all Black-owned businesses in N.S. The BBI Summit has become

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Respectfully,

Joe Parris, Chair

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Message from the CEO Addressing a community’s needs

When in our history we reflect on this exemplary organization, we will realize that being incorporated to do business development in a small province, Nova Scotia, resulted in the creation of a change agency like no other.

Let us take a little look in the rear-view mirror. It was 1996. Kofi Annan, from Ghana, was the sitting seventh secretary general of the United Nations. There was increasing recognition of the gap in business skills and opportunities for Black Nova Scotians.

We did this by focusing on our purpose and “why” we are here. Yes, we are “changing lives by enabling economic independence.”

Enter the BBI Task Force. We take great pride in the roadmap created by the BBI Taskforce led by the late Grace White, a consummate businesswoman and a true entrepreneur with incredible drive, ambition, and work ethic. The task force comprised the late Joan Jones, our own Dolly Williams, Tony Ross, and John Madison. Our Black community recognized the opportunity to address the gaps and help foster an environment that would create a “vibrant and dynamic” Black business community.

We are so proud and humbled to reflect on and celebrate 25 years of the BBI and our collective achievements while heralding that we are ramping up for the next phase of ground-breaking leadership. This is a significant milestone of boldness, ambition, strong vision, and strategy for change in business and economic development.

They tabled a report to the Ministers of the Economic Renewal Agency and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). It was presented by Wayne Adams on behalf of Premier Dr. John Savage’s provincial government to David Dingwall and then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s Federal Government.

While it has been 25 years for our organization, we must not forget that our Black business community has been a vital part of Nova Scotia’s economic and social fabric for more than 400 years. For example, when we reflect on the exemplary life of Viola Desmond, we quickly realize that while the events of Nov. 8, 1946, are recorded as a powerful moment in the history of social justice in Canada, it can be argued that the events were not Ms. Desmond’s most significant contribution to Nova Scotia. It is her entrepreneurial determination against major odds that we celebrate now.

Thus, the BBI’s roadmap was born, leading the way for the next 25 years. Instead of an umbrella organization, the founders envisioned the Black Business Initiative as the economic driver for existing local Community Socioeconomic Development (CED) organizations throughout the province. That model has served us well.

Despite enormous struggles and challenges over the years, many successful Black-owned businesses in the region demonstrated the resilience, tenacity, creativity and brilliance that is emblematic of the heart and soul of Black Nova Scotians.

We take pride in the volunteer Board members and an able staff, who for two and a half decades have served the Nova Scotian Black community very well. This was achieved by the hard work of the inaugural Board of Directors led by Hector Jacques who was quickly followed by Gordon Tynes along with many other committed folks and distinguished members who would willingly give of their time and expertise.

Our 25th anniversary milestone pulls double duty. We’re highlighting and celebrating the countless contributions of Black businesses across our region’s economy while at the same time identifying gaps, challenges, and opportunities to further amplify Black businesses in a post-COVID economic landscape.

In an environment in the late 1990s, where the expectations for successful Black business development were very low, this first board of directors set the standards very high and went on to deliver on its promises.

Our businesses are just starting to come out of the many challenges that COVID has presented the past two years. They are now able to step away from a survival mode approach with renewed energy as they explore how they can tap into new and emerging opportunities and build momentum.

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I continue to feel pride in the work that the great BBI team is doing and admire the many leaders of the past. These include Gordon

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Message from the CEO, continued

Tynes, Percy Paris, Cassandra Dorrington, and the late Dr. Rudy Ffrench, among others. It also includes those we are currently developing to take us forward. Today, the BBI is an institution for Black–owned businesses in Nova Scotia and, by extension, Canada. It is funded by the Federal government via ACOA and the provincial government via the Department of Economic Development and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI). I am particularly proud of our longstanding programs, including our youth mentoring and entrepreneurship program Business is Jammin’ (BIJ), business skills training, and ongoing business development support. Most recently, we have added some crucial new programs to our portfolio. These include the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI), of which the BBI was selected as one of four Canadian organizations to help ensure that funding and support is made available to the Black community fairly and transparently. The Atlantic Canada Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Program (BEP) was designed to apply the great work we do here in Nova Scotia and tailor it to other Atlantic provinces – to help broaden services where the need exists. In addition to these two strategies, we have designed and are delivering the Diversity Employment Network (DEN) to address issues of employment and removing barriers to equity in the workplace. BBI continues a period of growth and strategic engagement with our partners and stakeholders in Nova Scotia. There is a renewed reliance on our service delivery model by ACOA and NSBI to deliver on a shared vision for a strong, impactful, and inclusive economy. This continues to validate our relevance. We are but a voice at the forefront, celebrating Black businesses and their successes, inspiring community pride, and equipping youth to feed into the entrepreneurial ecosystem and employment streams in Nova Scotia and indeed Canada. We are gaining tremendous traction with our programs. Our national impact and presence are seen in our advocacy for and influence in the Federal Black Entrepreneurship Program and, as a founding partner in the Federation of African Canadian Economic (FACE) in addition to our work on the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) Board of Directors. Progress and momentum: A year like no other The way forward for Black business in Canada will now and forever go through Halifax.

and initiatives for Black businesses that will enable our community to emerge stronger and more prosperous than ever before. We are very fortunate to both recruit and develop great talent over the past two and a half decades. Let us continue our progress with momentum. Here’s to another 25 years. As I always say: When it rains in New York, they sell umbrellas! Respectfully,

It must! As we celebrate this milestone and look forward with momentum, let’s continue to work together and support each other as we strengthen our efforts to mobilize, energize and activate programs

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

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2022

Dear Friends: I am pleased to extend my warmest greetings to everyone celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Black Business Initiative. For 25 years, the Black Business Initiative has dedicated itself to supporting the Black business community in Nova Scotia. This “Milestone with Momentum” offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the history of your organization, celebrate your many accomplishments, and set goals for the future. I would like to commend everyone involved with the Black Business Initiative for their hard work and dedication. You can take pride in your contributions to our nation’s growth and prosperity. Please accept my best wishes for a memorable anniversary and continued success. Sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Justin P. J. Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada

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Premier’s Message

On behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, it is my pleasure to extend congratulations to the Black Business Initiative (BBI) on your 25th anniversary. Entrepreneurs are examples of what believing in yourself, your ideas, and your business can achieve. They are instrumental in stimulating social change and helping improve the standard of living for everyone. The BBI has been a catalyst in launching successful African Nova Scotian businesses by providing entrepreneurship training, funding and strategic initiatives to communities. Not only does the BBI help create economic independence for future and existing business leaders, but it contributes greatly to economic prosperity across our province. We need more organizations like the BBI to motivate people to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors. I thank you for the great work you do. Wishing you another successful 25 years. Sincerely,

Honourable Tim Houston, M.L.A. Premier

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

On behalf of the Halifax Regional Municipality, I would like to offer sincere congratulations to the Black Business Initiative (BBI) on 25 years of significant achievements and contributions that have shaped and advanced the business community in the Halifax region and beyond in immeasurable ways through its focus on supporting Black entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia. BBI’s success is a direct reflection of the innovative vision and leadership provided by founding Chief Executive Officer, Rustum Southwell, and the dedication of the entire BBI team. We look forward to working alongside you for many years to come as we celebrate continued growth and innovation within our diverse and vibrant business community. Wela’lioq, amitiés, kind regards, Jacques Dubé Chief Administrative Officer The Halifax Regional Municipality

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Impact of COVID-19 on ANS Businesses Report The Impact of COVID-19 on African Nova Scotian (ANS) Businesses Survey Report was released by the BBI. Harvi Millar, Ph.D. of Logix Consultants

Canada’s first detailed study on the impact of COVID-19 on Black businesses

Limited. Saint Mary’s University was the research consultant on the survey, which was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). The survey, the first of a two-part study, aimed, in part, to obtain knowledge that can be used to develop a comprehensive tripartite strategy for post-COVID-19 recovery of ANS businesses involving BBI, the businesses and government.

Black Entrepreneurship in Canada The history of Black entrepreneurship in Canada began with the enslavement of Africans in the 1600s. During Canada’s 200 years of enslavement, Africans were forced to provide unpaid labour. Thousands of Africans were enslaved in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. The practice of slavery took place in every county in Nova Scotia. The war of American independence (1775-83) and American Civil war in 1861-65 created conditions that led to the arrival of African Americans to Nova Scotia, first as loyalists to the British crown and then as refugees fleeing the civil war. While the loyalists were free, slavery was alive and well in Nova Scotia. Other importations saw the arrival of Jamaican Maroons who, when captured by the British after plantation revolts, were imprisoned and sent to Nova Scotia in the late 1700s.

IMPACT OF COVID-19

Many Africans were skilled artisans forced to sell their labour on the open market because of racial discrimination in hiring. This often led to confrontations between white loyalists and African Nova Scotians. This continued terror forced many African Nova Scotians underground. They eventually had to sell their skills as self-employed artisans.

ON AFRICAN NOVA SCOTIAN BUSINESSES PREPARED BY HARVI H. MILLAR PH.D., P.ENG LOGIX CONSULTANTS LIMITED.

Despite this history of racism, Black entrepreneurship began to take root and grow, eventually becoming part of the fabric of Canadian life. As more Black people migrated to Canada (The North Star) from the US seeking economic stability for their families, they found themselves excluded from fair market competition, and of necessity, devised selfreliant strategies of survival.

Visit us online at bbi.ca to read the full report.

Survey Findings This report presents the findings of a survey of the impact of Covid-19 on African Nova Scotian businesses. A total of 59 entrepreneurs participated in the study from eight counties spanning nine industrial categories. The businesses were primarily services and were small, employing less than five people. The results show that COVID-19 had a significant impact on the business community with loss of revenues; temporary and permanent closures; layoffs; low cash on hand; supplier delays; reduced operating capacity; and possible permanent shrinkage in their customer bases.

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Demographic Takeaways

COVID-19 Impact Takeaways

The responses from the survey provide great

The following are some of the takeaways

insight into the aspirations and struggles

related to the impact of covid-19.

of African Nova Scotian businesses. The

Reduced Operating Capacity

following are some of the key takeaways.

The majority of our respondents experienced a reduction in the operating capacity of their businesses.

Women-Led Entrepreneurship

Public Health Protocols

Many Black businesses are led by women. As such there is a need for gender-specific supports that consider the intersection between gender and race.

Meeting the expectations associated with Nova Scotia’s public health protocols is an ongoing issue for Black businesses as many of their services involve customer contact.

Small Size

Challenges To Business Growth

The majority of Black businesses are small in nature making scalability difficult.

The majority of our respondents are worried about short-term survival and a long-term growth. Concerns around financing, customer migration, a second wave of the pandemic are quite notable.

Youth Engagement There was a notable lack of youth participation in the study. The next generation of business owners and leaders are the youth and as such their aspirations and needs must be fully understood and catered to.

Businesses’ Needs There are several needs that must be addressed to allow for shortterm survival and subsequent growth. They include marketing, financing, services for owners with disabilities, networking opportunities, technology integration, access to new suppliers, business training, and retaining existing customers and finding new customers.

Cash-Strapped Many Black businesses are cash strapped making access to both free and affordable funding crucial requirements for growth and success among Black businesses.

Self-Financing The difficulty with securing capital from financial institutions have forced Black businesses to resort to self-financing.

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LEGACY EDITION

B2B Magazine and Editorial Highlights

A conversation with

Barack Obama addresses an audience of 9,000 people at Halifax’s Scotiabank

By Feleshia Chandler Photography contributed

Centre. BBI sponsored 100 Black youth to attend the event through the Future proud to represent Stewart McKelvey, Dalhousie University and most importantly, African Nova Scotians. I was also equally overjoyed for the opportunity to give a shout out to one of our local giants, Dr. Senator Donald H. Oliver who has since been appointed to the Order of Canada.”

Nearly 10,000 people gathered at the Scotiabank Centre on the 13th of November, last year for a sold-out event which would go down in Maritime history. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama graced the stage of the Scotiabank Centre at 6:30 p.m. for “A Conversation with Barack Obama.”

Leaders Initiative.

Candace is a Partner at Stewart McKelvey, who were platinum sponsors, and she chairs the Board of Governors at Dalhousie University, a gold sponsor. She was recently appointed Deputy Minister of Justice and the Office of Social Innovation and Integrative Approaches.

Diane Kelderman, CEO of Nova Scotia Co-Operative Council spearheaded the event as part of the council’s 70th anniversary celebration. “We wanted to do something special and we have had high profile speakers in the past.” But, it was no easy feat getting a former president to visit Halifax, a place some might call an insignificant blip on the map. “There were lots of times along the way when we felt discouraged,” intimates Diane. In the end, their persistence paid off. “Everyone thought it was a class ‘A’ event and I think and hope they were inspired.”

President Obama addressed several topics, including climate change, America - Canada relations as well as Canadian culture, all suggested by sponsors and the community and posed to the President by event moderator, Diane. “He talked a lot about our responsibility as global citizens to be a part of creating change, to be involved and to provide leadership in our communities,” says Diane.

Presenting welcoming remarks was Candace Thomas. “For the four minutes that I was on the stage that evening, I was immensely

Kane on set for Diggstown

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Summer 2020

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Trailblazers: Representation in Politics By Wanda Taylor

By Georgina Mbamalu

Photography contributed

“People have different strengths and different skills and it’s important to focus on the strengths,” she says. Tukwini’s strength is part of her lineage. Born in Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1974, she is an eldest child with two siblings. Until the age of 11 they were raised by her grandmother while their mother furthered her education.

Ross Simmonds with Tukwini Mandela moderated the event.

Natteal Battiste

Her grandmother encouraged her to be curious about life and instilled in them a strong work ethic and pride in who you are and what you do. “She taught me that even when you don’t like what you’re doing, to give a 100%.”

With some financial support from Blue Water Community Business Development Corporation, a bit of consultation with Saint Mary’s Entrepreneurship Centre, and business plan guidance from the Black Business Initiative, Nevell went from accomplished athlete to entrepreneur. Since launching in 2018, Smooth Meal Prep has served over 18,000 fitness-focused meals to clients across the Halifax Regional Municipality.

During this time, she became involved in the Loretta Saunders case. Loretta Saunders was an Indigenous student who was working on a master’s thesis on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. This thesis also included the story of Anna Mae Aquash, Battiste’s grandmother’s best friend. “Loretta had caused a huge, much needed shift at Saint Mary’s that year as hundreds of previously non-identified First Nations students surfaced.” Natteal used this momentum to become a key organizer of the memorial and aided the community in Halifax through talking circles, sacred fires and tobacco ties.

