B2B Magazine Summer 2019

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TRAILBLAZERS Chas Smith Shalyn Williams De Coteau Charles Mmoloke GEEK SPEAK Marketing Experiments Brands Can Use to Unlock New Insights BUSINESS IS JAMMIN’ Dr. Rudy Ffrench Youth Trailblazers


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2019-07-11 11:43 AM

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 Cover Photography: Contributed The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 910, 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Phone: 902.426.8683 Fax: 902.426.8699 Toll Free: 1.888.664.9333 E-mail: bbi@bbi.ns.ca

Contents Summer 2019

Message from the Board of Directors Message from the CEO

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TRAILBLAZERS: Engineers Chas Smith Shalyn Williams do Coteau Charles Mmoloke

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FEATURES Geek Speak Shifting Tides - 2019 Black Business Summit

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BUSINESS COMMUNITY PROFILES John Thomas (JT) Manning – Blending Networks Inc. Rugi Jalloh – MAJAK Environmental Management Consultancy

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BIJ BIJ Partnership - TD Spark Mentorship BIJ Report – Winter Spring 2019 Summit Summary - Dr Rudy Ffrench Trailblazer Award

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BBI NEWS Community Connection Partner Showcase Meet the Board of Directors Meet the Staff Ask the BBI Regional Report Training Report

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bbi.ca On the cover:

Black to Business Summer 2019 / Issue 69



Summer 2019

Photography contributed

BBI News

Message from the Board of Directors need for meaningful relationships with our government partners, private sector companies, crown corporations, and community organizations. A high priority has been and must continue to be focused on developing new strategic partners that improve our impact in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation. I am enthusiastic about our continued development of programming with critical partnerships.

As I enter my second year as Chair of the BBI’s Board of Directors, I reflect on the last year of my appointment. Coming from the historic Black community of North Preston and operating a longstanding family business, I am honored and humbled to be leading an organization that has over 23 years of business and community economic development in Nova Scotia. It is with great pride that I am at the helm of such a progressive organization as we strengthen our brand both provincially and nationally.

As one of our deliverables to the business community, the BBI is proud to be able to offer high quality Summits with highprofile speakers like this year’s keynote Bozoma Saint John. From the workshops to the keynote luncheon, the energy was unmistakable. Events such as the Black Business Summit would not be possible without our sponsors, including our keynote presenting sponsor, Dalhousie University.

With this renewed strength, we will have better capacity to take on the work that directly impacts our mission and vision to facilitate the shift to the 4th industrial revolution. With refreshed energy comes a new beginning of the journey. Although our resources are limited, we have deepened our resolve to deliver on our mandate of changing lives by enabling economic independence. With initiatives like Business is Jammin’, we have gained tremendous traction and are shaping our communities’ future by supplying youth with opportunities in STEM through innovative programs like RBC iCode+ and Experience in Architecture and Planning. We are shaping the future by shaping minds.

I conclude by saying I continue to feel honored to be with this organization at an important time in its growth. The work completed and the achievements in the last year wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of the dedicated team here at the BBI. Entering another year as the Chair, I am optimistic for the upcoming advancements and opportunities that we undertake together. Respectfully,

Entrepreneurship and economic growth are at the heart of all we do. We do not take our mission lightly and we recognize the


Carlo Simmons, Chair


Summer 2019

Message from the CEO It was Thursday 13, June at a quarter to midnight and I had just pulled into the parking lot of the conference hotel in final preparations for the 2019 version of our biennial summit. The summit theme this year was “Shifting tides.” I was anticipating hearing from our Keynote Speaker, selfproclaimed “badass” Bozoma St. John, at lunch the next day. I had no idea then how things would shift over the next 16 hours.

to create great results for more than two decades. With a steep decline in our budget allocations within the last four years; we have still ensured a proper place for Black business owners and entrepreneurs while supporting our youth and community to fully participate in the economic growth of Nova Scotia. We had to have a solution to this potential Summit ‘disaster’ by sunrise. And we did. With the support and Herculean efforts of our dedicated staff and Board, volunteers and professionals, in the wee hours of the morning we arranged an alternate flight. This feat certainly demonstrated to me how corporate knowledge, nurturing and supporting the right team and a commitment to excellence can overcome great odds.

