B2B Spring 2019

Page 1




TRAILBLAZERS Lisa Dennis Amanda White GEEK SPEAK Three Social Media Trends to Explore in 2019 BUSINESS IS JAMMIN’ The Way Forward

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: Angela Johnson, Mirabliss Media Productions Sales Manager: Patty Baxter Creative Director: Jamie Playfair Art Director: Mike Cugno Graphic Designer: Barbara Raymont Production Coordinator: Paige Sawler

Contents Spring 2019

Message from the Board of Directors Message from the CEO

4 5



TRAILBLAZERS: Women Making Moves Lisa Dennis Amanda White

10 11

CONNECTING THROUGH THE BBI Eleanor Beaton David Eisnor Duane Jones

16 16 17


BUSINESS COMMUNITY PROFILES Trevor Silver – tREv Clothing Musemo Handahu – Lion Hunter Aliyah Lailson – Creating Worlds of Opportunities with Words

18 21 22

FEATURES Entrepreneur Tool Kit: Retail Revival Halifax – Promotional Partners Toolkit Geek Speak Culture Beat Ask the BBI

Cover Photography: Ezabriell Fraser


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

BIJ Report – Winter Spring 2019 Regional Report Partner Showcase Meet the Board of Directors Meet the Staff BBI Out and About Training Report



6 12 14 26 32

24 27 28 30 31 33 34


Black to Business Spring 2019 / Issue 68



TRAILBLAZERS Lisa Dennis Amanda White GEEK SPEAK Trends Three Social Media to Explore in 2019 JAMMIN’ BUSINESS IS rd The Way Forwa



Spring 2019

On the cover: Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

BBI News

Message from the Board of Directors It’s time. Where we are right now will never be static, but always ever-changing and evolving. We deserve to be proud of our past learnings and successes, but the time is right now – to go to a higher level, to step outside of comfort zones, and become comfortable with the unfamiliar.

One area of focus that has been positively identified by stakeholders, is our work with Black youth. We are gaining tremendous traction with our Business is Jammin’ programs. As we continue to supply our youth with opportunities; we encourage them to remain in the province, to be productive members of society, and to contribute to the economic health of Nova Scotia.

We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet with different prominent stakeholders within the government and with various strategic partners. As a result of these advantageous conversations, we have updated our strategy to better bridge the gaps between the African Nova Scotian and mainstream business community. In November, the Board met to discuss the way forward, to reflect on and to adapt the strategic plan, and to set the stage for a future of growth. With innovation at the forefront of change, we must ready ourselves in innovative technology or risk being left behind.

BBI continues to serve our clients, while connecting Black business-owners to resources, employment, education, and opportunities. We have paved many roads in the service, construction, and retail industries, but have yet to make an impact within the technology/IT sector. Bridging the gap into this area is not solely about technology and digital literacy, but a transition in the way we conduct business to take a more innovative approach. As an organization, we are taking that step and exploring different fronts. In order to meet the needs of the businesses we serve and will serve, we must embody this change. The Black Business Summit is a great educational opportunity, as well as an occasion to network and highlight the excellence of Black entrepreneurs. The BBI Staff seek out powerhouse game-changers in various industries to enlighten and inspire us. As Chair, I look forward to seeing clients, stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and our partners in attendance at the 2019 Black Business Summit.

BBI brings visibility and awareness to Black communities. We need to be the champion for Black business-owners and economic empowerment through entrepreneurial action. Right now, we are moving toward advocacy, for our clients, communities, and our youth. We need to be the 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.



Carlo Simmons, Chair


Spring 2019

Message from the CEO As staff and the Board continue to improve business operations, this past year BBI’s Composite group experienced a positive shift in positioning the BBI and its clients as an important diversity and inclusion player in the Nova Scotian economy.

The BBI has now been in business for 22 years, but never in our history have we seen anything like we are experiencing Right Now! We have come this far because of the herculean efforts, passion and commitment to the purpose, vision and values of the organization by many people. Motivated by recent successes and the significant potential for new and renewed partnerships, our leadership team is poised and ready to act on new opportunities. This shift will require a change in how we engage our clients; how we elevate our organization to a worldclass operation; and how we prioritize our efforts and resources.

After our Board retreat last fall, we set out to refresh and update our strategic plan. It is now ready to be rolled out along with our operational plan for the upcoming year 2019/2020 with a goal to become a more significant contributor to the innovation economy and business development for Nova Scotia. With this renewed strategic direction, we are acting purposefully on our promise to provide a path forward while balancing competing needs, limited resources and economic limitations.

With a healthy attitude towards change, we are certain our current organizational structure is ready to embrace what’s next as we align with the progressive agenda for Nova Scotia and evolve to meet the changing demographics and shifting business needs. Our priorities are shifting. We are seeing good results. There are many, but one example is in our young entrepreneurs who are gaining national and international awareness. Recently, Ross Simmonds was named the 2019 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) and Shaquille Smith received a 2019 Harry Jerome Award in athletics.

Right Now!! 2.0, is a reinvigorated and revised strategic plan designed to position the Black business community to become a strong force and important player in the province’s economic growth, its social inclusion initiatives and in general prosperity. The current economic ecosystem necessitates that the BBI adjust to meet the needs of its companies and the greater Black community. And we are addressing those ‘shifting tides in the new economy’ and preparing our business-owners and entrepreneurs to be ready to ride the waves of innovative thinking and technology-based companies. This is imperative in a digital age that some are calling – the fourth generation of business revolution. If we are not ready, we will be quickly left behind. We, as a development organization, are preparing for that shift, because we need to be there for you as the tide comes in and we will be in the forefront, leading the way in the new economy.


And there are many more to come. Our duty is now, Right Now! Respectfully,

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


Spring 2019

“Sometimes my dreams are so wide that I think they will never come to pass but I remind myself that even if I achieved just half of them, that would be success.�



Spring 2019

Carvery Construction

Offering government, commercial, industrial and residential contracting services for 30 years

By Sharon Ishimwe Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

When Glenn Carvery completed his plumbing course at the Nova Scotia Community College Trade School, it was hard for him to find a job. However, he has never been one to give up. In fact, his mantra is ‘challenges make us stronger’. He says his struggle with finding a job only intensified his resolve to work hard and be successful. Glenn’s work ethic developed early in life. This he credits partly to the countless times as a little boy his stepdad took him along on work assignments and also his time in the militia as a young man spending nights in the woods, eating ‘rations’ and maintaining a sharp appearance. This helped him develop vital life skills like focus, time management, planning, budgeting and resilience. Much as he enjoyed the militia, Glenn knew he wanted to be his own boss. So, as his two older brothers went on to join the military, he embarked on a separate journey – one that would lead him to becoming his own boss. Today, he is the president of Carvery’s Construction, the first Black Nova Scotian owned business to be unionized. He also owns CGR Mechanical Incorporated which is a unionized shop with unionized electricians, heating technicians, gas fitters and plumbers. Glenn’s third company CC Realty owns two commercial properties including Carvery’s Construction’s current location. Glenn admits that his success in business has not come easy. He says it has taken a determination to “turn negative situations into positives”. The first job he found after his plumbing course was to work as a painter’s helper at the Nova Scotia Hospital. Recognizing his hard work and attention to detail, the painters started inviting him to work with them on their side jobs on weekends and after-hours. “Whenever I worked with a painter, I would ask questions about how they found the extra jobs,” he says. Not long after, he started taking his own painting jobs on the side. One day, his grandfather told him about an advertisement he had heard on the radio. The Small Business Centre was giving subsidised loans to people who grew up in predominantly African Canadian communities to help them start businesses. Eager to start his own painting company, Glenn applied for the loan. As luck would have it, the Small Business Centre agreed to give him the loan. He used the $ 7,900 he got to buy a van and painting supplies, and this marked the birth of Carvery’s Construction.