Nevell’s hard work and entrepreneurial spirit have been recognized across the business community. In 2019, he placed second in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, Atlantic. This year, he received the 2020 Family Business Association’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which recognizes and celebrates entrepreneurial innovation and leadership. The visionary entrepreneur was also selected to compete in Canada’s only national student entrepreneur competition, Enactus Canada’s Top 12 Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition presented by HSBC Bank. The competition empowers the next generation of business leaders, by bringing together young entrepreneurs who compete for a $10,000 grand prize.

Since graduating, Natteal continues to give back to the community. “My full-time job is at RBC where they give me a lot of freedom to directly work in the communities. I understood the importance of basic financial management and the lack of education our communities are faced with, so, I teach everything I learn back to my people.”

While Nevell is not quick to admit his successes, he reveals the road hasn’t been easy. As with the launch of any startup, there were risks and challenges. This being his first business venture, Nevell says there was a huge learning curve for him, and he made some rookie mistakes, particularly around regulations and food health certifications. Nonetheless, he was determined so he put in the work and navigated through those challenges until he came out victorious.

However, her community outreach doesn’t just stop at work. She spends her evenings and weekends at foster and group homes working as a youth care counselor. She is also the co-founder of the Strive to Reach Association and the Lighthouse Association, two outreach groups that support Black communities in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Their most recent projects include the delivery of over 250 “Do Not Visit” door signs to raise awareness of COVID-19 and encourage Preston residents to stay home and stay safe. “Recently, I have decided to take my passion for community work into the political sphere,” Natteal states. “This fall, I am running in the elections as a Councillor for my reserve, Acadia First Nation. I want to use my entire background and connections to give back to my communities in a meaningful way.” Natteal resides in Dartmouth with her partner, Robert, and new addition to the family, daughter, Nevelynn.

Working through the challenges gave Nevell a deeper understanding and a greater focus on what he needed to do. He learned that organizational structures and systems were essential to growing a successful business. He also learned the importance of staying on task and building a solid team of people with different skills and abilities that would help to strengthen a business’ operations. Nevell Provo, Smooth Meal Prep

Nevell Provo Smooth Meal Prep 902-448-MEAL info@smoothmealprep.com www.smoothmealprep.com

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Tukwini Mandela and Ross Simmonds

Over the years, BBI has championed young trailblazers

moderate a Business is Jammin’ (BIJ)

like Natteal Battiste, the youngest elected Council

youth event at the Halifax Central Library.

member for Acadia First Nation, and Nevell Provo, founder of Smooth Meal Prep.

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From Athlete to Celebrated Entrepreneur The well-oiled machine behind the company, Smooth Meal Prep, is Co-Founder and CEO, Nevell Provo who is from the community of North Preston, Nova Scotia. The idea was inspired by his mother and Co-Founder, Karen Provo. Karen had been preparing healthy meals for Nevell during his basketball season. To make some extra cash for a trip, she started preparing meals for ten other players, and according to Nevell, “things took off from there.”

Natteal Batiste was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up African American and Native American, her family instilled a pride in using her voice for both of her cultures. Her interest in working within the community started when she moved to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. “I was a part of activist spaces such as Idle No More and extracurricular competitions where I represented my reserve in both sports and pageants.” In 2010, Battiste moved to Halifax where she attended Saint Mary’s University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. In her final year of school, she started working as an Aboriginal Student Advisor, a role in which she helped her community’s students navigate the ups and downs of university.

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SMOOTH MEAL PREP

When you put together a young go-getter with an entrepreneurial spirit, a mom who loves to cook, and a family who lend their skills to the cause; what you end up with is one very delicious startup.

Photography contributed

In 1985, her parents moved her and her siblings to the US while they continued their studies; there she receive an education of her own. Not knowing any English, the lesson was how to fit in. She says it was ‘an experience’ but she applied herself. She learned English in six months, and attributes her strength and much growth to that time abroad.

NEVELL PROVO

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Nevell has no plans of slowing down and is already strategizing the next steps for his business, post-Covid-19 pandemic. His future plans include expanding and growing his brand beyond Nova Scotia. He is fortunate to have strong emotional support from his family who are also all hands on deck in the business. He gets a lot of motivation from community role models running their own successful businesses. One of his greatest role models is the late Nipsey Hussle, who he says came from a background similar to his own and went on to inspire whole communities through his business and entrepreneurship. To other young people trying to find inspiration, Nevell has a few words of wisdom. “Don’t be afraid to dream. Don’t be afraid to start. We started Smooth Meal Prep in my mom’s kitchen with two people. I was the cook, marketer, delivery guy, accountant, and a lot more. We delivered the food in grocery store bags. A year and a half later, we have a team of 11 employees and have sold over $250,000 worth of food.” BLACK to BUSINESS

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Valerie Jarrett

Viola Desmond

50th Issue

Issue 65 | Winter 2018

Issue 64 | Spring 2017

Issue 50 | Spring 2011

The 2017 BBI Summit featured keynote speaker Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama.

BBI was ahead of the curve in celebrating Viola Desmond’s contributions to the black business community.

Our 50th issue celebrated B2B contributors, including Peter Marsman, Shauntay Grant, Chad Lucas and Dr. Harvi Millar.

Black Cultural Centre

BBI Summit

Tukwini Mandela

Issue 52 | Fall 2011

Issue 55 | Fall 2012

Issue 66 | Summer 2018

Our cover story was the Black Cultural Centre (BCC) refresh. On the cover is curator Dr. Henry Bishop, Dr. Leslie Oliver – son of BBC founder Rev. Dr. W. P. Oliver – and Russell Grosse.

In the fall of 2012, we celebrated our BBI Business Award winners.

Our summer 2018 issue featured Tukwini Mandela, granddaughter of South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela.

On the cover: Paul Adams, Adams Photography Inc. (Entrepreneur of the Year); Darla Johnston, SLIC Laser (Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence); Nominees: Kelly Carrington, Evolution Massage Therapy; Garnet Wright, Stone Gallery; Paula Brown, Paula’s Place Tailor Shop

SUMMER 2020

SUMMER 2019

BOZOMA SAINT JOHN AN AURA OF POWER

A CONVERSATION WITH TRAILBLAZERS Chas Smith Shalyn Williams De Coteau Charles Mmoloke GEEK SPEAK Marketing Experiments Brands Can Use to Unlock New Insights

BARACK

OBAMA TRAILBLAZERS Natteal Battiste Alfred Burgesson

BUSINESS IS JAMMIN’ Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazers

GEEK SPEAK To create or not to create FEATURE Turbocharging Young Leaders into a Future of Excellent Leadership

Bozoma Saint John

Barack Obama

Summer 2019

Summer 2020

Issue 72 | Winter 2021

Bozoma Saint John, Netflix’s Chief Marketing Officer, was the keynote speaker at the 2019 BBI Business Summit.

In the summer of 2020, we celebrated President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Halifax.

Local artist Bria Miller designed this colourful cover, which highlights participants and organizers of the groundbreaking Takin’ BLK Gottingen event series.

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Black Businesses Matter


GALA HIGHLIGHTS

TWENTY-FIFTH BBI’s 25th Anniversary Gala took place on November 26, 2021 at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel. The theme was “A Milestone with Momentum.” The evening included a networking reception and vendors’ market, followed by dinner a keynote speech. The

The Drummers from Home escort Mayor Mike Savage and other dignitaries, signalling the start of the event

annual BBI awards were presented to three outstanding entrepreneurs. Tiffani Young of Natural Butter Bar displays her hair and skincare products

Here is a peek inside the sold-out event.

Ross Simmonds of Foundation Marketing delivers a dynamic keynote speech

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ANNIVERSARY GALA

BBI clients, community members, partner organizations and more came out to celebrate

Award winners, above: Eleanor Beaton receives the Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence (left) Temi Olugbenla receives the Entrepreneur of the Year award (centre) Shada Hamed receives the Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer Award (right) (Not pictured: Rudy Ffrench winner Keiara Colley)

CEO Rustum Southwell delivers closing remarks at the end of an unforgettable evening BLACK to BUSINESS

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Two and a Half Decades On, Nova Scotia’s Black Business Initiative is Going Strong Leaders across multiple industries and sectors highlight continued efforts that support Black success across Canada

The success of Nova Scotia’s Black business community is integral to the prosperity of Nova Scotia as a whole. And for 25 years, the Black Business Initiative has been the steward of that success.

Rustum Southwell CEO & Founding Member, Black Business Initiative

By D.F. McCourt The 1990s in Canada were an era of change and opportunity. For the Black business community in Nova Scotia, it was a moment to ensure that Black voices and Black potential could help fulfill the promises of Canada’s future. It was time for the labours and innovation of the province’s Black population to be explicitly recognized and grown within that community fostered. It was time for the Black Business Initiative (BBI). The Black business community has always been an intrinsic part of the broader business landscape of Nova Scotia, but the challenges faced by Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs are not always the same as those faced by other businesses and entrepreneurs. In 1995, a cadre of enterprising Black leaders formed a task force to organize that community in an official capacity for the first time and address those challenges head on. One year later, the BBI was born. “There have always been attempts to be more inclusive of the large historic African Nova Scotian communities and get them engaged in the economy,” says Rustum Southwell, CEO and founding member of the BBI. “In the environment and political climate of the ’90s, the community and many groups started conversations about what business development and, by extension, economic development, could look like. The mission and vision was to foster a vibrant and dynamic Black presence within the business community, meaning the mainstream community. In the first five years, we set out to start 60 new companies, which we did.”

This article first appeared in the National Post as part of a special interest section by @mediaplanet. Read more at www.innovatingcanada.ca. BLACK to BUSINESS

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The road to Black business development in Canada must and should go through Nova Scotia.

As a small business, it can be challenging making connections and knowing whom to turn to when you need guidance. The BBI’s support has made that challenge easier to manage. The BBI has helped to discuss strategy and make introductions to key stakeholders, and has offered opportunities that increased my exposure, network, and revenue.

Funding is just one ingredient in the recipe of success In an environment where funding and lending were the two primary tools being used to promote growth, the BBI recognized that the true nature of the need was much broader. “Business is difficult,” says Southwell. “It needs more than money. I always say that the problem is money, but money isn’t the real problem.” Without funding, the deeper issues couldn’t be resolved, but money alone also wouldn’t solve them. And so, while the BBI did work diligently on the financial side of business advancement, it focused also on underserved domains like skills development, networking, and technology. The results within the Black business community of Nova Scotia were truly astounding. It wasn’t just momand-pop businesses being empowered either — roughly 60 percent of these new businesses were creating new employment for the community as well. Word quickly spread that something amazing was happening in the Atlantic province. “Once the StatCan report came out showing the scale of the impact, folks really stood up and took notice,” says Southwell. “We started seeing folks coming out from Ontario to look at our model. People realized that there was merit in the work we were doing.”

A new era of Black business In the decades since, many things have changed in Canada, in Nova Scotia, and in the Black community. But, through it all, the BBI has continued to foster and support growth and innovation. “Our journey has not been a straight line upward,” acknowledges Southwell. “It’s been cyclical.” But it’s a cycle with a steady trajectory toward opportunity and prosperity. Today, the work of the BBI remains as important as ever, though it exists in a dramatically different landscape. Southwell points to the proliferation of highquality agencies and support structures that today’s Black business community can lean on, and how encouraging this is compared to a few decades ago. He points to the incredible growth in the amount of capital controlled by Black organizations, and the positive implications that has for opportunity. He recalls that, in 1996, the budget of the BBI was just one million dollars per year for the entire province and he recognizes how much larger the funding envelopes have grown. But none of that means the work is done. Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs still face an array of systemic barriers, and the initiatives of the BBI today are laser focused on the real needs of the community on the ground. After 25 years, it has gotten unbelievably good at identifying the optimal ways to create outsized change, such as with its Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) youth entrepreneurial initiative. “I realized, when I was in my 40s, that if I wanted to change the culture, I probably needed to start with people younger than myself,” says Southwell. “We need to get them as low as eight or nine years old because, in ten years, that kid could be the next Bill Gates. We see BIJ as one of the keys to changing the environment, and it’s already doing so.” Other BBI initiatives include the Diversity Employment Network, the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, and the Black Entrepreneurship Program, each a carefully crafted key designed to unlock a specific gate to greater Black prosperity in Nova Scotia.

As a Black entrepreneur, it’s important to have support where the people understand the barriers you face and I can happily say that the BBI has positively impacted Natural Butter Bar’s journey. Tiffani Young Owner, Natural Butter Bar

We’ve been associated with the BBI since its inception in 1996. We’ve been impressed watching the organization grow, evolve, and succeed over the years in fostering a dynamic Black business presence in Nova Scotia. We’ve benefited significantly from the opportunities that the BBI has presented to us over the years. The organization’s efforts on our behalf, with promoting us to parastatal, financing, and business stakeholders locally and internationally, are commendable. The investment our governments channel through the BBI has benefited the growth of Black entrepreneurship significantly more than any other support programs we’ve dealt with in the last 30 years. Dr. Abdullah Kirumira President & CEO, TheraPBios PHARMA LTD

The BBI was my “go to” 11 years ago with my first business in event décor. And up until now with Eunoia, I count the BBI as that organization set aside to foster growth for Black entrepreneurs. It’s again my first call for anything related to business resources to avail of. I’m grateful for the BBI’s advocacy, leadership as an organization, and availability. Cathy Akinkunmi Owner, Eunoia Lifestyle Shop

Because, from Southwell’s perspective, Black prosperity in Nova Scotia is an onramp to Black prosperity nationwide. “The road to Black business development in Canada,” he holds, “must and should go through Nova Scotia.” BLACK to BUSINESS

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BBI STATISTICS

TRAINING

2000+

LOANS

1000 in 2017 +1000 since 2017

19+ MILLION

$

YOUTH IMPACTED

$9.5 million up to 2017 +$9.5 million since 2017

2017 = 8,000 2018 = 860 2019 = 1,650 2020 = 1,000 2021 = 800

12,000+

YOUTH PROGRAMS

since inception

15+

B2B MAGAZINE

73 ISSUES

BIJ Programs

212 BLACK-LED, BLACK-SERVING NON-PROFITS FUNDED THROUGH SBCCI

since inception

SCHOLARSHIPS

11

ROUNDTABLES

32

INITIATIVES Community initiatives supported

280 102 YOUTH THROUGH BIJ

since inception

$7,186,194 IN FUNDING FOR NON-PROFITS THROUGH SBCCI

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25TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

since inception

OBAMA COMMUNITY

SUMMITS

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Trailblazers: EMPOWERING YOUTH

Jessica Bowden, M.S.M. TEENS NOW TALK MAGAZINE By Feleshia Chandler | Photography by Adams Photography Story filed: August 30, 2021 Publication date: May 4, 2022

Mother and entrepreneur Jessica Bowden, M.S.M., started the magazine Teens Now Talk with the goal of giving youth a voice and space to be seen and heard. Little did she know, the magazine would flourish and she would become a trailblazer for youth, especially Black youth in Nova Scotia. “The whole concept started back in 2002,” said Bowden. “I went to a seminar as a guest speaker to talk to some of the youth at Cole Harbour High. There were 1000-plus students there.” Bowden said through that seminar she discovered that the youth at Cole Harbour High School had a lot to say but they just weren’t being listened to. “I wrote down all the things they were saying and came back about two weeks later to another open assembly.” Bowden said the students had originally suggested they write a book, but when she returned to the school she told them, a book wasn’t going to work. She was met with boos from the young crowd but she didn’t mind because she knew how they felt. “Once again, another adult let them down, right?” Bowden let them all boo. She allowed them to let out how they felt, but then she told the students at Cole Harbour that day that she wanted to make a magazine and she wanted them and other young people to write it. “So, who’s trying to stand up and help me with this magazine?” she asked them. “We had about 200 students stand up and even to this day we have about five that are still with us.” Bowden says the name came from a student during that first seminar who stood up and said, “We should call it TNT because our words are the bomb,” and Bowden decided to turn that into the name Teens Now Talk. Teens Now Talk was born. Bowden says before having the magazine published she knew little about the publishing industry but knew she had to make it work. “Not a publisher by trade, I didn’t know how to go through the editing process but here I am years later doing what I didn’t know how to do.” Since the magazine’s inception, Bowden says Teens Now Talk has had thousands of

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“The challenging part of it was getting funding,” said Bowden. “The challenge I had was having people believe that youth can actually achieve [things like Teens Now Talk].” Bowden has transformed her life despite the challenges she faced having a child at 17 and wants to give youth “bragging rights” so that they too can feel empowered by their own accomplishments.