When my phone rang late at night, I wasn’t expecting my blood pressure to shoot up so quickly. The call was from our event planning team at Dynamic Results Event Management who said, “Don’t blame the messenger,” then handed me off to our speaker bureau agency.

Chair of Black Business Enterprises (BBE), Cassandra Dorrington, helped design a panel of eminent women business owners and entrepreneurs for what we called a “Black View” to kickoff the Keynote lunch event as Boz made her way directly from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to the stage. And, teenager Eve Wedderburn had the audience “lit” when she introduced our ‘just arrived’ Keynote speaker Bozoma St. John and the applause has not stopped since.

You see, it was already a more challenging than usual summit and we had managed to create miracles to pull it off - so far- so why not one more hurdle to overcome less than eight hours before showtime and a mere twelve hours before the keynote was to hit the stage.

We had another very successful summit, some people say it was the best ever, it certainly was one of the hardest to pull off, and in this, we proved to be resilient and innovative. Many people might question why we continue to do these events, the answer is, it’s because they are uplifting, and inspiring but mainly because we must continue our journey and show that: Yes We Can!!

Bozoma St. John (Boz) was stuck in Chicago. Her flight to Halifax had been cancelled due to high winds and she would not make the lunch. A lot of sponsors had made significant investments in the event and about 300 people had tickets, and their day already mapped out. Countdown on the summit clock timeline struck midnight and the question now was how do we shift tides and create a lasting and rewarding experience for everyone.


I quickly remembered we take calculated risks often, encourage our clients to do the same and sometimes things don’t always go as planned. The challenge is to accomplish your goals with whatever hand you are dealt, and most importantly, stick to your plan and overcome all challenges. That’s actually the BBI story - an initiative that has had to overcome a myriad of challenges and still continues


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


Summer 2019




Summer 2019

Bozoma Saint John

By Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager Photography by Paul Adams

Support my Shine or be Blinded By it

The electricity of Bozoma “Boz” Saint John’s powerful words captivated the audience as she took the stage at the 2019 Black Business Summit. One of the most sought-after marketers today and currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor, Boz has previously held executive roles at Uber, Apple, and Pepsi. She was featured in Fortune Magazine’s Disruptors, Innovators & Stars 40 Under 40, was named Billboard’s 2016 Executive of the Year, and is currently serving on the Board of Girls Who Code. On behalf of Dalhousie University, the Keynote Presenting Sponsor, Eve Wedderburn a grade 9 student and participant in the Imhotep Legacy Academy introduced Bozoma. “I was so excited to introduce Bozoma Saint John, because she is so inspiring and accomplished - I mean, she’s worked with Spike Lee AND Beyonce!” said an excited Eve. Bozoma was impressed and touched by the introduction. “She was blown away, she thought Eve was so wonderful,” said moderator Cassandra Dorrington, President and CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC). “She’s going to make me cry!” Bozoma tells Casandra as they listened to the presentation. An ovation concluded Eve’s introduction and welcomed Boz to the stage for a “fireside conversation” style keynote. What resonated with those listening was how authentic Boz was, how she communicated with a sincerity and energy that drew you in as if she was having a conversation with just you. She recalled early in her career when she attempted to assimilate to the stereotypical executive - speaking in a way that wasn’t her and wearing the grey suits, “I tried, but it wasn’t me. As you can see, I like a little bit of leather,” Boz laughed. Boz described how her intuition led her to opportunities that impacted her life, “I was often in the right spot, the right place, and the right conversation at the right time.” Though it took time and collective experiences, Bozoma said she had reached the point where she fully trusted her intuition about whether she was in the correct place professionally or if it was time to grow elsewhere. “I move by my intuition. If I get one bad vibe, I’m out.” Bozoma shared her marketing expertise stating that anyone can make an impact if they are creative and take risks. She said you don’t need deep pockets, that having a personality on social media is just as effective. Boz expressed that a business must be as authentic online as it is in person to create an emotional connection with consumers. “It’s important that leaders are their own brands and personalities on social media. Executives should be associated with their business, but also have their own standing.”



Summer 2019

“As young women we are often told to keep our heads down. I want us to cast that aside and throw our heads up and scream our accomplishments. There is no room for humility in your greatness.”