Spring 2019



Spring 2019

At that time, Glenn was working as a painter at the Victoria General Hospital after his 5-year stint as a painter’s helper at the Nova Scotia Hospital. He hired someone to work on Carvery’s Construction’s painting jobs during the day and he would take over in the evenings and on weekends. His clientele grew so fast that he decided to leave his job to fully concentrate on his company in 1990.

that it is not just about getting the job. It is about producing excellent work. “Everything comes down to the detail. Every job is different, and we have to constantly remind ourselves to pay attention to each detail. That is how we are able to deliver with excellence and that’s what makes us stand out”. Like any other entrepreneur, Glenn has had his own share of challenges and he chooses not to dwell on them. “If I focus on my barriers, they will hold me down. So, I pick lessons from each one of them and move on,” he notes.

What started as a painting company has over the last three decades grown into a one-stop contracting shop with over 50 employees and providing a wide range of services including pavement and line marking, carpentry, solar panel installation, plumbing, painting, electrical sales and installation and so much more. “I wanted to build a company where my clients would only have to make one call”, says a proud Glenn.

“I wanted to build a company where my clients would only have to make one call.”

To help with the expansion of his business, Glenn got a loan from the Black Business Initiative (BBI).

For him, there is a constant question on his mind. ‘What next?’ He spends a lot of time thinking and dreaming.

“Sometimes my dreams are so wide that I think they will never come to pass but I remind myself that even if I achieved just half of them, that would be success,” he says.

“That loan made the expansion a lot easier. It gave us that extra push we needed to get to the next level”, says Glenn. Within four years, he had fully cleared the loan.

Carvery’s Construction has out grown its current location. Part of their ‘what next?’ right now is building a new home which will house all three businesses.

Looking back at where he started, the BBI’s 2009 Finalist for Entrepreneur of the year says he would never have imagined that his businesses would be as successful as they are.

He says the advice he’d give to people who might be considering starting a business in Nova Scotia would be to dream bigger than you can ever imagine will happen and then work hard towards the dream.

“I am surprised and impressed with myself,” he says. Offering government, commercial, industrial and residential contracting services, Carvery’s Construction never runs out of work. The company operates 24 hours a day and being unionized, Glenn says no job is too big for them. When they need extra manpower, they call the union and there will be people ready to come and work.

Carvery Construction Glenn Carvery, president carverys.com 902-463-2513

According to Glenn, the construction world is a fair playing field. If you bid on a contract and your price is good, you get the job. He adds however, BLACK to BUSINESS

Glenn is inspired by the stories of entrepreneurs Michael Duck (A.C. Dispensing Equipment Inc.) and Larry Gibson (Floors Plus), both successful businessmen from the Black community who he talks to for business advice.


Spring 2019

Trailblazers: Women Making Moves By Sharon Ishimwe | Photography by Paul Adams

Lisa’s Holistic Rehab Lisa Dennis is an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Lisa’s Holistic Rehab, located in Bedford, NS. She provides occupational therapy specializing in rehabilitation of children and adults dealing with brain-based disorders to help improve their brain function. Lisa says brain rehabilitation is not a common phenomenon. “When a person gets a leg injury, efforts are made to treat and rehabilitate the leg. When a person gets a brain injury, all they get most of the time is prescriptions to help them cope with the injury”. Often called the Brain Rehab Lady, Lisa has dedicated the last two decades of her life trying to live up to the nickname. She believes that people give up on their brains and those of their children because they do not know that they can be rehabilitated. She holds monthly workshops on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and how to overcome attention problems. Lisa is no stranger to the struggles people face with brain disorders. At just nine years of age, she was diagnosed with ADHD and over the years, she experienced multiple concussions and dealt with trauma and anxiety. Currently pursuing a doctorate degree from Boston University, Lisa’s focus is to develop a training program that will help school teachers better understand ADHD symptoms and be able to separate them from those of other brain disorders like anxiety which mimic ADHD. She believes her work will benefit many schoolage kids especially those who have been placed on individual program plans. “When kids are placed on these programs, their chances of meeting their full potential are minimized. I want teachers to see that these kids’ brains can be rehabilitated,” she says. Lisa has a passion for helping other people achieve their dreams. “There are days when I wonder what I got myself into, but when I see how people’s lives change through the course of their rehabilitation and how happy they are, I am convinced that I am doing the right thing” she says.

Lisa Dennis Lisa’s Holistic Rehab lisasholisticrehab@gmail.com 902-580-7342 BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019

Amanda White – Quantity Surveyor Amanda White has always loved numbers and spreadsheets so was sure a career in bookkeeping & administration would be perfect for her. She was wrong. After just a few years in the field, she realized she was not challenged enough, and decided to study Construction Administration Technology at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). It was during her studies at the NSCC that one of her instructors told her about a career as a Professional Quantity Surveyor. A quantity surveyor can provide technical, economical and contractual experience to stakeholders for their construction projects. Amanda specializes in cost planning, quantity takeoff and project loan monitoring for real estate development projects in Atlantic Canada. What caught Amanda’s interest was that quantity surveying was different from all

the other careers she and her classmates had considered within the program. “I have always been that person who does what nobody else is doing,” she says. After almost a decade working as a Senior Cost Consultant at a national surveying firm, Amanda decided it was time to start her own firm, Foresight Atlantic Inc. She is a woman working in a male dominated field with predominately male clients that include real estate developers, owners, lenders, mortgage brokers, architects and engineers. “I have not been disrespected in anyway. People have supported me and given me a chance to prove myself,” she says. Amanda also volunteers as a role model with Business Is Jammin’s’ (BIJ) Role Models on the Road, where she and other volunteers provide career guidance to high school students. In her



Spring 2019

talks, she encourages students to be brave and pursue the careers of their choice. “If you want something, go for it,” she says. Amanda says she has found much satisfaction in her profession. “I enjoy figuring things out. Sit me down before a budget and I will find the solutions,” she states proudly. However, what she enjoys most about being an independent consultant is the peace of mind she has, knowing that she will have both the time and finances to take care of herself and her family in the future.