Not a publisher by trade, I didn’t know how to go through the editing process but here I am years later doing what I didn’t know how to do.

“I hope people will take advantage of the knowledge, take advantage of the opportunities they see happening here now,” said Bowden. “ Although Teens Now Talk was forced to close during the pandemic, Bowden says things are up and running again. Bowden has recently helped launch several businesses through her mentorship program called Levelup Academy, including Hollydrops (specializing in jewelry and accessories) as well as Rezin and Things (specializing in resin pendants). She is currently working on the UbU4U store and her Levelup mentorship program. “The power we have now, we’re getting ready to move it to another level,” said Bowden.

For more about Teens Now Talk Magazine, go to www.teensnowtalk.com youth come through its doors, featuring 300 youth each issue who submit anything from written columns to poetry, to photography to journalism. “The magazine has warped into a quarterly publication,” said Bowden. “We have 40,000 readers per quarter and 150,000 per year.” In addition to having the magazine in multiple schools across Nova Scotia, she has also been able to connect hundreds of youth through Teens Now Talk with business owners and people in their fields of interest. Bowden says she wanted the youth to not only be the heart of the magazine but also learn the skills to help them with their own projects so when they are hired at the magazine, they receive varying mentorship. “They learn photography, videography, and interviewing. They’ve spoken with CEOs. They’ve been put in situations where they’ve never dreamed they’d be. They help with our website, they help with our social media.” Bowden says the magazine not only allows young people to voice their concerns and insights but also serves as a piece of history people can look back on.

Impact Business Advisory

“The magazine is a living document. As the [political] climate changes we deal with topics that are [current].”

Start-Up & Expansion Financing

The Conversation Starts Here

Bowden says the magazine has also led to other opportunities, such as opening a youth-employed store called UbU4U in Sunnyside mall which sells “Teens Now Talk Apparel” which consists of clothing with uplifting messages as well as Black Lives Matter merchandise. The store itself focuses on empowering and employing youth. Bowden herself has worn many hats before becoming CEO of Teens Now Talk, including being a stylist, a hairdresser, entrepreneur, and has been the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal presented by Canada’s Governor General.

A Proud Employee Partner

She says when it comes to starting Teens Now Talk it was a collaborative project so it made overcoming challenges when starting out much easier. However, she did face some challenges along the way. BLACK to BUSINESS

Programming & Workshops

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Trailblazers: BUILDING LEGACIES

Giovanni Johnson GOOD ROBOT BREWER AND CO-STARTER OF CHANGE IS BREWING By Feleshia Chandler Photography by Adams Photography Bahama-born Giovanni Johnson has become one of Nova Scotia’s first Black brewers and it all started with a university class trip to the woods. “One class we went into the forest, swabbed some trees, took them back to the lab, cultured yeast, and made some apple cider.” Johnson, who now holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), was inspired by the yeast he cultivated and decided to take up home brewing as a hobby. “I went home and got a few small brew kits, fermentation kits, cider kits, wine kits, and my roommates and I started [brewing].” Eventually, Johnson decided that he would try and turn his new hobby into a profession. He applied to different breweries across the province, including North End Halifax’s Good Robot. He ended up getting the job at Good Robot, where he was able to learn the art of craft beer brewing and even start to develop his own beers with Bahamian-inspired tropical flavour profiles. In addition to brewing at Good Robot, Johnson began to pursue his own interest in infusing beverages with Bahamian-inspired tropical flavours so he, along with friends and fellow Bahamian students O’Neil Miller and Damian McCartney started Limestone Group as a way to share their Caribbean culture with Canada in the form of tropical beers. “We were feeling a little bit homesick and wanted to share some of our culture, so we partnered with the brewery I was working at, Good Robot, and started to host a few events under a company we called Limestone Group. Limestone Group began to put on events to promote their tropical drinks.

Networking is a big thing. Just hard work, you know. Put the time into your craft and don’t be scared. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just start.

They hosted one called Island Flava where they promoted their fruit-infused beer called Gimme Guava. Johnson says their events would not only be promotional but also a celebration of Caribbean culture with everything from food to live entertainment. “I would craft tropical craft beer, my friend who is a chef would make Caribbean food and another buddy who does music would be in charge of entertainment.” Johnson says their events were received well by many. “People generally liked it and had a good time at all the events we were doing.”

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Now they’ve become a locally recognized brand, appearing in cafes and breweries across the province. Johnson says since the pandemic hit, they have had to pivot to largely nonalcoholic beverages. “I started to craft what is now our tropical tea line,” said Johnson. “They’re lightly sugared, carbonated so they are nice and fizzy Johnson and his team participated in several pop-up events like Takin’ BLK Gottingen to promote their tea line and got some funding from the Black Business Initiative. Since the introduction of their tea line, they have been contacted by numerous cafes and breweries who have expressed interest in having their teas on tap. “That’s been going pretty well. We have some of our teas in five or six cafes in HRM and a few brewers have started to pick them up too.” Now, Limestone Group is looking to expand even more. “We’re looking to potentially get our products in grocery stores,” said Johnson. However, despite the success Johnson was seeing, he says it didn’t come without hard work and struggling.

“Black businesses don’t have a lot of resources or a generational pile of money. It’s just not as accessible.” Despite the success Johnson had achieved with Good Robot and Limestone Group, his entrepreneurial desires changed after news of George Floyd’s deplorable murder by police in the United States made headlines all over the world. For Giovanni, it also served as a catalyst, inspiring him to want to make a change in the world. “Pre-pandemic, me and one of my friends in the craft beer industry founded something called Change is Brewing. We basically help with diversity and inclusion in the craft beer and food service industry just because it’s under-represented,” said Johnson. “How we do that is we partner with a few different breweries and collaborate on a beverage and help with the marketing and help put it out.” Johnson says Change is Brewing is at its core a community interest company, so 60 per cent of all profits go back into community initiatives. Since forming Change is Brewing in 2020 they have collaborated with multiple brands, including Back to Birchtown, a collaboration

with Boxing Rock Brewing Company, to honour the Black Loyalists and Black Loyalist brewers that came before them. They also collaborated with Lake City Cider to create Forest Glory, whose profits were all given to BIPOC youth and community services. Since forming both Limestone Group and Change is Brewing, Johnson has met continued success and seen how what Nova Scotians have done has directly impacted local NS communities — something he says has been an uplifting experience. However, he says not being a Canadian citizen – on top of the way the pandemic has changed retail services, plus the pressure of helping to manage both businesses – has been challenging. “Networking is a big thing,” said Johnson. “Just hard work, you know. Put the time into your craft and don’t be scared. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just start.” Change Is Brewing Collective is a BIPOC collective promoting diversity & inclusion in the craft beverage industry.

Delmore “Buddy” Daye The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre tells the story of the largest and most influential communities of free Black people in the world outside of Africa from 1783 to 1791 in Nova Scotia. VISITS MUST BE PRE-BOOKED. To book your visit, please call our front desk at (902) 875-1293, spaces will be limited. In accordance with the province of Nova Scotia, all visitors to the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre must show proof of full vaccination. We also offer a virtual tour for individuals as well as organizations. For more informaiton contact (902)875-1310.

119 Old Birchtown Road Site 10, Mod. 3, Comp 14 Shelburne, NS BOT 1WO Office: (902) 875-1310 Museum: (902) 875-1293 Fax: (902) 875-1352 www.blackloyalist.com blackloyalist@blackloyalist.com

Learning Institute

Excellence in Africentric Education & Research

“II am because we are” – UBUNTU, AFRICAN PROVERB

As an Africentric Institute, our mission is to create learning opportunities for Nova Scotians of African descent. We are experts in Africentric education and research. We also focus on building government and community-based relationships and improve the understanding of Africentricity. ENGAGE WITH US!

“The Heart of your Knowledge is in your Roots”

www.dbdli.ca

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

African Nova Scotian Road to Economic Prosperity Advisory Committee We want to extend our deepest congratulations to the Black Business Initiative for reaching such an important milestone. A true institution in the community, BBI has spurred on the development of entrepreneurial-minded Black Nova Scotians for 25 years. The support, mentorship, and access to resources that BBI provides has created a community of business leaders that inspire our next generation to take up the challenge of creating and growing their own business. As we work together with BBI to help build the Road to Economic Prosperity for African Nova Scotians, we want to acknowledge and commend what your organization has already done for every African Nova Scotian to come through your doors, the impact you’ve made, and your continued commitment to the prosperity of our community. Here’s to 25 more years!

Dolly Williams & Irvine Carvery Co-Chairs

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Ali Duale, MLA, Halifax Armdale

For 25 years the Black Business Initiative has worked tirelessly to reinforce Black-owned businesses and work towards equitable participation in the economic growth of the province. 25 years of support and teaching; spreading knowledge of the local business climate and providing aid to grow the black presence in Nova Scotia’s growing business community. I want to give my thanks to everyone involved with BBI in the last 25 years. BBI is the longest-serving Black business development initiative in Canada and similar initiatives that increase people’s livelihood have spread across the country. Now, BBI has given momentum to Black businesses and my wish is for another 25 years of success. Congratulations on your 25 years of service. Thank you for your 25 years of impact.

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MARVEN NELLIGAN MARVELOUS DESIGN By Feleshia Chandler Photography by Adams Photography

Nelligan always knew he wanted to create art from a young age but what that has meant in terms of a career for him is and has been ever-changing.

Marven Nelligan Marvelous Design (902) 404-2880 www.marvelousdesign.ca

Marven Nelligan, CEO & director of Marvelous Design

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“I just create” Marven Nelligan owns Marvelous Design, a graphic design and marketing company, and is currently working on an animated series. “I just create. That’s just the way I am,” said Nelligan. Nelligan always knew he wanted to create art from a young age but what that has meant in terms of a career for him is and has been ever-changing. He received a small loan from Black Business Initiative to start his company but since then he has done many different things in the realm of graphic and art design. “Whatever means necessary I’m going to find a way to get it out there and get it done,” said Nelligan. “That’s pretty much what Marvelous Design was in the beginning, and then over time it just evolved into a full-blown, full-time business.” Since the inception of Marvelous Design, Nelligan has been busy. He has worked with many clients as well as helped to design various city projects. One of his most recognizable pieces is at the plaza of the Halifax commons near downtown Halifax. Titled the Concrete Legacy, the project depicts hieroglyphic style art of Black people in Canada and North America. It was recently featured in Canada History magazine. “It depicts the history and journey of Black people — not just Black Nova Scotians but Black people in general in North America — the oppression, slavery, and segregation and all the various struggles,” said Nelligan. “It leads up into the experience of the Black people in Nova Scotia dealing with things like Africville.” Nelligan has previously been featured twice in B2B Magazine, once in 2008 and the second time in 2010. He has also attended business summits hosted by the Black Business Initiative. Most recently, Nelligan has been involved with a project called Dear Life. Dear Life is a free online tool that people can use to capture and share the stories of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. People will be able to go onto the website and create what they call a Lifestream, for themselves, a loved one or someone who has passed away. Users can record a time capsule message for their loved ones that can be opened in the future. People can also follow the Lifestreams content of multiple people and enjoy a social feed with updates and other inspirational media from those Lifestreams. “I’ve been working with them for the past year,” said Nelligan. “It’s like the next generation obituaries. You want to commemorate and memorialize loved ones who pass away.” Nelligan says he hopes that Dear Life will become a way for people to catalogue important moments, especially the younger generation. “The idea is that when you pass away, you have this legacy left behind that generations to come can always look back on and learn about you more in-depth than they would from an obituary.” Dear Life has been open to the public since the end of 2021. Away from Dear Life, Nelligan is working on pivoting from doing strictly graphic design to starting a mentorship program called Make a Dream Endure for youth looking to enter artistic fields. “Our approach is to develop programs that mimic real-world projects,” said Nelligan. “Nobody says ‘I want to be a comic book illustrator or a journalist,” so, we want to expose them to these professions.” He says he hopes to inspire young people to see that their artistic dreams can become reality and viable careers. Although making it in this industry can be discouraging, it is fulfilling to do something you enjoy. Nelligan encourages others to work hard and let that work speak for itself. “Be the best. That should always be your goal. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, white or whatever. What’s going to get noticed is your abilities. They may hate on you for whatever reasons but, at the end of the day, they have no choice but to respect what you bring to the table.” The gifted creator cannot say much about his animated series at the moment but says it will be out soon. Look out for it.