Summer 2019

“Boz’s success, class, and authenticity are inspiring. She is paving the way for me and girls to achieve our dreams.” - EVE WEDDERBURN

I was in awe of how unapologetically Bozoma champions Black women in leadership roles. She has carved out a space for Black women in the Tech industry and has challenged the mainstream idea of what “professional” looks like - paving the way for young Black women. I was grateful to have the opportunity to thank Boz for her efforts, to which she replied that she would never stop.

One of Bozoma’s key messages was about bringing your “full self ” to every space, “I truly am the best at what I do, so I don’t make any apologies.” She shared her journey to understanding her self-worth and what she can contribute. “Many spaces were not accommodating to a six-foottall Black woman with an attitude, but it was very clear to me that without showing up as my full self, as scary as that was, I couldn’t bring the fullness of my ideas, brilliance, and passion.” Bozoma’s articulation of Black women and girls being their full selves was empowering and relatable for many. “As young women we are often told to keep our heads down. I want us to cast that aside and throw our heads up and scream our accomplishments. There is no room for humility in your greatness,” Boz told the crowd.

“Without showing up as my full self, as scary as that was, I couldn’t bring the fullness of my ideas, brilliance, and passion.”

“Boz’s success, class, and authenticity are inspiring,” said Eve. “She is paving the way for me and girls to achieve our dreams.” Eve then quoted Boz, “Support my shine or be blinded by it. I love that, it reinforces that to accept me is to accept all of me. No one should be less of who they are to be accepted or to make others comfortable.”

Motivated by Boz’s success, Eve talked about how proud she was, “It lets me know that Black girl magic shines through.” My favorite moment was when Ross Simmonds, microphone runner for the Q & A section, asked one of his own. “If you could have a billboard that everyone in the world would see what would it say?” Without missing a beat, Boz says, “Black women are excellent,” the crowd erupted into applause and cheers. BLACK to BUSINESS

“Bozoma was absolutely incredible,” Cassandra said. “So personable and authentic. It doesn’t matter whether she’s talking to the Obamas or Oprahs of the world or to me, she was able to have a genuine conversation and connect with the audience”

From the aura of power that she carried with her into the room to the final round of applause, Boz was even more compelling, influential, and energizing than I imagined possible. I believe everyone who gathered to listen, left with with a few new pieces of insight. 9

Summer 2019

Trailblazers: Engineers Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

Chas Smith, Design Engineer By Georgina Mbamalu Born in Bermuda, Chas Smith has lived in Canada since 2013. He graduated from Dalhousie University with a degree in Engineering, specializing in materials and mechanical engineering. To Chas, it was no surprise he would end up in the field of engineering. He grew up much like many young engineers playing and tinkering with whatever he could get his hands on. “When I was 16, I got a motorcycle and I was always playing around with it,” he said. “I became an amateur mechanic and loved mixing my knowledge in technology and science with mechanical processing. It just felt like the right path for me.” In high school, he was accepted into the International Baccalaureate program and received his highest grades in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Smith moved to Halifax during high school and along with his studies, excelled at track and field. As a young athlete, he placed in competitions including the Caribbean Free Trade Association Games and Junior Pan American Games. His top grades and athletic prowess helped him earn a spot at Dalhousie University. After graduating, and a year of additional studies and jobs, Smith connected with the Black Business Initiative who put him in contact with Well Engineered who offered him what he’s called his ‘perfect’ job. At Well Engineered Inc., Smith initially worked on custom assembly tools to streamline production He is involved in various projects including designing lift attachments for a 200 ton mobile crane and has just finished designing a custom vehicle loading ramp that can support up to 15 tons. “Design engineering was exactly the type of work I wanted to get in to. It’s an area where you must flex your creative muscles. There isn’t a day that is mundane or boring,” he remarked. Along with his new career, Smith enjoys giving back to the sports community as much as he can. He coaches athletes alongside his old coach and is a Treasurer at Athletics Nova Scotia. Chas Smith, Design Engineer Well Engineered Inc. 902-329-8385 chas.smith@wellengineered.ca



Summer 2019

Shalyn Williams de Coteau, Electrical Engineer By Nicole Brooks de Gier She hesitated briefly before self-proclaiming herself a nerd, but Shalyn Williams de Coteau is proud that math and science have always been her strong suit. After her career in the Canadian Military as a signal operator, going into electrical engineering was the logical next step.

“It’s OK to be nerdy and be where people think you don’t belong,” she said, “but it never occurred to me that I could be [what I am] until someone pointed it out – no one I knew was an engineer.” Williams de Coteau wants young women of colour to be proud and embrace their talent in math and science and be aware of the different career options the subjects present.