Amanda White Foresight Atlantic Inc. awhite@foresightatlantic.ca 902-449-6051

Entrepreneur Tool Kit


Retail Revival Halifax – Promotional Partners Toolkit

To participate in Retail Revival Halifax, applicants had to: • be based in Halifax or Nova Scotia eBay Canada has launched Retail Revival Halifax, a program designed to help small and medium-sized retailers in Halifax and Nova Scotia harness the power of ecommerce and global trade. This free 12-month training, support and educational program empowered small and medium-sized retailers to leverage eBay’s global marketplace to reach new customers around the world. The program included a dedicated customer service support team, digital tools and subscriptions, promotional marketing from eBay, as well as additional education and resources from participating partners focused on small business and exporting.

• sell goods (not services) that align with one of eBay’s product categories – in the past, top categories for successful Retail Revival sellers have included Fashion, Music, Electronics, Home & Garden, Sporting Goods and Motors (car parts and accessories) • have a strong business plan and a clear role for ecommerce in their growth strategy • be prepared to allocate sufficient dedicated time and resources both to the program and to their eBay business

Program Background: • Retail Revival focuses on helping brick & mortar “main street” businesses harness the power of eBay’s global marketplace and reach new customers around the world. • e Bay has expanded the Retail Revival program to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in partnership with the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is supported by the federal government, the province of Nova Scotia, and program partners Halifax Partnership, Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Saint Mary’s University. • M odeled after similar eBay initiatives in Lansing, Michigan; Akron, Ohio; and Wolverhampton, United Kingdom; cumulatively, these three cities have already helped the small businesses involved generate millions of dollars in sales and export to over 80 international markets. • The Canadian program will emphasize global trade opportunities through ecommerce, showing how retailers of all shapes and sizes can thrive locally by selling globally through eBay’s platform.

Program Execution: • eBay selected a cohort of about 60 local small retailers to participate in a year-long, comprehensive training, educational and support program that will provide complete onboarding onto the eBay platform, ongoing training in sales and marketing, dedicated customer service, and promotional skills to help these businesses grow and scale by reaching new markets across the country and around the world.



Spring 2019

Kelli Tynes-Harrington

Program breakdown:

Sales Representative

– a full day in-person immersion and training kick-off session in March 2019

Mobile (902) 209-0808 Office (902) 453-1700 Fax (902) 482-5047 kelli@royallepage.ca

– ongoing virtual and in-person training sessions – ongoing one-on-one coaching from a dedicated customer service support team

7071 Bayers Road, Suite 102 Halifax, NS B3L 2C2

– a complimentary eBay Store subscription

• eBay also works with its partners to promote the region and its sellers across the eBay community through a dedicated landing page on eBay.ca/Halifax, promotions • on eBay Canada’s homepage, and a variety of marketing storytelling efforts across eBay owned and external channels. • There was no cost to participate in the program, and eBay covered the costs of store subscriptions and listing insertion fees. Sellers are responsible for costs associated with sales (third-party payment process fees, eBay final value fees). • eBay is also in discussions with Saint Mary’s University on a program research partnership.


Delmore “Buddy” Daye

– and more! • A dedicated project coordinator has been stationed in a Retail Revival Halifax office located in the downtown core, and a retail space, showcasing items from program participants, will also launch in sync with the program

www. t h e a n gu s t e a m . c a


– supplementary business training provided in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal entrepreneurship and exporting support organizations and initiatives

Learning Institute

Excellence in Africentric Education & Research

5450 Cornwallis Street, Halifax, NS B3K 1A9

Engage Become Learn www.dbdli.ca f l i i BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019


GE K Three social media trends to explore in 2019


By Nicole Johnson


Here’s a question for you: How many social media networks can you name? Well, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn… The list goes on and on. If any of those eight failed to come to mind – don’t feel bad. The truth is, there are hundreds of social media networks on the market today, and each presents thousands of ways to share content and engage with your audience. This reality gives many businesses anxiety about marketing on social media because knowing where to start can be a challenge. Does this sound like you? If so, let me start with some good news: You don’t have to do it all. Not even close. You don’t even have to do a lot. While there are a ton of different angles you could take in leveraging social media for your business, today I’m going to share three important trends that anyone can leverage today to begin making a significant impact in their online marketing efforts.

Lead with Video Content

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, I want it to be this: In 2019, video is an untapped opportunity for most businesses. Today, people consume online video at an unprecedented rate. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index report, video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022 – that is, 82% of people’s time spent on the internet will be spent streaming and/or downloading videos. That’s huge! Whether it be behind-the-scenes footage, paid ads, or simply an image montage with animated text overlay – the best way forward is to experiment with different platforms, lengths, styles and content topics that will work for your brand on video.

Pro Tip: Make them vertical! With the apps and tools available today (Snapchat, IGTV, Ripl, etc.), it’s never been easier to produce relatively quick, inexpensive, no-fuss video – not to mention the convenience of being able to do all of this right on your phone!



Spring 2019


Engage with More Authenticity

Part of keeping your audience coming back to interact with your brand time and time again involves building trust. This comes from being genuine in your interactions so you can form long lasting relationships and loyal customers. Social media is not just about selling, it’s about being social (I mean, it’s in the title!). This means talking with your followers, not talking at them. Sharing content that provides true value, not just pushing sales or always asking for something in return. This means joining the communities in which they spend time – educating, entertaining and engaging them in a cool way, and talking to them like human beings.

Pro Tip: Create (and recreate) interesting and compelling content If you’ve succeeded in delivering a video that produces tons of engagement or a social post that gets shared hundreds or thousands of times, you can piggyback off of that success by reformatting it into another piece of content that can live elsewhere. You can turn a blog post into a video, a social post into a blog post, a video into a tweet – the possibilities are endless!


Invest in Messenger App Marketing

More recently, brands are finding new and unique ways to leverage messaging apps to promote and sell their products and services – and much more. What businesses are realizing is that people prefer to be communicated to via text and are, therefore, more likely to open a message they receive in this way. Facebook Messenger, for one, experiences higher open rates, higher click-through rates, and higher reported revenue than email. And with the rise of chatbots, the possibilities of what you can do with these apps is truly endless. Messenger currently allows chatbot integration, and this is also the direction we’re heading with WhatsApp, iMessage, Android Messages, and others.

Pro Tip: Use this as a two-way means of communication Many brands use these apps to gather direct customer feedback, chat through service issues, and simply have a reciprocal conversation. There is so much data that is generated through messenger apps, both technically and organically – you just have to go about it the right way. If you’re careful not to use the apps in a spammy fashion, the choice your customers make to opt-in to your messages can prove to be a purposeful and lasting one. BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019

Bringing It All Together If you were following along closely, you may have noticed how nicely these three trends link together. The takeaway is this: Our customers know what they want, and they do a fairly good job at telling us what they want – it’s now on us to listen. If you’re newer to social media, use the provided tips to dip your toes into the water – and if you’re a veteran, I challenge you to see how you can take the above to the next level.

Connecting through the BBI

By Sandra C. Hannebohm | Photography contributed

In the last two decades the BBI has supported Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with programs and services to help them successfully contribute to the economic development of their communities and the province. The organization has evolved and with it, Nova Scotia’s business landscape. In this issue we spoke to entrepreneurs about their experience working with the BBI in its goal to create a ‘dynamic and vibrant Black presence in the Nova Scotia business community’.