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Ben Jessome, MLA, Hammonds Plains-Lucasville

It is with sincere excitement that I wish you, the Black Business Initiative (BBI), congratulations on celebrating 25 years of supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs! Having reached this milestone, it is evident that BBI has entrenched itself as an organization that excels at providing Nova Scotia’s Black business leaders with the network, expertise, and resources to assist in realizing economic prosperity in our province. I wish you future success and look forward to our continued allyship as we move our province forward, together.

BEN JESSOME

MLA, HAMMONDS PLAINS-LUCASVILLE

BEN JESSOME

MLA, HAMMONDS PLAINS-LUCASVILLE

 benjessome.ca  2120 Hammonds Plains Rd.  /BenJessomeNS Unit 3  jessomeben@gmail.com  benjessome.ca  2120 Hammonds Plains Rd. @JessomeBen  @BenJessome  902.404.9900  /BenJessomeNS Unit 3  jessomeben@gmail.com  902.404.9900

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 @JessomeBen  @BenJessome

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CBDC Blue Water

CBDC Blue Water values its relationship with the Black Business Initiative as we continue to grow the economies of rural communities in the Halifax Regional Municipality. We look forward to future partnerships allowing us the opportunity to help grow black-owned businesses in HRM. Congratulations on 25 Years! Chris Atwood Executive Director

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JOYCE ADOM

SIMPLY GO NATURAL

Turning a Personal Challenge into a Successful Business

By Feleshia Chandler Photography by Phebe Ajero - The Muse by Phebe Photography “I started by just making things in the house for me and my household,” said Adom. After having trouble finding products that worked for her and her children’s skin and hair, she was inspired to make her own.

For Ghanaian-Swedish mother and entrepreneur Joyce Adom, growing her company Simply Go Natural has been a long, tough, but rewarding journey. What started as a home project has over the years transformed into a business on its way to being in stores all over Canada. “I started by just making things in the house for me and my household,” said Adom. Adom says she had trouble finding products that worked for her and her children’s skin and hair so she was inspired to make her own. Adom decided to make organic oil and butter-based hair and skin products, primarily for kinky and curly hair, derived from things like jojoba, shea butter, avocado, and other vegetables. She also wanted to make her products non-toxic due to the fact that one of her two sons dealt with autism and often enjoyed eating her hair and skin products. “He was just tasting everything, for some reason he liked the toxic ones. I wasn’t really curious about what was in my products,” said Adom. “When he started eating them I became more conscious and it made me think I need to have an alternative for him.” Adom says her son also had asthma and eczema which made her desire to keep chemicals away from him even stronger. In 2016, Adom decided to try and sell her homemade products to others locally. “It was initially for my family and then I started going to the farmers’ market to test out selling it.” Little did Adom know, the farmers’ market would not only be her gateway into the entrepreneurial world but would be instrumental in catapulting her business forward. At the farmers’ market, she was discovered by CBC Halifax reporter Colleen Jones. Jones proceeded to interview her and publish a story about Adom’s products, something she says is one of the highlights of her entire entrepreneurial career so far. “It was a very beautiful experience because I was in the discovery stage trying to figure everything out,” said Adom. “At the time it was a passion, more like a hobby so when she featured me it gave me more confidence to know that my product really was more than what me and my family use.” Adom says since then the business has been growing and she has been able to attend numerous hair expos and gatherings to showcase her products. “Right now, we have the products in Sobeys,” said Adom. “We have [them in] 12 Sobeys now [including] most of the big Sobeys in Halifax and Dartmouth.” However, Adom says she faced some hardships along the way.

Photo contributed.

“I’ve had a journey that most entrepreneurs face, especially Black, which is finance, no guidance, no mentorship. So, it made the journey longer,” said Adom. “It made it more painful, more frustrating.” Adom says in terms of leadership training and mentorship she has only gotten that recently.

Joyce Adom

“I didn’t get what I needed at the start-up stage but right now I’m embracing the support that I’m able to get.”

Simply Go Natural

Adom also says her business, like many others, was hit hard during the pandemic.

www.simplygonatural.com

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“It was terrible. Nothing was happening,” said Adom. “No one was really even buying but by the end of [2020] I was able to get some online training. So, by the end of the year things started picking up again.” But Adom says she has since been able to recover and is working on getting her products into more retail stores across Canada. She is currently working on getting her products on shelves in New Glasgow. Adom says as of now she has no plans to open her own dedicated store because she plans on getting the products into grocery stores where they are more easily accessible to many people. “It’s more of the retail stores I’m reaching out to now too. We’re in Sobeys now, [so we want to] roll it out in all the Sobeys in all provinces in Canada.” “When I came here I realized in terms of Black businesses I couldn’t find many,” said Adom. “I feel like I want to keep going and be successful just to be a role model for others, to push through, to break down the wall so I’m pushing harder so that others too can follow.” Adom encourages entrepreneurs, especially ones of colour, to keep going despite the bumpy road they may face. “I encourage them to reach out, get involved, and tap into the resources being given to them.”

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BBI PARTNER SHOWCASE Equipping Future Leaders

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. They are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities.

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RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. RBC Future Launch is a catalyst for change-bringing people together to co-create solutions so young people are better prepared for the future of work. Through this program, BIJ has been able to partner on many programs such as:

BIJ ICODE The purpose of the RBC iCode+ Program is to teach coding to youth (ages 15-19) in African Nova Scotian and other minority communities. This FREE program is designed to engage learners with hands-on coding exercises. It introduces students to the use of opensource software and hardware to code robots, thus keeping the program exciting! The program will run in 8 week segments. At the early stage of the program, participants learn the fundamentals of coding, and as the modules advance, the level of coding increases. Participants will learn how to control current, voltage, and resistance using combinations of hardware and code. They will be introduced to 3D computeraided design drawing and printing, and by the end of the program, they would have built an autonomous robot.

Experiences in Entrepreneurship Experience in Entrepreneurship is a program that explores career possibilities and introduces entrepreneurship at the postsecondary level to high school students. During this day-long program, high school students are invited to spend the day on a university campus and are engaged through hands-on learning with departments, students, staff, and faculty.

Entrepreneurs’ Mentorship Project The Entrepreneurs’ Mentorship Project is a 4-month program designed to support young Black entrepreneurs who are interested in launching or growing a small business. The project offers the opportunity to learn essential business and financial skills through interactive workshops and business coaching while developing the confidence required to run a successful business.

Young Entrepreneurs’ Networking Event The Young Entrepreneurs’ Networking Event is an opportunity for young Black entrepreneurs and small business owners to meet and connect with one another. Whether participants are entrepreneurs, small business owners, legal or medical professionals, in the finance, real estate or entertainment industries – this networking event will offer the perfect occasion to expand one’s business, social or enterprise contacts.

RBC STEM Bootcamp STEM skills are required to be competitive in today’s global era. Knowledge in STEM fields are in higher demand than ever before. The STEM Entrepreneurship Bootcamp is a week-long summer camp designed to empower African Nova Scotian high school students to take charge of their futures by providing access to educational, mentorship, leadership and experiential learning skills that are required to succeed in the modern workforce. Because technological and scientific innovations affect our lives and provide economic benefits, youth should be equipped with STEM knowledge, skills, and abilities. BLACK to BUSINESS

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Dalhousie University

On behalf of Dalhousie University, it is my pleasure to congratulate the Black Business Initiative on its 25th Anniversary. This is a significant milestone that marks a long history of commitment to supporting the Black business community in the province, and through this vital work, creating a stronger and more vibrant Nova Scotia for all. I look forward to seeing the BBI’s continued momentum in the years to come.

Deep Saini President and Vice-Chancellor

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Develop NS

On behalf of the board and team at Develop Nova Scotia, we congratulate and celebrate the Black

Nicole Lapierre Photography

Business Initiative on their 25th anniversary. As a former board member and long-standing community partner, Rustum’s vision has influenced some of our most popular public spaces, including the Halifax Waterfront. Now the amazing team at BBI, who we proudly work alongside, are changing the landscape of Nova Scotia to make it a place where everyone can participate and belong. We are a proud partner and we proudly celebrate Black businesses across Nova Scotia. Congratulations on 25 years.

Jennifer Angel President & CEO and the team at Develop Nova Scotia

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BBI PARTNER SHOWCASE

Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration The Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration (LSI) helps jobseekers prepare for opportunities and build the skills they need to obtain employment. LSI promotes safe work environments and helps employers and employees get informed about their rights and responsibilities. LSI works with various partner organizations and all levels of government to support individuals who have immigrated to Nova Scotia. The department also supports the labour market by providing career information, employment services and more. BBI has partnered with the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration on many programs, including: • BBI Business Skills Training • Kickstart Events •

Culinary Journey

BBI Business Skills Training We provide free business and professional development opportunities to Black and racialized entrepreneurs and employees. These programs are strategically selected to accommodate market trends. The programs specifically address client needs, helping to build the skills, knowledge, and confidence of our participants. Training offerings are delivered through 11-week programs, workshops, webinars, conferences, business consultations, and more.

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Our Training department provides a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year. These activities engage our clients and support their business growth, the expansion of their professional networks, their leadership abilities and other key entrepreneurship skills. Some of these training opportunities include workshops and lunch & learns co-hosted with partners who have expertise on various business topics. We subsidize costs or—thanks to the generosity of our partners—provide tickets to educational and empowering conferences or networking events.


Culinary Journey The Culinary Journey was a pathway to Red Seal certification in the culinary arts industry for African Nova Scotians. The program provided essential personal development skills and key support to help build the knowledge and confidence of participants while giving them relevant work experience in the sector. The program intended to increase the number of African Nova Scotians participating in the sector while addressing the industry’s perennial shortage of qualified chefs.

Kickstart Events We also partnered with LIS on Kickstart Events. These were a series of one-day events designed to highlight, promote, and increase understanding about the skilled trades and the apprenticeship system. The idea to host Kickstart came out of the community meetings that the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA) hosted in collaboration with community organizations across the province in 2017 and 2018.

The Promise Scholars initiative is increasing diversity in business schools across Atlantic Canada. Mount Allison recently announced new financial support for current BIPOC students. We would like to thank Emera for generously funding three $1,500 awards for three years through their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund. The first Emera BIPOC Returning Student Awards were given out in February 2022.

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Pearl Ijeoma Ejelike BLACK to BUSINESS

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The Hair Extension Specialist

Storm TAKING HALIFAX BY

A

By Gertrude Tumusime

Photography by Adams Photography

“Well, we’re not there yet but that’s the goal,” she says with the optimism of a person who has witnessed her business grow from a home-operated hair extension side gig to a full-fledged beauty label.

t five years of age, Pearl Ijeoma Ejelike loved Saturdays more than any other day of the week.

“When we were done cleaning the house, I knew I had paid my dues to my parents, so I would go and get a bucket, soak my toes and hands, and have complete pedicures and manicure.” This is Ejelike’s earliest memory of her fascination for beauty.

Born in Nigeria and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Ejelike moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2010. In Melbourne, she was a project manager for an insurance company by day, a hairstylist by evening, and a nurse by night. On arriving in Canada, she got in touch with the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia ­— the regulating body for all cosmetologists in the province — to get licensed.

Like a fueled flame, this fascination only blazed with age. Soon, she would be cutting her own hair, replicating hairstyles she had seen in the lifestyle and beauty magazines she collected using her pocket money.

She worked with TD Bank while selling hair extensions on the side but soon realized she could do more.

“I would see all these beautiful hairstyles and I wanted to recreate them on my own hair.”

“When people bought my extensions, they often asked me to install them. I realized I might as well just start a salon and do what I love.” This would be a bold move for the then-mother of two who dreamed of creating a legacy for her children.

Often, the styles didn’t turn out as nice as in the fancy magazine pictures, but that did not deter the ambitious young girl. Today, Ejelike is an entrepreneur, a certified cosmetologist, a hair extension specialist and educator, among others. The mother of three owns one of Halifax’s renowned beauty brands, and – even though she is not quick to admit it – Ela Lani Extensions and Hair Salon is a household name.

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“I wanted to show my children that there is strength in owning something. If you have a vision, you have to give it life, create your own path.” Ejelike believes “this is how we create generational wealth.”

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Ejelike’s hair extension business did so well. She saved $10,000 which enabled her to transition from her bank job to starting a hair salon in 2015. This, in between caring for two toddlers, and helping her husband start his own shipping company.

With the $10,000 savings, Ejelike purchased equipment for the business but needed a buffer to prepare for any eventualities. BBI loaned her $5,000 which secured her rent while the business picked up.

Ejelike is now a certified master stylist, owing to her over 14 years of experience in the field.

Within a short time, Ela Lani Extensions and Hair Salon was up and running and Ejelike’s first task was to win over people’s trust.

“I started in a small boutique salon, and my idea was to create a space that would generate that feeling of luxury that everyone longs for when they go to a salon.”

“Meeting people as a Black girl with a different accent was so scary. Getting them to believe in what I had to say, and then watch me walk my talk, I believe is what has won them over.”

Starting a business in a new land and as a Black woman, meant that Ejelike had to break through several barriers. She didn’t know where to find the resources, so naturally, she went looking for Black business organizations.

Arguably the best hair extension specialist in Halifax today, Ejelike is not afraid to blow her own trumpet as an innovator who is inventing new ways of doing things in the hair extensions industry.

Thankfully, Ejelike did not have to walk this journey alone. When she knocked on the Black Business Initiative’s door, it opened — wide.

Ela Lani Hair Extensions and Hair Salon welcomes people of all races with all kinds of hair needs. “My goal is to encourage people to love their hair in every state,” Ejelike says.

“I approached two organizations but BBI got back first. They placed me with an amazing entrepreneurship manager who was and continues to be supportive, nurturing, and made sure I got everything I needed.”

Ejelike is taking her children along on the journey, teaching them her craftsmanship, how the business runs, and the highs and lows because she believes they need to understand the struggle in order to appreciate it.

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business, something that has helped her continue to serve her clients despite the lockdowns.

It is not only her children she is taking along. She offers free private training for people interested in learning about hair at her salon and through the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia. She most recently has been running natural hair care classes for people with afro-textured hair in conjunction with the Association. So much about Ejelike’s work gives her a feeling of accomplishment but perhaps the most important is being able to empower and mentor other women. “Watching the women I help train receive their licenses as professional natural hair stylists gives me so much joy.” Ejelike’s aspiration is to create a space where she will be able to build up other women through large-scale mentorship programs because she believes it is important that women get a seat at the table.

“BBI has been an amazing support system,” says Ejelike Over the course of running this business, Ejelike has benefited from several other resources from BBI including professional advice, training, promotions, and valuable information on the Black business landscape.

BBI is a voice for us. I feel like there are certain things or benefits that we may not know but BBI standing at the frontline for us gives us space at the table.