“When Barbara Hamilton-Hinch introduced me to engineering as the next step, it made sense,” William de Coteau explained, “but it wasn’t until she suggested it as an option that I even considered it.”

“Just me being at job fairs and representing Lockheed Martin Canada shows young women that there are greater opportunities for them,” she said. “I’ll continue to do what I can to show other’s they’re capable and encourage them in this direction, after all, it’s lonely here by myself.”

When Williams de Coteau graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University, she was the second Black female to do so in the school’s history and after three successful co-operative education placements at Lockheed Martin Canada, she applied and became a permanent employee nine years ago. Today she works on the Halifax Naval Patrol Frigate Combat Systems project and speaks at schools and Lockheed Martin Canada career fairs to encourage other young women, especially women of colour, to participate in science and technology.


Shalyn de Coteau, Electrical Engineer Lockheed Martin 902-220-3120


Summer 2019

Charles Mmoloke, Civil Engineer By Georgina Mbamalu Charles Mmoloke was born and raised in Gabourne, Botswana. He immigrated to Nova Scotia in 2000 to pursue higher education.

roadways, sewers and watermains and worked on projects such as the Burnside Business Industrial Park and Highway 104.

It has been a long, but a rewarding journey for Mmoloke who started from humble beginnings in Canada. Due to lack of school sponsorship, he took up service work to survive in Halifax. After the birth of his daughter, he was ready for a career change.

Mmoloke said he enjoyed his work, but wanted more. After three years with CBCL Limited, and with their support, he began a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree at Dalhousie University, graduating in 2018. Mmoloke lives in Clayton Park with his wife Melissa, and daughters, Faith and Grace and continues to work with CBCL Ltd. But now works as a Civil Engineer with a focus on transportation engineering and municipal engineering processes. He also enjoys giving back to the community by volunteering with Engineers Nova Scotia.

“Both of my families here and in Botswana kept me going. I had a young child at home to raise,” he said. “It motivated me to work hard to position myself to provide for them. My family in Botswana sacrificed so much by missing almost two decades of my life. They were also my motivation and inspiration.”

“Our Black community has very little representation in the engineering scene. With Engineers Nova Scotia, I try and inspire Black youth to consider engineering as a career,” he said.

Mmoloke participated in the Black Business Initiative’s Constructing The Future program. The program equipped him with the skills, basic certifications and competencies needed to establish his presence in the Nova Scotia construction sector before starting his studies in Civil Engineering Technology at NSCC.

Charles Mmoloke, Civil Engineer CBCL Limited 902-421-7241 ex. 2525 cmmoloke@cbcl.ca

After graduating, Mmoloke started working at CBCL Limited as a Municipal Design Technologist. He was responsible for the design of



Summer 2019

TD Spark Mentorship program

Meet the Mentees By Georgina Mbamalu | Photos Ezabriell Fraser The TD Spark Mentorship program aims to create a networking, mentorship and leadership training platform for African Nova Scotian and other racially visible minority youth. The program partners with business leaders and the community to foster an environment where youth are inspired and empowered to create professional networks to pursue vital opportunities and expand their leadership skills.

Andre Anderson Andre Anderson is an economics student at Saint Mary’s University and a young entrepreneur from Preston and Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia. He joined the TD Spark Mentorship program to improve his current business skills and network with other business-minded people with similar backgrounds. Andre said he thoroughly enjoyed his experience as a mentee through this no-cost program. He shared that his interest in business started early on and he had always had a deep-rooted sense of equity and diversity, so, the program was a natural fit.

Clintroy Harriott Clintroy Harriot is a project manager, currently working in the field of web development and web presence. Originally from Jamaica, he currently works as a Business Systems Analyst for Nova Scotia Power.

He was paired with Bryan Darrell, Director of Infrastructure Management with the Province of Nova Scotia and an engineer at Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s and Acadia University. “Mr. Darrell grew to be not only a mentor, but, a friend and a great personal development coach,” he remarked. “Bryan helped me self-analyze, focus, and create concrete goals and timelines. He was able to show me realistic ways of achieving both short- and long-term plans.”

He was referred to the mentorship program through Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) but decided to participate for personal reasons. He says he wanted the opportunity to grow and learn from people who had gone through similar experiences in the business community.