“The biggest challenge for any entrepreneur is lack of access,” says Eleanor Beaton. Whether it’s finances, information, networks or skills, leaders of ambitious startups need to make connections that increase access to the things they lack. In 2003 there was a lot Beaton didn’t know. Things like, when you need to book a caterer for a business event, who do you contact? When you want to look good for opening day, who’s your stylist? You may not be able to cater your own events or do your own makeup, or file your own taxes, but someone can. That’s where BBI came in. “BBI was the organization that I looked to at the very beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur,” she says. Back then, “I was like, what’s a business plan?” She doesn’t say BBI is solely responsible for her success, but it brought invaluable skills to her business and connections that she was lacking when it first started. Beaton continued her relationship with the BBI serving on the board of directors for nine years. She attended events and meetings that brought her new skills, connections and opportunities. From then to now, Beaton has gone from not knowing what a business plan was, to giving speeches at conferences for the likes of Hillary Clinton, and Taraji P. Henson. Now an internationally recognized speaker and mentor in women’s leadership, she was named Canada’s leadership coach of the year, and in 2017 she won the ‘Women Worth Watching’ award for diversity and inclusion.

Along with those invaluable business skills that Eleanor Beaton appreciated, David Eisnor, business development manager at Futurpreneur, says making those important connections is the key to business success and says the BBI provides many opportunities for this to happen. They host annual socials and general meetings; regular training sessions; along with occasional trade fairs and exhibits and a biennial business summit. Eisnor says all are great ways to meet entrepreneurial minded people. “It’s about starting new relationships, meeting new people, connecting with other people.” “You want to grow sales, the way to do it is to build meaningful relationships with people like yourself,” he says. He says it’s a two-way street. “It’s not only about yourself. You can’t make good connections without helping others.”



Spring 2019

On a cold night, when you’re working late to catch up on orders for a new enterprise or collapsing on your couch after a day of renovating the store front, building relationships could seem frivolous. That’s how Duane Jones, owner of Glitterati graphic design and Art Pays Me clothing line, felt early on. One of his first mistakes as a new entrepreneur was underestimating the power of people. “I tried to do something that a lot of people do,” he says. “I worked harder and assumed that would be enough to make me succeed. What I learned in the last few years though, is that it doesn’t really matter how good you are if nobody knows what you do.” BBI was Jones’ first client and recently he realized that he could make connections at the many networking events the BBI hosts throughout the year, like its AGM. “That would have been my opportunity to meet so many people that I didn’t think mattered before,” he says. And they do matter. Jones saw that over time, relationships led to the growth of his business. When he stepped out of his comfort zone to meet other entrepreneurs, his network expanded greatly, and his business grew. “Once I started doing that, I jumped leaps and bounds,” he says. Jones put on his first fashion show called Moments in Culture, and expanded his clothing line to include more designs. After Moments in Culture, his clothing line was invited to Atlantic Fashion Week. Networking is an art as well as a science but, according to Jones, the principle is to leave your comfort zone and expand your networks out of a sense of service. Of course, “Figure out what your business is and do it to the best of your ability, but while you’re doing that, absolutely try to meet as many people as you possibly can. Tell as many people as you can about what you do. You never know who knows who, and what they might have going on.” In short he says, “Instead of trying to figure out what people can do for you,” ask yourself, “How can I be of service to other people?” With this in mind, you can gain access to people, information and skills you never had before. Making connections is just one way the BBI assists its clients. For a breakdown of its funding, training and other opportunities, check out the Ask the BBI feature and the training report in this issue or attend one of the weekly drop-in information/ client intake sessions held Thursdays at 2 pm at the BBI office located at 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax NS, Suite 910. Upon request, they will also travel across the province to meet you or your group. For information, call the office at 1-902-426-8683 or email: bbi@bbi.ns.ca BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019

tREv Clothing It’s not just the spelling that is unique

By Michael Lightstone Photography by Paul Adams

Entrepreneur Trevor Silver, like all business operators, wants his company’s name, its logo and the brand to stand in strong support of his products for sale. Even the name of his business, tREv Clothing, and the way it’s spelled makes you stop and think. The first word is an acronym standing for trust, Respect, Educate and value. “We believe each of these principles must be performed towards both ourselves and others to ensure success,” the company’s website says. In an interview in February, Silver, who’s a third-year management student at Dalhousie University, said he got the idea for his business while tinkering with a homemade design that would evolve into the brand’s logo. He said he never paid much attention to garment labels until he reached his teens and became interested in fashion and clothing brands. Now that he has his own brand, he gets much job satisfaction from seeing people around town wearing goods from tREv Clothing. “I love when I go and I wear something like Nike or Adidas or Canada Goose, or something (that’s) good quality and it makes you feel good. I want to be able to provide that for someone else,” said Silver. He said he reflects on “when I put the work in, to have the quality of how I want” the clothes to stand out, “and feel the love and the appreciation of people when they wear them.” Silver’s company sells such apparel as T-shirts, hoodies, toques and ball caps. It’s primarily an online-only outfit, though Silver has had pop-up shops at Dalhousie’s main campus in Halifax, the airport and in other locations. Aside from his firm’s website, he uses such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter for public notices and to promote his company’s line of items. Originally from North Preston, the 28-year-old Dartmouth resident runs tREv Clothing on his own, from home, or with the help of family members. He started the business in 2017 and is intending to grow his brand and then hopefully move to Ontario. “I want to build my base here in Halifax,” Silver said. “And once I do that, I want to go to Toronto (and eventually) open up a store downtown.”

Trevor Silver, owner tREv Clothing

website: trevclothing.com/ 902-452-8732

Sales might be linked to seasonal occurrences, such as Valentine’s Day. For instance, in February, tREv Clothing was carrying a chocolate-coloured hoodie with brand markings on it, as well as the word LOVE, in red, on the front. Another item, a T-shirt, has HALIFAX printed under an illustration and uses the company symbol in place of the two As in the city’s name. Silver plans to graduate from Dalhousie in 2020. He’s made his way over to management after initially studying law at the university.



Spring 2019


SUMMIT Halifax 2019 Featuring Keynote

Bozoma Saint John Bozoma Saint John is the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavour. Previously, she was Chief Brand Officer at Uber, ran Global Consumer Marketing of Apple Music and iTunes, and was the head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing Group at Pepsi-Cola North America. These are only some of Boz’s many accolades: She was featured in Fortune Magazine’s Disruptors, Innovators & Stars 40 Under 40 feature; Ad Age’s 50 Most Creative People; 2016’s Executive of the Year by Billboard Magazine; Black Enterprise’s Most Powerful Women in Business; and is currently serving on the board of Girls Who Code, and Vital Voices; as well as an executive mentor for the Levo League.

Shifting Tides Halifax Convention Centre

Reserve now! For more information visit: BBISummit.ca or call: 1-902-426-8683 For sponsorship opportunities: sponsorship@bbi.ns.ca

The Search Is On Nominate Someone Today!