Ejelike is grateful for BBI. “BBI is a voice for us. I feel like there are certain things or benefits that we may not know but BBI standing at the frontline for us gives us space at the table.” Says Ejelike.

To people planning to start a business, Ejelike says “If you have to take a loan, make it work for you so you don’t have to work for it.

The journey however has not been all rosy. The COVID-19 pandemic was such a blow to Ejelike’s business. Fortunately, BBI supported several Black-owned businesses to help them build online operations.

As an educator, Ejelike spends so much time helping clients understand their hair and debunking hair care and health myths. The positive feedback she receives keeps her going. “It gives me the greatest satisfaction. I feel like my clients are like my family.”

Ela Lani was one of the beneficiary businesses. With this support, Ejelike was able to pay someone to create a better website for her

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She recently went to a pop-up market organized by BBI to promote her business and learnt that, going forward, she needs to do more community outreach to garner more publicity.

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Diversity Employment Network Report High Demand and a Great Promise The Diversity Employment Network (DEN) is an initiative of Black Business Consulting (BBC) that seeks to address several issues of significance common to the African Nova Scotia community. Specifically, the prevalence of unemployment and under-employment, high poverty levels and higher-thanaverage percentages of low-income households. The key activities of DEN are recruitment services, diversity and inclusion advisory services for employers, mentorship, interview readiness training and professional development and board governance training. ServiceNow – Certified System Administrator (CSA) DEN aims to provide ServiceNow training to individuals in our community to take advantage of the increasing opportunities that have arisen due to increased demands for the certification. The CSA exam is the first step to beginning a ServiceNow career. ServiceNow presents one of the greatest opportunities in IT at the moment. Founded in 2012 as an IT ticketing tool, it has since grown beyond this scope and into an enterprise

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workflow and automation tool – placing it at the heart of many digital transformation initiatives. Without a doubt, the demand for ServiceNow Consultants is exploding and promises a stable career in the IT industry. Three cohorts ran between December 2021 and March 2022. Each cohort will took part in a 5-week course after which the exam was written. The first cohort started December 11, 2021, with 18 participants. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Project management is a rapidly growing profession. Research indicates that employers will need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027. The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is an entry-level certification for project practitioners, designed for those with less experience. This is a 12-week course and the first cohort started December 13, 2021, with 15 participants. Another cohort started in January, sponsored by Nova Scotia Power.

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EEM Report The biggest impact during the last five years has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected every walk of life and the way that we live. The world literally shut down in March 2020. So, many business owners had to pivot and think outside the box as to how their business would survive these unprecedented times. Black business owners were able to manage this and, to date, not a single Black-owned business in Nova Scotia had to close its doors because of the pandemic. BBI commends them for their diligence and determination in forging towards a better tomorrow. Throughout this pandemic, we were able to offer a Consulting Grant. Black Nova Scotian business owners could apply for up to $5,000 in funding to assist with consultancy services to help their business. This initiative was funded by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI). Through this, we were able to help 46 business for a total of $169,795. BBI client Tiffani Young, founder of Natural Butter Bar, won the 2022 Halifax Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year Award. Also pictured: CEO Rustum Southwell and Cynthia Dorrington, BBI board member and former chair of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Harvi Millar was engaged to conduct a survey titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on African Nova Scotian Businesses” for Black business owners. There were 59 participants and 55 completed surveys. This was also funded by ACOA & NSBI. The full report can be found on our website (www.bbi.ca). Two initiatives undertaken to help support local Black-owned business this summer were: 1. Halifax Shopping Centre: Every weekend from Jul. 16, 2021 to Sept. 24, 2021, Halifax Shopping Centre made kiosks available to Black businesses for pop-up shops. This was an amazing opportunity for businesses to get exposure for their products in a high-traffic mall.

BBI hosts the Shop on Spring Garden outdoor vendor’s market — 2016

2. Halifax Waterfront: On June 19, many people of African descent celebrate Juneteenth, a day for acknowledging the emancipation of African American slaves. BBI, in partnership with Develop Nova Scotia, offered nine chalets at the Salt Yard Too on the Halifax Waterfront for Black businesses to sell their products with amazing support. The chalets were also made available to the businesses on Jul. 23-25, Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 24-26.

Visit us at: The Promise Scholars initiative is increasing diversity in business schools across Atlantic Canada.

bbi.ca

At Mount Allison, the Promise Scholars initiative will help support the Kavana Wa Kilele Fund, a new fund in honour of recent student Kavana Wa Kilele who passed away suddenly in 2021. The Fund will establish a bursary to be awarded on the basis of need to a Black student who exemplifies the spirit of her activism and commitment to social justice. Students in all programs will be eligible. To donate to the Kavana Wa Kilele Fund, visit mta.ca/donate

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Downtown Halifax Business Commission

Downtown Halifax Business Commission would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Black Business Initiative on your 25-year milestone. Your work, being a champion for Black-owned businesses in the city, has made the downtown, and our city, a better place. From one business champion to another, here’s to the next 25 years!

Paul MacKinnon, CEO

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Volta

Congratulations to our outstanding partner, Black Business Initiative, on 25 years of excellence in Atlantic Canada. We are thrilled for all of your accomplishments, and we can’t wait to see what BBI achieves in the future. Thank you for your continuous contribution to diversity, inclusion, equitable participation and economic prosperity in our region!

Martha Casey, CEO

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Dr. Abdullah Kirumira

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A Formula for Success High-achieving Dr. Abdullah Kirumira shares his story of innovation and mentorship By Wanda Taylor | Photography by Adams Photography

While we continue to make inroads toward the dismantling of historically inequitable systems that have kept prosperity and success out of reach for many Black entrepreneurs, it is important to pause and take another look at those who have broken through those systems and continue to thrive. It is a welcomed reminder that while progress at times may feel too slow, Black businesses continue to flourish and grow.

products to aid in the treatment of disease in areas that include brain health and repair, bone, joint, vision and immune support, and skin and anti-aging products. The research is innovative, and the products are in the testing phase. The emerging results are promising and are what motivate and excite this driven scientist. Dr. Kirumira agrees there is a lack of Black people in his profession, and in the medical field as a whole. In his experience, he has largely been the only one in the room at conferences. He suggests that mentorship is an important way to get Black youth interested in the sciences and bring more into the fold. Having come from a Ugandan family of medical minds, Dr. Kirumira also believes in employing Black workers that he can take under his wing. As a serial entrepreneur, Dr. Kirumira shares valuable advice for emerging Black entrepreneurs that he says helped him to achieve in business.

Dr. Abdullah Kirumira was first interviewed by BBI back in 2002. At that time, the scientist was the founder and CEO of BioMedica Diagnostics in Windsor, Nova Scotia; an innovative company leading the way in researching, developing, and manufacturing rapid diagnostic systems and equipment. If it sounds like a big deal, that’s because it is. While heading BioMedica, Dr. Kirumira invented the first rapid-acting HIV diagnostic test in 1993. That achievement garnered him The Economist’s Innovation Award in the U.K. in 2007, under the bioscience category.

“Don’t give up. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes to you. And ignore the haters that will try to stand in your way.”

“It’s a very prestigious honour to be admitted into the London Museum of Science as an innovator.”

That’s a fitting formula for success.

Others who have received the award include Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The scientist is humbled to be in such company. But when one glances upon all the incredible accomplishments of Dr. Kirumira, there would be no doubt that his name certainly belongs there among that high calibre of great minds.

Dr. Abdullah Kirumira was first interviewed by BBI back in 2002.

A deeper dive into the backstory of this innovator reveals that it was during a visit on a docked boat in Baltimore promoting Nova Scotia that his interest in the province was piqued. At first, Dr. Kirumira thought Nova Scotia may have been located somewhere in the U.K. Then his son found it on the map, jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Kirumira was shocked to discover that the province was only a few hours away from where he lived in the U.S. By 1990, Dr. Kirumira had packed up his family and moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where he accepted a position at Acadia University. More than thirty years later, the province that stole his heart is still the place he calls home. While Dr. Kirumira has made incredible contributions to the province in the field of biotechnology, he is also quick to point out the many ways in which Nova Scotia and organizations like BBI and others have provided tremendous support to him along his entrepreneurial journey. “The Black Business Initiative here, I have been working with them for over 25 years now, and they have been very helpful with networking. They even connected me to clients in the Caribbean,” he says. Although technically retired, Dr. Kirumira has never slowed down. Over the course of a few decades, Dr. Kirumira has founded and run four successful businesses, including his current endeavor, TheraPBios Pharma. His company is presently developing BLACK to BUSINESS

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Current Board of Directors The Board of Directors determines governing policies and ensures that the Black Business Initiative’s business affairs are conducted in accordance with good governance practices. The board steers the strategic direction of the organization and appoints the Chief Executive Officer who, in turn, is responsible for the general management and direction of the organization. Traditionally, board members are selected and announced at the Annual General Meeting unless there is a mid-year vacancy. Recommendations can come from the board, staff, or community. Recommendations are brought to the board and a board vote is initiated.

Rustum Southwell Ex-officio

BBI has five boards: BBI Board of Directors Black Business Enterprise (BBE) • Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd. (BBCIFL) • Black Business Consulting (BBC) • Business is Jammin’ (BIJ)

Black Business Initiative

• •

Yemi Akindoju President/CEO Vanity Fashions Ltd. Director

Issmat Al-Akali President/CEO Black Sheep Projects Director

Black Business Initiative Black Business Enterprise

Black Business Consulting

Cassandra Dorrington President Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CANSA) Director

Cynthia Dorrington President Vale & Associates Chair

Vice Chair

Carlo Simmons Vice President Simmons Paving Company Past Chair

Business is Jammin’ Black Business Enterprise Black Business Consulting

Black Business Initiative Black Business Enterprise Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Mapfumo “Maps” Chidzonga Director

Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu Executive Director CANSA Director

Andrew de Freitas National Account Manager CN Director

Black Business Initiative

Black Business Initiative

David Eisnor Past Chair

Burtley Francis Partner Stewart McKelvey Director

Greg Browning Director Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Business is Jammin’

Denise Doucet Director

Kenny Duncan Regional Director Small Business Development Scotiabank Director

Black Business Consulting

Black Business Enterprise

Black Business Enterprise

Black Business Initiative

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Joe Parris Manager Revenue Collections Chair

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Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Black Business Initiative

Black Business Initiative


Charisma Grace Director Black Business Consulting

Margo Hampden Workplace Program Officer Provincial Government Director

Andrea Jackson Director

Grace Jefferies-Aldridge Director

Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Bruce Johnson Director Black Business Initiative

Business is Jammin’

Nicole Johnson-Morrison President/CEO EduNova Cooperative Director Black Business Consulting

Black Business Initiative

Chair Diversity Employment Network

Barbara Miller-Manning Founder MILLERMANNING Chair Black Business Consulting

Greg Nazaire Director

Njabulo Nkala Director

Samantha Parris Director

Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Business is Jammin’

Sylvia Parris CEO Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute Chair

Shakara Russell Director Business is Jammin’

Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Vivek Sood Director

George Swaniker Director

Black Business Consulting

Black Business Initiative

Marissa Walter Director

Tracey Thomas Director, Government & Community Relations Chair

Business is Jammin’

Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd.

Business is Jammin’

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Paul Walter Lawyer Waterbury Newton Director

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Deborah Windsor Retired Director Black Business Initiative Black Business Enterprise


Board Highlights The work at BBI could not happen without the dedication of our volunteer board members. Their commitment has been the catalyst for all of BBI’s achievements throughout the past 25 years. In this anniversary issue, we are highlighting two of our most dedicated and decorated board members: Hector Jacques and Cassandra Dorrington.

Hector Jacques Photography contributed Hector Jacques is known for his engineering skills, environmental science insights, and business acumen. He received his Bachelor of Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, India in 1966, and a Master of Engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS) in 1968. He established the Jacques Whitford Group of Companies in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1972. Presently, he is its president, chief executive officer and principal geotechnical engineer. Throughout the years, he has received numerous awards, including: the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia’s (APENS) Engineering Award (for distinctive achievement in the practice of Engineering); the national Beaubien Award, which represents the highest mark with distinction for exceptional service to the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada (ACEC) and Canada’s 125th Anniversary Medal (1993) for significant contribution to compatriots, the community and Canada. Jacques Whitford was also listed among Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies Award in 1993. Hector became a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1994. He received the Order of Canada in 2007.

Cassandra Dorrington Photography contributed Cassandra Dorrington is the president & CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council – CAMSC. Leading the charge of championing business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginal and Minority suppliers, Cassandra has expanded the CAMSC brand, both nationally and internationally. This has resulted in significant growth and impact in the Canadian marketplace. At CAMSC, Cassandra leads efforts to promote and facilitate procurement opportunities between Canadian and US corporations and businesses owned, managed, and controlled by Indigenous Persons and People of Colour. With Cassandra at the helm, the corporate member base has increased by 175%, resulting in a diverse base covering many industries across the continent. Known for her business and community involvement, Cassandra has been named one of Diversity Canada’s

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Influential Women in Diversity and HR. She sits on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) for the Government of Canada, is a board member with Elevate International, and sits on the Dalhousie University Board of Governors. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Sobey School of Business Advisory Board at Saint Mary’s University, the Mount Saint Vincent University Board of Governors, King’s College Board of Governors’ Racial Equity Committee, the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, Techsploration and Veith House. She is former board chair for organizations including CPA Canada, CMA Canada National Board and Adsum House. Among her many accolades, Cassandra received the Canadian Progress Club’s Woman of Excellence Award in 2010 and was named one of Atlantic Canada’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2021.