Along with personal mentoring sessions, Andre was able to take part in monthly sessions with Chantal Brine of EnPoint and various community mentors. In these sessions, mentees gained the knowledge needed to excel in interviews, personal branding, and how to get the most out of networking events.

As a mentee, Clintroy was able to review and refresh his knowledge on subjects he was previously exposed to and received new insights and possibilities to pursue. The dynamic nature of the program’s presentations allowed for a range of mentees with various backgrounds to gain insight and experience even if the subjects weren’t directly related to their course of study or direct interest.

“I definitely recommend the program to any other youth trying to develop and prepare themselves for the job market, or just their career in general, and looking for a vehicle to do so.”

“As a young Black person making my way though my career, I felt this was a well-needed platform to focus on the unique path I will face on my career journey,” he said. “There is no greater feeling than to see likeminded young individuals work towards their goals.”

Andre currently works as a program assistant with Imhotep’s Legacy Academy, a program that aims to create a place for African Nova Scotian youth in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. He is also undergoing his first successful business launch of FortyFour Consulting, a social-entrepreneurship venture with the goal of bridging the gap between companies and communities by showcasing the benefits of diversity and cultural understanding in a business environment. He will also continue his studies in the fall.

Since the program, Clintroy was encouraged to invest time into his artistic talents and promote his work with a business model on social media. His work is available on Instagram at: @clintroy_art and on Facebook at: @clintroyart.

The TD Spark Mentorship Program is launching their second cohort in the Fall. Interested in participating? Contact Emma Beukema at beukema.emma@bbi.ns.ca or call 902-426-8683.



Summer 2019


GE K 5 Marketing Experiments that Brands Can Use to Unlock New Insights Marketing experiments differentiate innovative brands from the bland ones. Experimentation is what leads to breakthroughs—allowing your company to stand out while your competitors blend in. Marketers often make the mistake of assuming that experimenting is for things like email subject lines, button colors and display copy. And sure, those experiments are all fine and good, but if that’s all you can envision, you’re limiting yourself. Check out these 5 impactful marketing experiments you may have never even considered. Use these to ramp up your own experimentation and improve your campaigns for your business.


Case Studies & Testimonials

The case studies and testimonials on your site have a real influence on potential buyers— demonstrating that credibility and trust is crucial for conversion. Take a look at your testimonials—do you have quotes from clients in other roles or other industries? Switch things up! Can you swap out a case study for one about another company? One of the coolest case studies I’ve come across from was Slack whose testimonial states, “A messaging app for teams who put robots on Mars! Nasa’s jet propulsion Laboratory is one of the tens of thousands of teams around the world using Slack to make their working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.” There’s so much to unpack here, but if NASA trusts Slack, shouldn’t you? That’s the message your own case studies and testimonials ought to send.



Summer 2019


By Ross Simmonds


Experiment With Paid Media Opportunities

Sponsored podcasts. eSports sponsorships. Online communities. Sponsored posts. Twitter media. Influencer marketing. All of these opportunities over index for human usage & content consumption yet under index for paid media spend. This is where you might find a real opportunity that’s likely being overlooked by your competition. Take podcasts, for example—over the last decade, the growth of podcasts in the US has been massive. This growth is an opportunity for brands to experiment with a medium that has lots of engagement but is still relatively cheap because the market overlooks its potential. It’s the same for influencer marketing, which is so widely viewed as a B2C opportunity that B2B brands are blind to the potential for their audience.




A lot of brands stick to one marketing and distribution channel until the well runs dry. I get it—you need to fish where the fish are. But there are many other ponds and lakes out there you may be overlooking.

One of the pages that matters most yet often gets very little love is your pricing page. This page is a key point in the buying cycle—the point where your customer decides whether your product or service is worth it.

We often make the mistake of assuming that our audience is singular in their channel usage. We think the people who use Instagram only use Instagram, and the people who use LinkedIn only use LinkedIn. In reality, these people also frequent Quora, Medium, Reddit, Yelp, G2 Crowd, Capterra, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo…

Your pricing page is a gold mine for experimentation:

Videos uploaded directly to Facebook and LinkedIn perform better than videos uploaded to YouTube and then shared on those platforms. This is intentional. Both LinkedIn and Facebook recognize that if they send people away to YouTube, they’re losing eyeballs (and therefore advertising revenue) to Google.