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. Award Eligibility • any established business (minimum 3 years in business) in Nova Scotia • at least 33% Black ownership • has demonstrated a strong business acumen and support for the community. • the award may also be made to an individual business owner. • the individual/business has created a shift in their industry through mindset & business activities • the recipient strives for Innovation, one that has shown creativity and innovation in adopting, developing or utilizing new technology to advance their business • they foster a culture of growth and learning

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD Awarded by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business success of an entrepreneur within the Nova Scotia Black business community. Award Eligibility • any established entrepreneur (minimum 2 years in operation) in Nova Scotia • at least 33% Black ownership • has demonstrated a strong business acumen (through good business planning and a consistent growth and development pattern) and support for the community • Community impact

CRITERIA FOR CONSIDERATION FOR BOTH AWARDS I. Product or Service: Description of what makes your product or service outstanding II. Financial performance: Revenue growth over the past three years (as a percentage) III. Workplace excellence IV. Community involvement


Contact: Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager Telephone: (902) 478-6476 Email: phillip.lydia@bbi.ns.ca


Shifting Tides


By Sharon Ishimwe

Lion Hunter

Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

Musemo Handahu is the brain behind Lion Hunter, a fashion and lifestyle blog. “Lion Hunter” is a direct translation of her surname Handahu and although she hunts no literal lions, Musemo is not short of braveness and is always relentlessly hunting for the best in herself and the world around her. Born in Zimbabwe, Musemo’s dream was to play professional basketball. “I can still shoot a mean three,” she chuckles. But when her basketball dream did not work out, the bold creative found a new love in the fashion industry. Musemo takes pride in having a good eye for the cool and buzz-worthy ‘stuff ’. Her own creations stand out and her personality shines through the colours and patterns she works with. She is unafraid of trying new things and says she likes to push boundaries. This was recognized in 2017, when she was named one of Canada’s best dressed people by the Globe and Mail. It all started about ten years ago when while between jobs, she decided to make a clutch. She perfected the first one and within a short time, was selling clutches; writing a blog about them and her life in Nova Scotia. Now a celebrated fashion blogger and digital influencer, Musemo spends most of her time attending Fashion Weeks and writing for fashion magazines like Essence. She is also a TV stylist working on shows such as CTV’s Makeover Mondays. She recently wrote and hosted a three-episode series for CBC documenting how Nova Scotians dress for winter. “I am surprised by how far I have come. What started as a hobby has become a career and it is so exciting,” she notes. Musemo has a great reputation for creating outstanding content for a diverse range of clients including telecom companies, automobile companies, airlines, fashion houses, restaurants, tourism boards, shopping malls, gyms and so on. “I enjoy being part of shaping the narrative of our time”. What also brings her joy is seeing plus-size women and women of colour represented in this narrative. Her heart breaks when brands keep hiring influencers who look the same and create similar content. “Black women are very strong and they ought to be seen and heard. They have communities of followers who should not be denied access to products and services,” she emphasizes. One of the greatest lessons Musemo has learned is patience. She says it is not an easy one to learn because you must keep pushing yourself to continue creating while you wait. She encourages more young people especially those from under represented communities to create and share their own content. But before they do, she advises that they take their time to figure out who they are and be sure to be authentic. “When you are you, your content will come naturally. You will not struggle,” she adds.

Musemo Handahu, Lion Hunter

With an already soaring career, Musemo aspires to continue learning about fashion and about creating captivating content. She sees herself working on more TV shows and taking on more speaking engagements, so she can share her story to inspire others just as she has been inspired. For her work inspiring youth, Musemo received an Entrepreneurship, Youth Involvement and Outstanding Community Service Award from the Black Business Initiative.



email: lionhunterlifestyle@gmail.com website: lion-hunter.com/

Spring 2019

Aliyah Lailson Creating Worlds of Opportunities with Words

By Lydia Phillip Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

An author at the age of 13, Aliyah Lailson might be the youngest Black writer to be published in Canada. Aliyah and her family moved to Halifax just a few years ago. Born in Ontario, but growing up in Mexico, Spanish is Aliyah’s first language. Aliyah has always had a love for language and a passion for writing; she learned English at a young age and is currently teaching herself Italian. Homeschooled from first grade, Aliyah started reading many books and stories early on. Through her writing, she enjoys describing nature, her feelings about it and sensations. An avid lover of animals, she recalls her first story was about a rabbit, which sparked her love of writing, “I just had an idea and I wrote it down.” Woozles, a local bookstore in Halifax, had been hosting its Woozles Writes! competition for years. Its goal is to engage and inspire young writers. Aliyah entered it for the first time in 2016, and her submission won third place, encouraging her to continue creating. Aliyah’s mother, Catharine Lailson, says that Aliyah took the following year off from the competition to focus on writing a piece for a 2018 entry, telling her mother, “I’m going to work on a winning story.” And she did. Aliyah won first place in the 2018 Woozles Writes! competition for her book, North Wind. 2018 was the 9th year of the Woozles Writes! competition, but to celebrate their 40 years in business, Woozles decided to publish the books of the winners from the two different age categories. Aliyah says she was beyond excited when she found out her story would be published. Aliyah says that even at her age, her journey hasn’t been without its challenges. She experienced writers block writing North Wind but says that didn’t stop her. “… it’s my story – so anything can happen.” She also found the editing process in publishing challenging but was able to work through the complicated steps. Aliyah says she is so proud to see her book in print and hopes to inspire more youth to participate in creative writing and for young writers to follow their dreams. She acknowledges it might be nerve-wracking to submit work to competitions but says don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. “Keep practicing, share your stories, get feedback. The best way to start is just to write a little bit each day.” Aliyah wants to write and publish many more books and translate North Wind into Spanish. She’s currently helping her grandfather self-publish a book. In her spare time, she is also learning to ski, volunteering her time to care for animals with her twin sister, Rebekah; and enjoying the outdoors. Aliyah Lailson, author

North Wind can be found in Woozles Bookstore in Halifax or purchased online at woozles.com.



Spring 2019


CAN YOU SEE IT? Your original artwork emblazoned on the


Business Is Jammin’ is LAUNCHING an annual art contest for African-Nova Scotian youth ages 8-30. Winning artwork will be displayed on the Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazer award each year!

Here’s how to enter Email a .jpg file of your artwork with your name, age, title of the artwork, and tell us a little bit about yourself and the inspiration behind the art! Email your art submissions to hill.ashley@bbi.ns.ca

DEADLINE: MAY 24, 2019

BIJ Report

Winter Spring 2019 By Ashley Hill, Business is Jammin’ Youth Program Coordinator

the way

Sackville High School

FORWAR Aligning with our new strategy: The Way Forward, Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) has been successful in establishing new partnerships, collaborating with community organizations and impacting Nova Scotia’s youth in creating the next generation of trailblazers!