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BBI Then and Now – Board Members TASK FORCE MEMBERS 1995 Joan Jones John Madison Tony Ross Grace White Dolly Williams CHAIRS 1996–PRESENT Joe Parris 2020–Present Carlo Simmons 2018–2020 Cynthia Dorrington 2013–2018 Greg Browning 2010–2013 Cassandra Dorrington 2006–2010 Garnet Wright 2005–2006 Mike Wyse 2003–2005 Barbara Miller-Manning 2001–2003 Gordon Tynes 1997–2001 Hector Jacques 1996–1997 2020–2021 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rustum Southwell Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Yemi Akindoju Deborah Windsor Carlo Simmons Bruce Johnson Burtley Francis Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu Kenny Duncan Margo Hampden Andrew De Freitas Amanda Sparkes BBE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Cynthia Dorrington Deborah Windsor Paul Walter Rustum Southwell Sylvia Parris Tracey Thomas Yemi Akindoju Carlo Simmons BBCIFL BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rustum Southwell Andrea Jackson Ann Divine David Eisnor Greg Nazaire Joe Parris Paul Walter Sylvia Parris-Drummond BIJ BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rustum Southwell Tracey Thomas Joe Parris Marissa Walter Samantha Parris Shaquille Smith Jocelyn Dorrington

BBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rustum Southwell Paul Walter Barbara Manning-Miller Denise Doucet Issmat Al-Akhali Nicole Johnson-Morrison Saeed El-Darahali Vivek Sood

2018–2019 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . Chair Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . Past Chair Rustum Southwell . . . Vice Chair Jocelyn Dorrington . . . . . Member Marissa Walter . . . . . . . . Member Samantha Parris . . . . . . . Member BBE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington . . . . . Chair Cynthia Dorrington . . . Secretary / . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Treasurer Rustum Southwell . . . Vice Chair, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (Interim) Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . Member Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . Member Sylvia Parris-Drummond . . Member Deborah Windsor HR & Governance Yemi Akindoju . . . Audit and Risk

2019–2020 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Carlo Simmons . . . . . . . . . . Chair Amanda Sparkes Bruce Johnson Burtley Francis Cynthia Dorrington Deborah Windsor Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu Joe Parris Ross Simmonds Rustum Southwell Yemi Akindoju

BBC BOARD MEMBERS Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Rustum Southwell CEO (Interim), . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice Chair Milton Williams . . . . . . . Member Barbara Miller-Manning . . Member Nicole Johnson-Morrison . Member Saeed El-Darahali . . . . . . Member

BBE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Cynthia Dorrington Deborah Windsor Paul Walter Rustum Southwell Sylvia Parris Tracey Thomas Yemi Akindoju Carlo Simmons

BBCIFL BOARD MEMBERS Sylvia Parris-Drummond . . . Chair David Eisnor . . . . . . . . Past Chair Ann Divine . . . . . . . . . Vice Chair Andrea Jackson . . . . . . Treasurer Miranda Mavhunga . . . . Secretary Greg Nazaire . . . . . . . . . Member Greg Browning . . . . . . . . Member Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . Member Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . Member Rustum Southwell . . . . . Member Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . Member

BIJ BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jocelyn Dorrington Joe Parris Marissa Walter Rustum Southwell Samantha Parris Shaquille Smith Tracey Thomas

2017–2018 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cynthia Dorrington . . . . . . . Chair Yemi Akindoju . . . . . . . Treasurer Deborah Windsor . . . . . . Member Ross Simmonds . . . . . . . Member April Howe . . . . . . . . . . . Member Burtley Francis . . . . . . . . Member Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu . Member Leslie Amegavie . . NSBI Resource Matthew Johnson .Resource Member Rustum Southwell . . . . . . .CEO (Interim)/Ex-Officio Charles Sheppard . . . . . . Member

BBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Barbara Manning Issmat Al-akhali Milton Williams Nicole Johnson-Morrison Paul Walter Rustum Southwell Saeed El-darahali BBCIFL BOARD OF DIRECTORS Andrea Jackson Ann Divine David Eisnor Greg Browning Greg Nazaire Joe Parris Njabulo Nkala Paul Walter Rustum Southwell Sylvia Parris-Drummond

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BBE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington . . . . . Chair Cynthia Dorrington . . . . Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Treasurer Rustum Southwell . . . Vice Chair, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (Interim) Paul Walter, Member Joe Parris, Member

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David Eisnor, Member Deborah Windsor . . . . . . . . . . . .HR & Governance Yemi Akindoju, Audit and Risk BBCIFL BOARD OF DIRECTORS David Eisnor . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Sylvia Parris . . . . . . . . . Secretary Greg Nazaire . . . . . . . . Treasurer Ann Divine . . . . . . . . . . . Member Greg Browning . . . . . . . . Member Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . Member Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . Member Andrea Jackson . . . . . . . Member Rustum Southwell . . . . . Member Miranda Mavhunga . . . . . Member Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . Member BIJ BOARD OF DIRECTORS Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Rustum Southwell CEO (Interim), . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-Chair Jocelyn Dorrington . . . . . Member Bruce Johnson . . . . . . . . Member Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . Member Keisha Jefferies . . . . . . . Member Terry Dixon . . . . . . . . . . . Member Samantha Parris . . . . . . . Member BBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Rustum Southwell CEO (Interim), . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice Chair Carlo Simmons . . . . . . . . Member Milton Williams . . . . . . . Member Barbara Miller-Manning . . Member Nicole Johnson-Morrison . Member Dr. Mary Kilfoil . . . . . . . . Member Saeed El-Darahali . . . . . . Member 2016–2017 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cynthia Dorrington . . . . . . . Chair Eleanor Beaton . . . . . . Vice Chair Yemi Akindoju . . . . . . . Treasurer Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . CEO Deborah Windsor . . . . . . Member Ross Simmonds . . . . . . . Member April Howe . . . . . . . . . . . Member Charles Sheppard . . . . . . Member Burtley Francis . . . . . . . . Member Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu . Member Dale Proude . . . . . NSBI Resource Matthew Johnson .Resource Member Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA BBE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington . . . . . Chair Cynthia Dorrington . . . Secretary / . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Treasurer Rustum Southwell . Vice Chair, CEO Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . Member Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . Member David Eisnor . . . . . . . . . . Member Deborah Windsor . HR & Governance Yemi Akindoju . . . Audit and Risk


BBI Then and Now – Board of Directors BIJ BOARD OF DIRECTORS Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Rustum Southwell . . . . Vice Chair Jocelyn Dorrington . . . . . Member Bruce Johnson . . . . . . . . Member Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . Member Keisha Jefferies . . . . . . . Member Terry Dixon . . . . . . . . . . . Member Samantha Parris . . . . . . . Member BBCIFL BOARD OF DIRECTORS David Eisnor . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Sylvia Parris . . . . . . . . . Secretary Gregory Nazaire . . . . . . Treasurer Greg Browning . . . . . . . . Member Joe Parris . . . . . . . . . . . . Member Rustum Southwell . . . . . Member Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . Member Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . Member Ann Divine . . . . . . . . . . . Member Miranda Mavhunga . . . . . Member Andrea Jackson . . . . . . . Member BBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Walter . . . . . . . . . . . . Chair Rustum Southwell . . . . Vice Chair Carlo Simmons . . . . . . . . Member Milton Williams . . . . . . . Member Issmat Al-Akhali . . . . . . . Member Barbara Miller-Manning . . Member Nicole Johnson-Morrison . Member Dr. Mary Kilfoil . . . . . . . . Member 2015–2016 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cynthia Dorrington Eleanor Beaton Yemi Akindoju Deborah Windsor Ross Simmonds April Howe Charles Sheppard Burtley Francis Paul Pettipas Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA Dale Proude . . Resource Member Matthew Johnson Resource Member 2014–2015 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cynthia Dorrington Eleanor Beaton Yemi Akindoju Shirley Robinson-Levering Mike Wyse Deborah Windsor Ross Simmonds April Howe Charles Sheppard Burtley Francis Paul Pettipas Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu

Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Matthew Johnson Resource Member Margo Hampden Resource Member Joseph Nyemah . . Resource ERDT 2013–2014 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cynthia Dorrington Eleanor Beaton Yemi Akindoju Shirley Robinson-Levering Mike Wyse Deborah Windsor Ross Simmonds April Howe Charles Sheppard Burtley Francis Paul Pettipas Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA Brian Watson Matthew Johnson Resource Member 2012–2013 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Greg Browning Candace Thomas Andrews Oppong Shirley Robinson-Levering Deborah Windsor Pat Ryan Robert Browning Eleanor Beaton Cynthia Dorrington Ross Simmonds Milton Williams Mike Wyse Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Wendy MacIntyre . . . . . . . Resource Service Canada

Jocelyn Dorrington Garnet Wright Candace Thomas Dr. Andrews Oppong Milton Williams Shirley Robinson-Levering Barbara Ann Simmons Pat Ryan Mike Hayes . . . . Resource ACOA Rose Davidson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT

2009–2010 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Rustum Southwell Joe Parris Greg Browning Shirley Robinson-Levering Jocelyn Dorrington Milton Williams Candace Thomas Dr. Andrews Oppong Pat Ryan Chuck Smith Robert Browning Eleanor Beaton Mike Hayes . . . . Resource ACOA Rose Stevenson-Davidson . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Sandra Watts-Wilson Resource ACOA Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Wendy MacIntyre . . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Margo Hampden Resource Member Joseph Nyemah . Resource ERDT

2006–2007 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Rustum Southwell Mike Hayes . . . . Resource ACOA Bruce Johnson Carlo Simmons Garnet Wright Joe Parris Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Rose Davidson . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Jocelyn Dorrington Greg Browning Candace Thomas Milton Williams Andrews Oppong Shirley Robinson-Levering

2008–2009 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Rustum Southwell Joe Parris Greg Browning Shirley Robinson-Levering Jocelyn Dorrington Milton Williams Candace Thomas Dr. Andrews Oppong Pat Ryan Chuck Smith Robert Browning Eleanor Beaton Barbara Ann-Simmons Mike Hayes Resource ACOA Rose Davidson . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT

2011–2012 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Greg Browning Candace Thomas Dr. Andrews Oppong Shirley Robinson-Levering Jocelyn Dorrington Milton Williams Pat Ryan Chuck Smith Eleanor Beaton Robert Browning Cynthia Dorrington Rustum Southwell 2010–2011 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Greg Browning Candace Thomas Dr. Andrews Oppong . . Treasurer Shirley Robinson-Levering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary

BLACK to BUSINESS

Jocelyn Dorrington Milton Williams Pat Ryan Chuck Smith Eleanor Beaton Robert Browning Cynthia Dorrington Rustum Southwell Mike Hayes . . . . Resource ACOA Rose Stevenson-Davidson . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT

2007–2008 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cassandra Dorrington Rustum Southwell Joe Parris Greg Browning

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1996–2005 BBI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Percy Paris Richard Bartolo Regina James Cheryl Munroe . . Resource ACOA Leonard Parsons William Reddick Lynn Crawford Geraldine Browning Rudolph Ffrench Paul Walter Silas Kpolugbo George Doleman . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Nancy Ives . . . . Resource ERDT Daurene Lewis Theresa Halfkenny Jesslyn Dalton . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Rustum Southwell Mike Hayes . . . . Resource ACOA Cassandra Dorrington Bruce Johnson Carlo Simmons Brian Watson . . . Resource ERDT Joe Parris Rose Davidson . . . . . . Resource Service Canada Jocelyn Dorrington Greg Browning Candace Thomas Milton Williams Andrews Oppong


CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Halifax International Airport Authority

On behalf of the entire team at Halifax Photography by Meghan Tansey Whitton

International Airport Authority (HIAA), I’d like to send our sincere congratulations to the Black Business Initiative (BBI) on celebrating 25 incredible years! BBI’s countless contributions to Black business development in Nova Scotia have immensely improved the vibrancy and strength of the local business community. As you celebrate this significant milestone, please know HIAA is grateful for your support and partnership over the past quarter century. We look forward to celebrating your continued success for many, many years to come!

Joyce Carter, President & CEO

BLACK to BUSINESS

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Halifax Partnership

Halifax Partnership extends our warmest congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on the celebration of your 25th anniversary. This significant milestone marks BBI’s longstanding commitment to, and positive impact in, supporting the growth and success of Blackowned businesses in our city and province. BBI is an incredible champion and catalyst for Black entrepreneurship, business development, and economic prosperity. Halifax Partnership is honoured to partner with BBI in realizing your vision of creating a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within Nova Scotia’s business community and economy, and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration.

Wendy Luther, President and CEO

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BBI Then and Now – Staff CURRENT Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Executive Officer Matthew Martel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Operating Officer Ayo Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Financial Officer Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . Director Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Growth Jasmine Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Gabriela Mkonde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Ayoola Ogunbiyi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Controller Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Otni Chinenere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Mamadou Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Chiedza Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Corporate Strategy, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Research and Communications Vimbayi Handara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Manager, Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) Monica Mutale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communications Manager Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Operations, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Diversity Employment Network (DEN) Gordon Blackmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Consultant, DEN Claudia Bowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Project Coordinator, DEN Sage Outerbridge . . . . . . . . . . . Field Officer, Supporting Black Canadian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communities Initiative (SBCCI) Jocelyn Stevens . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Brunswick Precious Familusi . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Newfoundland and Labrador; PEI

2018–2019 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO, Interim Ayo Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director Corporate Services Laurissa Manning . . . . . . . . Director, Stakeholder & Community Relations Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director, Innovation and Growth Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Otni Chinenere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Administrator Emma Beukema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director, Entrepreneurship Lydia Phillip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training and Communications Manager Ashley Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BiJ Youth Coordinator Juliana Shekalaghe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Victoria Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant (April 2018) Tracey Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bi| Youth Coordinator (October 2018) Paul Rukidi . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager (September 2018) 2017–2018 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (Interim) Ayo Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Corporate Services Laurissa Manning . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Stakeholder & Community Relations Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Innovation and Growth Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Paul Rukidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Tracey Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business is Jammin’ Youth Coordinator Otni Chinenere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Administrator Emma Beukema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Special Projects Victoria Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Emmanuel Itiveh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Entrepreneurship Akira McQuay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Manager Amber Grosse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business is Jammin’ Coordinator Donna Colley-Howe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Secretary

2020–2021 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Matthew Martel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COO Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Growth Ayo Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Corporate Services Omotayo Adedeji . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Jasmine Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Administrator Otni Chinenere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Gabriela Mkonde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Veronica Gutierrez . . . . . . . . . . Marketing and Youth Program Coordinator Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Operations (DEN) Gordon Blackmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Consultant (DEN) Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Mamadou Wade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Chiedza Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SBCCI Field Officer Lydia Phillip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training & Communications Manager Keisha Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business is Jammin’ Manager Ashley Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business is Jammin’ Manager

2016–2017 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO, Interim Ayo Makanjoula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Emmanuel Itiveh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Director Laurissa Manning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Special Projects Manager Njabulo Nkala . . Regional Business Dev. Manager/ BBCIFL Fund Manager Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Business Dev. Manager Paul Rukidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Business Dev. Manager Donna Colley-Howe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Secretary Victoria Lake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Akira McQuay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate Amber Grosse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business is Jammin’ Coordinator Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Lucy Otienom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk Liora Olive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Gregory Adolphe-Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting COO Russell Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Website & CRM Officer

2019–2020 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Matthew Martel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COO Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Growth Eunice Kenaz-Oguname . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Corporate Services Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Ellis Ffrench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager Lydia Phillip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training & Communications Manager Ashley Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Program Coordinator/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Business is Jammin’ Manager Gabriela Mkonde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant Ayo Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Corporate Services Jasmine Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Administrator Emma Beukema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director, Entrepreneurship Otni Chinenere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Manager Shauna Gaye-Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller BLACK to BUSINESS

2015–2016 Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Executive Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Taken over by Rustum Southwell as of April 1, 2016) Emmanuel Itiveh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Director Donna Colley-Howe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Secretary Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Lucy Otieno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk Greg Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Business Development Manager Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Business Development Manager/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BBCIFL Fund Manager Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Business Development Manager Paul Rukidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ Manager Amber Grosse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ Youth Coordinator Akira McQuay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate Russell Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Web & System Developer

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Walter Muise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Manager (2010–2013) Shakara Russell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2010–2015) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–2016) Emma Beukema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2011–2015) Mahogany Lucas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2011–2015) Kilah Rolle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2012–2013) Beverley Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2006–2013) Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2013–)

2016–PRESENT Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Interim CEO (2016–) Ayo D. Makanjuola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (2016–) Liora Olive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Assistant (2016–) Donna Colley–Howe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Secretary (2016–) Emmanuel Itiveh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Director (2015–) Laurissa Manning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Special Projects (2016–) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2013–) Akira McQuay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2015–) Paul Rukidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ Manager (2015–) Amber Grosse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator (2016–) Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (2012–2016) Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (2010–2016) Lucy Otieno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2015–2016) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting COO (2008–2016) Russell Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Website & CRM Officer (2013–2016)

2011–2012 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Interim Controller (2011–2016) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . Acting Dir. Client Dev. (2003–2015) Emma Otuki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2011–2015) Walter Muise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Manager (2010–2013) David Kantro Kouame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2011–2012) Shakara Russell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2010–2015) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–2016) James Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Management Intern (2010–2012) Mahogany Lucas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ’ Youth Co-ordinator (2011–2015) Martha Mutale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ’ Associate (2011–2012) Beverley Parker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2006–2013)

2014–2015 Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (2012–2016) Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (2010–2016) Kerry Johnston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM, Accountant (2014–2015) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting COO (2008–2016) Mahogany O’Keiffe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2011–2015) Emma Beukema . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting Managing Director (2011–2015) Shakara Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development, (2010–2015) Kiera Carey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate, BIJ (2015) Mufadzi Nyamarebvu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2015) Ed Matwawana...Chief Operating Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2014–2015) Tulsa Beazer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Executive Assistant (2014–2015) Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2013–) Paul Rukidi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIJ Manager (2015–) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Sharifa Upshaw . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant, Reception(2014–2015) Rodney Small . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2013) Nadaira Walsh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Co–op Student (2013)

2010–2011 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Evan Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2005–2011) Roselyne Orengo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2008–2011) Emma Otuki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2011–2015) Omax Charles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2010–2011) Walter Muise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Manager (2010–2013) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–2016) Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2003–2015) Shakara Russell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2010–2015) James Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Management Intern (2010–2012) Dorthy Fletcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2010–2011) Beverley Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2006–2013)

2013–2014 Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (2012–2016) Ed Matwawana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting COO (2014–2015) Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (2011–2016) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . Acting COO, BBC (2008–2016) Cheyanne Gorman–TolliverActing . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Dev. (2003–2015) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Services (2011–2015) Shakara Joseph . . . . . . . . . Acting Dir. Client Dev & Youth (2010–2015) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Kerry Johnston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2014–2015) Rodger Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2013–) Tulsa Beazer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial assistant (2014–2015) Mahogany O’Keiffe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2011–2015) Russell Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sales & Marketing Manager (2013–2016) David Prekins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Manager, Corporate Dev. (2014) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Business Dev. Manager (2014) Christopher Curtis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Entrepreneurship Advisor (term) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Design & E–Marketing Advisor (term) Sharifa Upshaw . . . . . . . . . Admin Assistant, Receptionist (2014–2015) Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Strategic Advisor (2013–2014) Brittany Vailancourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summer Youth Coordinator (2013) 2012–2013 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Mike Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Assoc. Frank Belanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir. Client Development

2008–2009 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Evan Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2005–2011) Roselyne Orengo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2008–2011) Walter Muise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Financial Manager (2010–2013) Njabulo Nkala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–) Gregory Adolphe–Nazaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–2016) Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2003–2015) Beverley Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2006–2013) Monique Carvery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2008–2009 2006–2007 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development Evan Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Starr Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant Luke Jefferies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Julius Kanyamunyu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM

(1996–2012) (2012–2016) (2003–2015) (2011–2016) (2001–2013)

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(1996–2013) (1996–2012) (2001–2013) (2005–2011) (2005–2007) (2005–2006) (2004–2007)


BBI Then and Now – Staff, continued Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2003–2015) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) Jill Provoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2004–2006) Kyndra Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2005–2006) Bernard Edwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM, Acting Dir., Client Dev.(2006) Shawn Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2006) Dorthy Fletcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant, Acting Clerk (2007) Yolanda Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2007) Beverley Parker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2006) Annette Slawter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Project Assistant (2007) Melanie Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jr. Training Associate (2006) Godfrey Frank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2006–2007)

Stephanie Parsons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk Jay Metcalf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Dana Colley–Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant Lisa Willis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant

2000–2001 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Fumni Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1999–2004) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) Stephanie Parsons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2000–2004) Jay Metcalf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2000–2004) Dana Colley–Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1998–2003) Stanleigh Mitchell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator (1999–2001) Larry Coles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBMD (1998–2001)

2004–2005 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Evan Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2005–2011) Starr Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Assistant (2005–2007) Julius Kanyamunyu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2004–2007) Cheyanne Gorman–TolliverAccounting . . . . . . . . . . . . Clerk, (2003–2015) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) Jill Provoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Associate (2004–2006) Shawn Grouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator (2005–2005) Violet Fletcher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (200 –2005) Ellen Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2004–2005) Katrina Jarvis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2005–2005) Kyndra Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2005–2006)

1999–2000 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Dana Colley–Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant Stanleigh Mitchell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator Larry Coles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBMD Tyrone Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator Funmi Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Training Manager R. Connor Smithers–Mapp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Gordon Blackmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Elfinesh Zewde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant Lisa Best . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant

2003–2004 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Cheyanne Gorman–Tolliver . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk, (2003 –2015) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) Terry Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator (2002–2004) Stephanie Parsons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2000–2004) Amal El–Maazawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Co–op Student (Summer 2003) Jay Metcalf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2000–2004) David Noylander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2003–2004) Tabatha Cromwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2002–2004)

(1996–2013) (1996–2012) (1999–2007) (1998–2003) (1999–2001) (1998–2001) (1999–2000) (1999–2004) (1998–2000) (1999–2000) (1996–2000) (1998–2000)

1998–1999 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Dana Colley–Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1998–2003) Larry Coles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBMD (1998–2001) R. Connor Smithers–Mapp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1998–2000) Elfinesh Zewde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1996–2000) Lisa Best . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1998–2000) Devon Matthew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1998) Darlene O’Neil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Relief Controller (1998) Janet Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Intern (1998–1999) Sheldon States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1996–1999) John Wedderburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1997–1999)

2002–2003 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Fumni Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1999–2004) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) Terry Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Co-ordinator (2002–2004) Stephanie Parsons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accounting Clerk (2000–2004) Jay Metcalf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (2000–2004) Tabatha Cromwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (2002–2004) Dana Colley–Provo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1998–2003)

1997–1998 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller Elfinesh Zewde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant Sheldon States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Luke Jefferies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM Bonnie Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant

(1996–2013) (1996–2012) (1996–2000) (1996–1999) (1996–1998) (1996–1998) (1996–1998)

1996–1997 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Elfinesh Zewde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1996–2000) Sheldon States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1996–1999) Luke Jefferies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1996–1998) Michael Wyse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1996–1998) Bonnie Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Admin. Assistant (1996–1998) Lou Gannon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1996) John Wedderburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1997)TO

2001–2002 Rustum Southwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CEO (1996–2013) Idy Fashoranti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Controller (1996–2012) Gordon Doe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Business Development (2001–2013) Matthew Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RBDM (1999–2007) Fumni Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1999–2004) Tracey Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dir., Client Development (2000–2007) BLACK to BUSINESS

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Meet the Staff

Mamadou Wade Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Photography by Adams Photography I have always been a firm believer that leadership is something that one carries with them in various environments. I put this philosophy into practice in my role of Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager (EEM). The role of an EEM is quite fulfilling. We work on the frontline, speaking directly with clients and meeting their needs. This isn’t the first opportunity I have had to offer leadership and support in a business environment. My brother and I created a raw juice business under Hope Blooms called “Liquid Harvest.” All of the proceeds went back to the youth in the community. We were involved in every step, including curating our own recipes and designing our own labels. We also used ingredients from our community garden which were harvested every Friday night after school with our friends. Getting other young people involved was key because I believe in leading by example and instilling confidence in youth by motivating them to cultivate a change internally and externally in their community. Furthermore, social entrepreneurship has always been a passion of mine, but I am equally interested in philanthropy and giving back. In order to achieve our goal of giving back, it was pivotal for us to market this business effectively. We achieved this by spreading the word in our community and constantly marketing on social media platforms. This propelled our social enterprise in the right direction. It helped us sell out both Hope Blooms salad dressings and Liquid Harvest at the Halifax Seaport Market every weekend. We would arrive at 7:00 am and would completely sell out by noon. With the sales from the juice, we were able to buy Christmas gifts for all Hope Blooms youth. We also donated 20% of sales to the Hope Blooms scholarship fund. I have an appetite to improve on what I have previously accomplished, and I am constantly challenging myself. Education has always been a pillar in my life; a stepping-stone to reach various avenues, whether formal or informal. Moreover, I was named one of 20 TD Community Leadership Scholars in 2015. As a young person, I believe in protecting the futures of the youth in my community. This is an intangible idea, but I believe we must practically engage in actively creating our own futures.

Social entrepreneurship has always been a passion of mine, but I am equally interested in philanthropy and giving back.

I am the child of immigrant parents from Senegal. I was born in America and I now study in Canada. Adapting to different environments is a part of me. I have always lived in diverse communities, which instilled a high level of acceptance for people from all walks of life. I am eager to grow and learn, work and be challenged in an environment of problem-solvers, thinkers, and dreamers.

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DENNIS MBEBA

DELECTABLE DESSERTS A conversation with

By Feleshia Chandler

Delectable Desserts

Photography by Adams Photography

owner Dennis Mbeba.

Dennis Mbeba owns and helps operate Delectable Desserts, a bakery and wholesale provider. Since opening in 2017 he has seen his baked goods reach far and wide throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality. Over the past several years Mbeba has been able to sell fresh baked goods such as cheesecakes and layer cakes wholesale to numerous restaurants and bars. But before owning his own business and even before coming to Canada, Mbeba grew up in Tanzania, Africa. He always knew he had the ability to be great because growing up in a primarily Black location showed him that he too could not only drive nice cars and have a big house but also become a recognized and valued staple in the community. Before turning to baking he worked in engineering firms and even studied geology but none of these things spoke to him. Slowly he noticed as he began to move through the ranks of these fields that the work environments did not foster or encourage growth so in 2017 he became his own boss by opening Delectable Desserts. Now, he has plans to expand his reach across the Maritimes however he says getting to the point where he is now wasn’t easy. I chatted with Mbeba by phone about his entrepreneurial journey.

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much as possible because I feel like it’s the time to talk about it for sure. If we don’t talk about it, then nobody will ever know.

What inspired you to start this company? I was broke. I couldn’t get anywhere.

I experienced racism and it’s real.

I’ve worked in engineering firms. I studied as a geologist. My background is in geology and I worked for four geotechnical companies in the civil department [like] road building. That’s where I worked for eight years doing this kind of stuff.

I’ve learned that there are a lot of little clubs controlling little things and it’s very hard to break into them and for you to be accepted. Although I do feel like that is changing, I do feel like the quality of our products speaks for itself and that’s what we came to do. I often say we didn’t come to sell ourselves, we came to sell our products.

It was not empowering me, or giving me any sort of indication that I’m going on the right path. I found like oftentimes I was just hitting roadblocks. I was struggling with finding something that would fulfill me as a person, but also, bring in some income for my family.

What’s the best part about owning and running your own business?

I got basically laid off. And at that point, I was like, ‘Okay what am I going to do?’

It’s being a part of the community and being an example to anybody really in the community and saying that we [Black people] can do it.

I always wanted to do business because I have a passion for business. When I was six or seven years old I set up a popcorn stand. That’s how it all began.

It’s all about building the confidence within the work team so that there is no toxic environment and you will see that when you come in…the way we operate with one another, the way we treat one another, it’s like a family.

What do you do at the bakery?

We try to keep that door open with our employees, where we feel like they can tell us what it is that they’re missing from our work environment, and we try to integrate that. I think a huge part of it is just like, the philosophy of running an organization and it’s very, very hard to create, which I’ve come to realize, but it’s what brings passion into me…knowing that I’m gonna walk in that door and I’m gonna feel good.

We make everything in house. I do some baking. I have other bakers. I mostly do all the other stuff so inventory, payroll, front of house sometimes. If anything breaks down, that’s what I do. If we’re looking for a new market, setting the menu product, if we’re doing a product, and then we’re doing the product shoot… I would say my wife works in the business, I work on the business, kind of like separating the two.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs especially those who are Black, hoping to start their own business?

Why Halifax? My wife and I had decided that we wanted to move to Halifax because she went to St. Mary’s here and she has a community base here.

Stand your ground. Don’t let people tell you what to do with [your product].

Every time we visited Halifax, I was always happy to be here. I always found it very attractive. Not only just the hospitality and the people, it was also the Black community that is here. As someone from Africa—from Tanzania, I always gravitate towards Black people, because that’s all I ever knew.

I think the thing that made us stay steady is because we turned down so many requests like, ‘Oh, can you just add this? Can you do that?’ It changes your model, and all of a sudden, you’re doing something that other people want you to do, as opposed to following your plan. So I’d say stand your ground and follow your plan. Don’t let anybody tell you no.

What was the most difficult part of your journey? Being accepted. Like anything new, it’s hard to be accepted.

Dennis Mbeba

It was very hard to get financing at the beginning because we didn’t have any sales.

(902) 468-2700

Delectable Desserts

www.delectabledesserts.ca

It’s hard to break into the new relationship and to showcase your product and your services. And for you to be like taken seriously especially when you have a skin like mine. Honestly I try to put that into conversation as

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre

Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) wishes to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on the celebration of 25 years of excellence! The programming BBI offers through training, financial advice, and overall support of Black Canadian communities and entrepreneurs has truly transformed the Nova Scotia ecosystem. We are extremely proud to be one of the many partners BBI has and are honored to be a part of their journey to inclusion and success.