Our legacy school program Role Models on the Road has collaborated with 11 schools in just 3 short months. Role Models on the Road brings Black and racially visible entrepreneurs and career professionals together with youth from elementary to high school to share their experiences and career journey. BIJ recently introduced a new component to this program: Role Models on the Road – Postsecondary Success. The program invites current postsecondary students into classrooms to offer advice and guidance on a successful

educational journey. The goal is to increase postsecondary access and success; increase the number of students that apply to a postsecondary program directly after high school; support prospective students in attendance and successfully graduating from an institution of higher education. BIJ plans to connect with 10 schools in rural communities between April and June to discuss entrepreneurship, career development and the Postsecondary Success program, reaching more than 500 Black and racially visible students this academic year!

March Break Camp BIJ’s 2019 Biz Kidz March Break Camp offered two locations in Halifax and Amherst! This was our first March Break Camp in Amherst and a huge THANK YOU to Elizabeth Cooke Sumbu and her colleagues at CANSA – the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association. We also had the privilege of partnering with Brilliant Labs, Imhotep Legacy Academy and Nova Scotia Community College and April Stroink, which brought next level technology and programming to the participants. We look forward to partnering on future initiatives.

Biz Kidz in action at Halifax’s March Break Camp.

Sara Gogan.


Malayna Gero.


Spring 2019

BIJ introduced a new program component offering four volunteer Youth Camp Leader positions to high school students. These students expressed interest in working with children and youth after their postsecondary education. The Youth Camp Leaders received training from Nova Scotia Works on developing employability skills. We look forward to offering volunteer opportunities throughout 2019 to youth across the province. We encourage you to stay connected through our BIJ website on upcoming opportunities in your community.

Role Models on the Road

Co-op student, Taliyah Brooks (right), and BBI Training & Communications Manager, Lydia Phillip (left).

Co-operative Education Business is Jammin’ recently partnered with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education and Dalhousie University to offer placements to African-Nova Scotian co-op students. Co-operative education offers students an opportunity to understand the changing workplace, the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for success; the choices available to them; and how these choices relate to their skills, abilities, interests and personalities. By establishing these new partnerships, BIJ is giving Black youth the opportunities and tools to create their own futures. We are supporting youth throughout their educational careers to assist them with creating a life plan so that they can become successful contributors to their community.

University panel Q&A for post-secondary success.

BIJ Social Entrepreneurship

Summer Camp

Ages 8-15 | Mon-Fri, 9am- 5pm Innovative weekly themes | July 2 - August 30 | Camp locations across Nova Scotia | Business Is Jammin' (BIJ) is offering youth Social Entrepreneurship Summer Camps for Black and racially visible minority youth. Campers will learn how to operate their own businesses, and develop and implement solutions for social, cultural, or environmental issues in their communities. Registration closes: June 15th!

For more information, please contact: Ashley Hill, BIJ Youth Program Coordinator at: CampYouth Counselor hill.ashley@bbi.ns.ca volunteer positions



902-476-9764 | www.BusinessIsJammin.ca BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019


Poet Laureate raises unheard voices, hidden stories

BeAT By Sandra C. Hannebohm Photography contributed

Hidden voices are at the centre of Afua Cooper’s practice as the poet laureate for Halifax. The main duty of the official poet is to promote literacy and storytelling through civic events but they’re also free to choose their own method of advocacy. Cooper’s chosen method is to bring hidden stories to the forefront. At a recent event she used her platform to introduce two young and upcoming poets new to the province. “I’m an established poet, so it’s nice for people to hear my work,” she says, “but I wanted to bring other voices into this whole poet laureate realm.” Cooper enjoys collaborating with new people, even if their poetry is in a different language. “There’s more fun in collaborating,” she says. What she often finds is a wealth of hidden talent. Cooper published five books of poetry before she was appointed in 2018. Her most famous book, The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Slavery in Canada and the Burning of Old Montreal was a national best-seller, named one of the most important books published in Canada. Her academic study of Black History also led her to establish the Black Canadian Studies Association. “Our task is to promote and advance Black Canadian studies to say Black people have been in Canada for several hundred years… and we can build a legitimate field of study around the Black experience in Canada,” says Cooper. “African American studies and African studies are given academic legitimacy, but often when people talk about Black Studies in Canada, they go blank.”



Spring 2019

These untold stories have a real effect on the way we see the world, and the way we see each other. “I think part of the reason that African Nova Scotians–for example–are so oppressed and marginalized in this province is because those stories are erased. There is very little sympathy from the wider population because nobody knows their story.” It’s the same with any group of people, including immigrants, women and the wider population. Stories told in silos benefit only those close enough to hear. Cooper aims to share those rare perspectives and expand the collective imagination. When new people come to the city, “They bring skills. They bring talent,” she says. Most importantly, they bring creativity. “The imagination is really beautiful because you get a glimpse of what’s possible, It makes you think and ask questions. It proposes new answers. That’s the value.” For National Poetry Month, Cooper planned an event called Mother Tongue, where people read/can read poetry in their first language, for anyone to hear. While planning the event, Cooper recalls a woman who told her about a poetry group she had never heard of before. The performances are in another language, usually in front of an audience of native speakers. “Some of these people are established writers in their home country,” says Cooper. But because they perform in another language, their poetry is lost to the rest of Halifax. Many have started over in Canada but remain stuck in creative silos. “It’s a real loss,” she says. Without people to promote and advocate for the voices of immigrants, “Those stories are hidden.”

Regional Report By Rodger Smith, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager Over the past few months, I attended several events held across the province. One was the Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute’s (DBDLI) official opening of their new office in Halifax (5450 Cornwallis St.). I also attended the BBI hosted, Celebrate Viola Civil Rights: Then & Now round table discussion and was able to exchange two $10 bills for two of the new Viola Desmond’s bank notes, which are now souvenirs for my grandchildren. In November Ashley Hill, our BIJ Youth Program Coordinator, and I participated in the Michelle Jean Arts event, facilitating a workshop on ‘Entrepreneurship for Youth’. The event engaged Black youth from various local junior and senior high schools in a discussion on anti-Black racism and solutions. Also in November, Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager, and I attended the Entrepreneurs Expo in both Shelburne and Yarmouth. These events were organized by Acadia University’s Entrepreneurship Centre. I also participated in a full day event hosted by Common Goods Solution, designed to help build stronger pathways to employment for individuals involved in the criminal justice system to. Our 2018 BBI Holiday Social was held in November at the Black Cultural Centre in Cherry Brook, where as in previous years, was well-attended by members from the surrounding Black communities.

Make an



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


If you are considering starting a business and want more information, every Thursday at 2 pm we hold our Client Intake Sessions at our office located at 1660 Hollis Street, Suite 910, Halifax, NS. We would welcome the opportunity to meet you and discuss how BBI can act as a catalyst for your venture.

Sobey BBI ad .66 page June 2018.indd 1



Spring 2019

6/21/2018 3:43:55 PM


Coming of age on the Neptune stage Friday, April 12, 2019. To some it might just be an ordinary day, but to local actor Lyris Daye, it’s one she’s been dreaming of for almost a year. When the clock strikes 7:30 pm, the scene will be set. She will step out under the bright lights of Neptune Theatre’s Fountain Hall mainstage for opening night of the Canadian regional premiere of The Color Purple. The show’s universal themes of hope, friendship and the healing power of love hold a deep meaning to many, including the show’s youngest cast member. “I was really close with my sister who passed away,” she says. “I relate to Celie and Nettie – how close they were – they were separated and will one day meet again, like my sister and I.” Five years ago, her sister, Amaria, was struck and killed by a transit bus in Toronto. She was an important part of Lyris’ life and is never far from her thoughts. As a young woman she relates to Celie’s story; a heroine who finds her voice and comes of age throughout the play. At this point in her life, Lyris is getting ready to write a new chapter of her own. Next year she will attend Dalhousie University with the goal of becoming a long-term professional actor. The decision to pursue acting came from a piece of advice given to her by her mother: find a career she would be happy to wake up doing every day. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, her passion to perform has always been unmistakable. “She’s been like this as long as I can remember,” says her mom, Danita Williams. “She’s been a choir baby – I used to sing and direct a choir when I was younger – I would drag her with me to practices and she would always be up with the adults singing along.” With the show’s Canadian regional premiere inching closer, the outgoing Lyris is a bit lost for words thinking about it. “It took a long time for this show to come here,” she says. “It is such an honour to have an all-Black cast, from different parts of the country all come together, to be on the same page with excitement – and to finally perform this show in Halifax.”

Lyris Daye, starring as Celie’s daughter, Olivia, a church soloist, and part of the ensemble.

Her mom Danita is proud of how far Lyris has come in her career and knows this will be a huge moment in her daughter’s life. “I want her to enjoy the experience,” adds Danita. “I know it will be stressful and overwhelming at times, I’m hoping some of the more seasoned actors will take her under their wing and help guide her.” Lyris will star as Celie’s daughter Olivia, a church soloist, and will be part of the ensemble. The show runs from April 9-June 2, 2019 at Neptune Theatre. The Color Purple also stars local actors Jacob Sampson, Deborah Castrilli and Cherry Brook’s own Jeremiah Sparks making his return to the Neptune stage. Samantha Walkes who starred in Neptune’s holiday production of Cinderella makes her return to the stage as Nettie; Karen Burthwright who played Rosie in Neptune’s production of Mamma Mia! last spring will star as Shug Avery; and Tara Jackson makes her Neptune debut as Celie.

BASED UPON THE NOVEL WRITTEN BY ALICE WALKER AND THE WARNER BROS./ AMBLIN ENTERTAINMENT MOTION PICTURE Book by MARSHA NORMAN Music and Lyrics by BRENDA RUSSELL, ALLEE WILLIS, and STEPHEN BRAY “THE COLOR PURPLE was produced on Broadway at the Broadway Theater by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman and Quincy Jones. The world premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE was produced by the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia.”

On stage

april 9 - june 2 BLACK to BUSINESS


book your tickets now at neptunetheatre.com | 902.429.7070 Spring 2019


NS O I T A C I L P P A PRIL A : E N I L D A DE 22, 2019


Be a high school student of African Descent currently enrolled in Grade 12. Maintain a B average in their studies Be involved in community and/or school activities, for example, involved with club sports, arts, science society and so on. Identify one school sponsor (faculty, administrator, and or coach) and one public or private community partner who will submit a letter of recommendation for applicant(s). Submit one essay (up to one thousand words) and either one to six photos or one short video (less than 2 minutes) that accurately ‘tells the story’ of their community involvement, academic commitment, or their commitment to excel in school athletics or arts.


Shakisha’s ability to project manage, upgrade technology and partner with new communities has taken our organization to a whole new level. SARAH ARNOLD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HALIFAX LEARNING CENTRES The Graduate to Opportunity Program provides salary contributions to small businesses, start-up companies, social enterprises, and non-profit organizations to help hire a recent grad. To breathe new life into your workforce, visit NOVASCOTIA.CA/GTO


Meet the Board of Directors

Burtley Francis Burtley Francis is a Partner with Stewart McKelvey, a leading law firm with over 200 lawyers across six offices in Atlantic Canada. Burtley studied economics at the University of Ottawa graduating in 2004 (magna cum laude). After receiving his undergraduate degree, Burtley then studied law at Dalhousie University, graduating in 2007. During law school, Burtley led the establishment of the Judge Corrine Sparks Award in Law, in honour of her outstanding contributions to the legal community. The purpose of the award is to celebrate those students that are committed to using their legal education as a tool for change in their community. The award is presented once a year to the student whose personal and academic endeavours most accurately reflect Judge Sparks’ spirit of leadership and community service. The award winner shares the award with a community group of his or her choosing. Burtley articled with Stewart McKelvey in Halifax following law school and joined the firm as an associate in 2008. Burtley’s practice at Stewart McKelvey involves general business law, as well as specialty areas of advertising and marketing, privacy, intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT). His clients range from owner managed businesses to larger private/public companies and are found in industries as diverse as telecommunications, manufacturing, information technology and entertainment. Burtley is also a member of the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee and is the co-chair of the firm’s student recruitment committee. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of BBI, Burtley also serves on the Board of Governors of Mount Saint Vincent University and is a council member of Advertising Standards Canada.

CALL FOR ROLE MODELS! Are you interested in giving back to the youth of your community?

Business is Jammin' (BIJ) is looking for a team of volunteers across Nova Scotia!

We are dedicated to motivating youth and bringing awareness to education and personal development, entrepreneurship, and social enterprises through our Role Models on the Road program. Want to learn more? Contact hill.ashley@bbi.ns.ca

www.BusinessIsJammin.ca | 902-476-9764 BLACK to BUSINESS


Spring 2019

Meet The Staff

Juliana Shekalaghe Accounting Assistant Juliana Shekalaghe is the Accounting Assistant at the Black Business Initiative. A world traveler with a wide variety of experiences and transferable skills, Juliana has lived in Tanzania, Japan, and British Columbia, before making Halifax her home in 2017. A Bachelor of Commerce graduate with a major in Accounting, Juliana has worked at a telecommunications company in Tanzania and taught English for six years while living in Japan. Prior to joining BBI, Juliana worked in the accounting department in the retail industry in Vancouver. An asset to the team, Juliana is a self-driven individual with exceptional organizational and time-management skills. An effective communicator with an optimistic attitude, she has excellent interpersonal skills and enjoys working with diverse groups of people. With her knowledge, access to information, and ability to problem-solve, Juliana values how her role is supporting her team and BBI’s clients and partners. Juliana has always been passionate about working in the nonprofit sector and is thrilled to be a part of the BBI team and the rewarding work they do. Juliana believes that “At the end of the day, it’s the impact that you leave which matters. Changing attitudes, stereotypes, and lives – that’s what matters.” Juliana is currently working toward the completion of her CPA designation. When she isn’t in the office or furthering her own learning, she loves creating her own skin care and beauty products; loves spending time with her family; and is a foodie who is always trying new recipes – that she hopes her two young boys will enjoy!