Michael Sanderson, Director

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think: cause for celebration Congratulations to the Black Business Initiative for 25 years as a catalyst for job creation and equitable participation in Nova Scotia’s Business community. Stewart McKelvey joins in celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of local Black-owned businesses, and their contributions across the province and beyond.

Burtley Francis, Partner

Nico Jones, Associate

Keisha Wright, Associate Ben Johnson, Associate

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CATHY AKINKUNMI

EUNOIA LIFESTYLE SHOP INC.

Eunoia: A Rare Kind of Black-Owned Business By Gertrude Tumusime Photography by Phebe Ajero - The Muse by Phebe Photography

Gottingen Street is a hub for local businesses, the majority of them white-owned. Motivated to change the narrative, Akinkunmi started Eunoia Lifestyle Shop, a store offering a wide variety of merchandise.

Cathy Akinkunmi Eunoia Lifestyle Shop Inc. (902) 407-5570 www.eunoialifestyle.ca

Cathy Akinkunmi moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia from Nigeria in 2008. For the last 10 years, she has run one of the city’s most successful event planning businesses — Beautiful Linen Rentals. The highly awarded and rated venture placed the entrepreneur in the spotlight in the local business community. In June 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the peak of the global Black Lives Matter movement, the North End Business Association tasked Akinkunmi with decorating every store on Gottingen Street that was hosting small Black-owned businesses without storefronts. As a Black business owner, Akinkunmi was excited to contribute to the cause. While at it, she noticed, “no Black-owned business had a storefront and none of the mainstream stores was owned by a Black person.” Gottingen Street is a hub for local businesses, the majority of them white-owned. Motivated to change the narrative, Akinkunmi started Eunoia Lifestyle Shop, a store dealing in a variety of merchandise. The store opened its doors at a time when most businesses were at an all-time low due to the pandemic. The shop sells uniquely crafted items from different countries like Uganda and Ghana, and from local entrepreneurs, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) who make wood products, kitchenware, children’s clothing, décor, party supplies and more.

Akinkunmi is always sure to check in with BBI, when she has questions or concerns. “I think my journey would be different without BBI. They are my resource.” Akinkunmi wishes that there were role models to look up to before she started this kind of business but she is also glad she got to figure it out and become a role model herself. “We need more Black people owning such businesses, running storefronts that are not just offering African food or African jewelry.” The store is steadily picking up. “We are increasingly getting known for certain items and are getting a lot of repeat purchases on such.” Akinkunmi’s biggest challenge now is that she has not seen as many customers as she would have during normal times. Nevertheless, she is optimistic that Eunoia is going to thrive to be an example for other Black entrepreneurs. Even though the pandemic has been incredibly tough on businesses, Akinkunmi believes it has exposed the inequality that has marred the business landscape for a long time. The self-starter is grateful for the social justice movement Black Lives Matter, for opening the eyes of many people about the struggles of Black entrepreneurs.

“I wanted people to know that Black people can own businesses like this one,” Akinkunmi says.

For a Black female entrepreneur, Akinkunmi says she has had to work twice as hard, although she hates to think that all the obstacles she faces as a business owner are as a result of her colour. She is focusing on what she can control.

“I focus on BIPOC suppliers because I want to empower my community.”

“I have always believed that you have to work hard to achieve what you want.”

Starting Eunoia, Akinkunmi reached out to the Black Business Initiative (BBI), who had walked with her since she launched her first business in 2011. Yet again, BBI was there to support her.

Akinkunmi is advocating for more resources to support Black-owned businesses to succeed.

BBI gave Akinkunmi a stall at pop-up markets at the Halifax Shopping Centre and the waterfront to showcase her business.

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For now, her energy is on growing the Eunoia Lifestyle brand because “that’s a statement for me”.


The shop sells uniquely crafted items from different countries like Uganda and Ghana, and from local entrepreneurs, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) who make wood products, kitchenware, children’s clothing, décor, party supplies, and more. Cathy in her store located in the north end of Halifax.

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SBCCI Report Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative

The Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) is one of the initiatives supported by the federal government in recognition of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (UNIDPAD). SBCCI — a four-year federally funded program — was created through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Its purpose is to increase the capacity of Black-led communities and non-profit organizations that are dedicated to Black Canadian communities. The Black Business Initiative (BBI) is one of four intermediary organizations to deliver this program. SBCCI uses the intermediary delivery model to ensure that funding is made available to the Black community fairly and transparently. BBI awarded 129 organizations across Canada a total of $4,521,292 in funding.

BELOW: BBI CFO Ayo Makanjuola with SBCCI round one recipients.

Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada Inc.

Abused Women’s Resilience Centre

Success Beyond Limits Education Program

ORGANIZATIONS

RECEIVE

129 $4,521,292 IN FUNDING

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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE

Halifax Chamber of Commerce

The Halifax Chamber congratulates the BBI for 25 successful years! The BBI team’s dedication to community builds on the strong foundation of black entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia and has propelled the black business community forward through funding and support. We value our partnership with Rustum and his team as we connect and grow the local business community together, through events and joint projects now and well into the future! Cheers to the next 25 and beyond.

Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO

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BIJ Report

LEGACY EDITION – 25 YEARS

Throughout the history of Business is Jammin’, we have continued to shape youth into vibrant members of the business community. We have developed many young people who have gone on to have bright careers and a significant impact on the community. We continue to offer a range of educational, social, mentorship, and financial support programs to build business acumen and leadership skills. We have found significant success in our Experiences in Entrepreneurship program, our youth summits and, as always, our March break and summer youth camps.

BIJ camp participants with their certificates — 2008

Since inception, we’ve helped inspire thousands of program participants to stay in school, start up their own ventures, and bring an exceptional level of professionalism to any workplace. Business is Jammin’ has a proven value within both the Black community and Nova Scotia’s economy as a whole. We work with children as young as eight to adults up to the age of 30. We continue to be adaptable and offer an extensive range of programs to help address the needs as well as opportunities of Black youth in Nova Scotia. We continue to see youth include their involvement with Business is Jammin’ on resumes, business loan applications, and during speaking engagements. This has led to wonderful partnerships with the community, financial institutions, and other corporate partners. We are currently strategizing on how to take Business is Jammin’ to the next level of growth. There is much more to come.

Keona Simmonds, Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer Award Winner — 2019

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LEFT: Role Models on the Road visits Astral Drive Junior High — 2018

BIJ partners with Constructing the Future, a program that opens doors for African Nova Scotian youth to enter the construction trade — 2009

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Training Report

“Being involved in the Customer Relationship Management course has made me more attentive to our customer needs. This has improved the acquisition and retention of clients. Having the opportunity to continue my education as an entrepreneur is imperative for growth in my business. Without the courses held by BBI this would not be possible for me.” — Dennis Mbeba, Delectable Desserts Inc.

Boost program supports Black founders Since its inception, BBI has been well-known for its Training Department. Our programs are strategically selected to accommodate the market trends and our clients’ needs to help build the skills, knowledge, and confidence of our participants. Training offerings are delivered through 11-week programs, workshops, webinars, conferences, business consultations, and more. Our training department provides a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year. These activities engage and support our clients’ business growth, professional networks, leadership, and skills. Some of these training opportunities include workshops and lunch & learns co-hosted with partners who have expertise on various topics. We subsidize costs and — thanks to the generosity of our partners — provide tickets to educational and empowering conferences or networking events. We have offered programs on topics such as sales, financial management, digital marketing, and e-commerce, among others. One recent success was the BOOST program.

The Boost cohort was created in partnership with Volta, Black Business Initiative, Ulnooweg, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). The partnership resulted in a 16-week period of expert-led, intensive training sessions with 21 active participants. We received many interesting and excellent applications, only some of which we were able to accept for the first installment of the Boost program. Workshop topics ranged from validating your business idea to pitching and everything in between.

To celebrate the end of the Boost Program, Volta hosted an in-person event. This gave everyone the chance to meet face-to-face and connect, which was very refreshing considering the bulk of online meetings required during these uncertain times. Boost participants and facilitators were able to mingle and network with the BBI and Ulnooweg teams. We are optimistic about the continuation of this program and the opportunity that it brings to the Nova Scotia business community.

The objective of this program was to help support the growth and development of Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs within Atlantic Canada. Increased representation is so pivotal in this sector. During the selection process, emphasis was placed on applicants who identify as women and/or members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I participated in the Foundations for Success course. I received much more out of this experience than I was expecting. The most valuable thing for me was learning how to use new marketing tools which have really helped my business reach more people. I also loved having the opportunity to learn and network with other local Black business owners. The instructor was very fun and engaging — I especially enjoyed learning through “I think the most powerful thing to do is to his personal business successes and failures. It has help someone know themselves or their paths. inspired me to see all of the talent and creativity This course helped me shift my perspective from the other entrepreneurs in our community. and analyze my audience, website, and other I look forward to taking more classes with BBI topics related to online marketing. Thank you and would recommend them to anyone starting or to the Black Business Initiative.” looking to enhance their business!” — Zainab Al-Habi

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— Fantanesh Attomsa, Blue Nile Massage & Wellness


BUSINESS IS JAMMIN'

YOUTH SUMMIT 2022

A JAM-PACKED, ONE-DAY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT FOR YOUTH AGES 15-18 Wednesday, May 25, 9-3pm

Loyola 290, Saint Mary’s University 923 Robie St., Halifax www.businessisjammin.ca


Ask The BBI

Staff contributed

We asked BBI staffers to answer a few fun, personalinterest questions. Here are their answers...

Ayoola Ogunbiyi Adams Photography

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If you were stuck on an island and could only chose one meal to eat, what would it be?

If you could pick an actor/actress to portray you in a movie, who would it be?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

What do you love most about working at BBI?

Chiedza Jones Wuliamba Photography

Jocelyn Stevens Brianna Basque Photography

Seychelles

Mexico

Egypt

Tough one! I think Jollof Rice.

Acheke

Chicken/vegetable salads

Denzel Washington

Yara Shahidi

Regina King

Catch a glimpse of the future.

To create more superpowers.

To keep children safe from the harmful actions of others.

The collaborative approach to work.

The fact that I get to play a vital role in helping people make one of their dreams a reality is awesome!

Sense of belonging to a noble cause/ impacting our community.

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Monica Mutale Adams Photography

Otni Chinenere Adams Photography

Precious Familusi Adams Photography

Rodger Smith Russell Wyse, Wyse Eyes Photography

Sage Outerbridge Adams Photography

Bali

Anywhere that is warm, has good food and has a beach with crystal clear blue water.

Dubai

Anywhere in Europe.

Cereal

It would either be Jollof rice or any type of pasta.

Lasagna

Chicken, broccoli and French fries.

Gabrielle Union

John Boyega or Daniel Kaluuya as the main character, but the movie has to be narrated by Morgan Freeman.

Larenz Tate

Danai Gurira (Black Panther)

To spread happiness.

Teleportation

Teleportation so I can travel anywhere in an instant so no need to deal with traffic or travel time.

Mind reader.

Supernatural strength.

Being surrounded by skilled, kind, hard-working people who genuinely care about the BBI cause.

Endless learning opportunities, community, and family.

The BBI team is filled with smart and passionate black individuals who inspire me.

Helping our Black Nova Scotian business owners.

I love the family culture and I love that I’m able to be my authentic self.

Italy

Any pasta dish!

Nicole Beharie


Celebrating Excellence Meet our 2021 BBI Award Winners

HECTOR JACQUES AWARD OF BUSINESS EXCELLENCE Awarded by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business excellence of a company or individual within the Nova Scotia Black Business Community. A true leader in the business community that exhibits social and business responsibility.

Winner: Eleanor Beaton, Safi Media Eleanor Beaton is the founder of Safi Media, an education and coaching company for women entrepreneurs. Safi Media is committed to advancing global gender equity through women’s entrepreneurship. The company is on a mission is to double the number of women entrepreneurs who scale past $1M in revenue by 2030. Beaton is the host of the Power + Presence + Position podcast. She has reached millions of women around the world, helping them to unlock their leadership and entrepreneurial potential. Her work has been published or quoted in publications including The Globe & Mail, The Atlantic, CBC, Chatelaine and more. She has spoken on women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and gender equity at conferences throughout North America, Latin America and Europe.

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD E Awarded by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business success of an entrepreneur within the Nova Scotia Black b business community.

Winner: Temi Ologbenla, Temi Bakes Temi Ologbenla is a multi-award-winning cake designer and the owner of Temi Bakes. She been featured in various Canadian and International media outlets such as the Food Network, The Coast, Toronto Sun, Cake Masters UK, Pretty Pearl Bride and Artfully Wed.

Congratulations to all our 2021 winners and nominees! Nominations for the 2022 BBI Business Awards open this Spring.


CONGRATS! TO THE WINNERS OF THE

2021

DR. RUDY FFRENCH

YOUTH TRAILBLAZER AWARD 2021 Rudy Ffrench award winner Shada Hamed

2021 Rudy Ffrench award winner Keiara Colley

About this award The 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.


BUSINESS IS JAMMIN'

EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP Fo r y o uth ages 8 -30

BUSINESS IS JAMMIN' (BIJ) IS BBI'S YOUTH CHARITY. BIJ PROVIDES YOUTH WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES, TOOLS, RESOURCES AND MENTORSHIP TO BUILD LEADERSHIP AND BUSINESS SKILLS. B u s i ness is Ja mm in ' @ b i j y o uth @ b i j yo ut h

ww w. bu s in e s s i sj a m mi n . ca


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Articles inside

Board Highlights

2min
pages 50-51

Training Report

2min
pages 70-71

Dennis Mbeba – Delectable Desserts

5min
pages 60-63

Then and Now – BBI Staff

11min
pages 56-58

Cathy Akinkunmi – Eunoia Lifestyle Shop Inc

3min
pages 64-65

Then and Now – Board of Directors

9min
pages 52-55

BIJ Report – Legacy Edition

1min
pages 68-69

Dr. Abdullah Kirumira

3min
pages 46-47

Joyce Adom – Simply Go Natural

4min
pages 30-31

Diversity Employment Network DEN) Report

1min
page 42

Jessica Bowden, Teens Now Talk

4min
pages 20-21

Partner Showcase – Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration

2min
pages 36-37

Two and a Half Decades On, Nova Scotia’s Black Business Initiative is Going Strong

5min
pages 16-17

Executive Summary: COVID REPORT

3min
pages 10-11

25th Anniversary Gala Highlights Formula for Succuss –

1min
pages 14-15

Pearl Ijeoma Ejelike is Taking Halifax by Storm

6min
pages 38-41
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