Ashley Hill Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) Youth Program Coordinator Ashley Hill is a recent addition to the BBI family. As the Business is Jammin’ Youth Program Coordinator, Ashley helps shape youth into vibrant members of the business community. She works with young people through a range of educational, social, mentorship and financial support programs to build business acumen and leadership skills. Ashley was the first individual from her family to graduate from university. She received a graduate degree from Dalhousie University where she majored in sociology, minored in law, with a focus on child and youth development in combination with crime and criminal justice. Prior to joining BBI, Ashley spent eight years in the financial industry where she obtained a Canadian Mutual Funds License and became a Registered Financial Planner. Ashley was the first woman of colour to hold the leadership role of Assistant Branch Manager in the Atlantic Region for Scotiabank. Ashley is a dedicated professional with extensive years of progressive management experience with the proven ability to provide effective coaching, training and career development advice through a combination of motivational and mentorship strategies. She is a passionate advocate for youth in culturally diverse communities and is excited to bring her enthusiasm and infectious energy to help support the Black and racially visible youth of Nova Scotia.



Spring 2019

Ask The BBI

Staff contributed

Bridging the Gap – BBI Programs and Services What type of funding does BBI provide?

Does the BBI provide grants?

The Black Business Initiative provides repayable loans to new or existing Black Nova Scotian-owned Business. Ownership must be at least 33% Black-owned and must be a registered sole-proprietor, partnerships or limited company. The business must have a viable business plan, with twoyear cash flow projections, must show the ability to repay the loan and a suitable management strategy is required.

The BBI does not provide any grants. However, we can help your business navigate specific grants for wages, marketing, export, etc.

BBI provides two types of loans, a micro loan and a term loan. A micro loan is $5,000 and below and a term loan is a loan over $5,000 to a max of $25,000. The financing can be used for capital Equipment acquisition, working capital, or short-term receivable financing.

Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) is helping to build a stronger workforce and retain young people in Nova Scotia with a salary incentive that makes it easier to hire recent graduates.

These are some wage subsidy programs to consider as you look to expand your team: Graduate to Opportunity

Loans are NOT considered: • Refinancing of existing loans or obligations, purchase of vehicles, financial transactions between related business or individuals. • To finance a business similar to an existing one owned by applicant or family. • Those who have defaulted previous BBI loans, residential and rental accommodations, financial and insurance agencies. • Real estate and land development, taverns, beverage rooms and lounges. • Any business activity deemed not to be in the best interest of the community or province

Eligibility You can apply for the subsidy if you are: • a small business with fewer than 100 employees • a start-up company incorporated within two years of the application date • a social enterprise, not-for-profit organization, or registered charity with recognized standing The position must be new, permanent, full-time and pay at least $30,000 a year. You can’t receive funding from any other government employment program for this position.

The BBI also acts as a bridge to other sources of financing. We partner with organizations like the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED), Community Business Development Corporations (CBDC), Futurpreneur Canada, Credit Unions, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and others


Phoenix Learning and Employment Centre (PLEC) Employment Placement Program

Co-operative Education Incentive The Co-op Education Incentive (CO-OP) provides wage assistance to organizations that offer career-related work experiences for university and college co-operative students.

The (PLEC) Employment Placement Program is an 8-week wage subsidy employment program (Phoenix covers 100% of wages) that provides youth ages 16-24 the opportunity to work with a local business and/ or organization to gain employability skills based on their interests, life management, and work readiness. The program targets youth who face barriers/challenges in obtaining employment such as: lack of work experience or skills needed to successfully succeed in the workplace.

The Co-op Education Incentive helps employers hire postsecondary co-operative education students for work placements. Employers can hire a co-op student for a work term of 12-16 weeks. You’ll receive a subsidy of $7.50 an hour for the wages you pay the student. 32-week terms are available in some education programs – please confirm with the Co-op Coordinator at the post-secondary institution.

The program is designed to support youth in a variety of areas such as: • • • • • • •

Employers receive 25% of the first year’s salary – 35% if the new graduate is a member of designated diversity group – and 12.5% of the second year’s salary.

Enhance employability skills Gain work experience Develop social skills Increase community connections Practice time management Set and achieve goals Transfer skills to the workplace

All work placements are typically 20hrs/week for 8 weeks but can vary based on the individual. Please contact Employment Outreach Worker, René Boudreau at (902) 293-8599 or send an email to rboudreau@phoenixyouth.ca



Spring 2019

BBI – OUT AND ABOUT LEFT: Staff attend 2018 BBI Holiday Social, Black Cultural Centre. BELOW: Director of Entrepreneurship, Emma Beukema at the Innovate Atlantic conference.

CEO, Rustum Southwell, 2018 Holiday Social.

LEFT: BBI team members at the Entrepreneurs Expo, Shelburne and Yarmouth.

Enjoying the annual Holiday Social.

BELOW: Civil Rights Roundtable: Then and Now as part of the week long Celebrate Viola events.

Celebrating African Canadian Women doing business.

Training & Communications Manager, Lydia Phillip, at the African Heritage Month launch and poster unveiling. Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager, Rodger Smith, trying virtual reality, Entrepreneurs Expo in Shelburne.

CEO & Board following a meeting with Premier Stephen MacNeil.



Spring 2019

Training Report

Being involved in the CRM course has made me more attentive to our customer needs. This has improved 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.

By Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager

– Dennis Mbeba, Delectable Desserts Inc.

The Black Business Initiative (BBI) provides free business and professional development courses to Black and racially visible minority entrepreneurs and employees. These programs are strategically selected around market trends and clients’ needs to help build the skills, knowledge, and confidence of the participants. These training programs would not be possible without the support of our partners, particularly the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia (AWENS), and Well Engineered Inc.

Winter 2019 Training

Our Winter 2019 Training program began in March and includes the following 11-week courses: • Sales Training for Small Businesses • Financial Management 101 • Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs • Advanced Excel With the conclusion of the Fall Training program, we would like to congratulate the graduates of the following 11-week courses: Leadership, Foundations to Success, and Customer Relationship Management.

Graduates of the Leadership training course with Instructor Ann Divine and BBI CEO Rustum Southwell.

Additional Training Opportunities

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 has 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 when he would share his personal business successes and failures.

Outside of the 11-week training programs, the Training Department also provides a variety of learning opportunities that engage and support our clients’ business growth, professional networks, and skills. Some of these include workshops and lunch & learns cohosted with partners with expertise on various business topics; and subsidizing costs or, courtesy of generous partners, providing tickets to educational, empowering conferences or networking events.

Fall 2019 Training Schedule

The following courses will be offered in the BBI Fall 2019 training programs:

“It has inspired me to see all of the talent and creativity from the other entrepreneurs in our community. I look forward to taking more classes with BBI and would recommend them to anyone starting or looking to enhance their business!

• Foundations for Success • Financial Management Level II • Marketing- Action Plan Training • Business Skills for Growth and Profitability

The Training Department is looking to partner with organizations to host programs in different locations, as a pilot, to determine if there’s a more accessible space for Black racially visible entrepreneurs in the Halifax Regional Municipality. If your organization is open to discussing logistics or what a partnership could entail, please email the Training Department at training@bbi.ns.ca

– Fantanesh Attomsa, Fantakarma Massage & Wellness



Spring 2019







Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.