New Channels for Distribution

To experiment with these channels, start with a hypothesis. For example: If we create long form content on Medium and distribute it to the ABC publication we will be able to drive their audience to our site through a lead magnet. Not sure where to start? Try using assets or topics that have worked well elsewhere. For example, if a blog post worked really well on your own website, it’ll likely do well on Medium. The next step: Test it. Create content, publish, and gauge effectiveness versus effort.

Pricing Page Layout & Design

• Should you highlight your most popular plan? • In what order should you list your product features? • Testimonials or no testimonials? • Should the default be annual or monthly pricing? • For enterprise solutions, is it better to include a price or just a “Contact Us” button? • Does the entire layout need a redesign? • Should you run remarketing ads on the page? • Do you need an exit pop-up? All of these little experiments can add up to massive increases in revenue for your business, but don’t assume you have to do ALL the things. Identify which of these experiments make the most sense for your pricing page and your goals, like achieving a higher LTV or a lower CAC. BLACK to BUSINESS


Summer 2019

Native vs. Embedded Video On Social Media

Run a test where you share a video natively and via YouTube and see what responses you get.

Wrapping Up The next time you think you’ve run all the marketing tests you can, think again! There are so many opportunities for experimenting - surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset and believe that experimentation leads to breakthroughs. But don’t just flip the page feeling inspired. Pick an experiment from the list to test out in the next few months.


SUMMIT Staff contributed Photography by Paul Adams

Halifax 2019

Opening Plenary: Shifting Tides

Host: Kevin Hewitt, Dalhousie professor and Chair of Senate, Panelists: Nadine Spencer, President of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) and CEO of BrandEQ Agency and Alexandra McCann, the Executive Director of Organization for Nova Scotia Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship (ONSIDE). The panelists spoke about differentiating from the competition to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution, classifying this iteration of the Industrial Revolution as a rapid transformation and acceleration of innovation and technology. Key takeaways from this session included: that the disruption is changing how we connect and engage and many systems and businesses are not ready. In the future marketplace, new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, nanotechnology and others will have a huge impact as many jobs may become obsolete. The digital revolution will be fierce and if businesses are not ready, they can become extinct.

The 10th biennial Black Business Summit energized the audience leaving them with new connections, additional skills, and new inspirations.

No matter the size of the business, companies need to prepare for the digital age - and this could be a small start. If businesses are attached to the way they are operating or the status quo, the business will suffer. People and businesses should be flexible, and organizations should invest in their staff to help them participate fully in the industrial revolution. Learning new skills especially in communication will be imperative.

Chaired by Ross Simmonds, internationally recognized entrepreneur and Digital Strategist, the 2019 Black Business Summit’s theme and workshops spoke to the rapidly changing economic ecosystem. Experts from across Nova Scotia, Canada, and even traveling from Atlanta, Georgia shared their knowledge on effectively seizing local and international opportunities, developing innovative strategies, and incorporating technology into any organization.


They suggested that companies open to innovation should invest in people and invest in their customers. It is very important to let the stakeholders, such as the clients, know and see you use technology.


Summer 2019

Workshop #1:

Workshop #2:

Host: Bertley Francis, Partner at Stewart McKelvey Panelists: Tash Jeffries, founder of Diversa.works and Nkechi Nwafor-Robinson, IT executive and Founder of Empowered in My Skin

Moderator: Keith Gordon, Director of Marketing – Spring Loaded Technology Panelists: Ross Simmonds, Entrepreneur, Strategist – Foundation Marketing and Nadine Theodore, Consul General of Canada to South Eastern US.

The 4th Industrial Revolution

Global Storytelling in a Digital Age

This workshop discussed the new and unique set of challenges and opportunities that businesses are presented with as technology continues to change the way we operate, collaborate, and thrive in the workplace.

The panel explored how companies can effectively use storytelling to build and expand their impact globally. They spoke of how they have successfully used storytelling to help companies grow – for Ross Simmonds as a digital marketing specialist helping business to tell their stories, and for Nadine Theodore helping tell the story of Canadian business, innovation and brand to the US audiences.

The panelists explored how businesses can expand their current operations and networks beyond borders and cross-industry to access their full potential. With the 4th industrial revolution comes a disruption of the traditional power structures, even small businesses are now able to have a presence online and globally.

They said that storytelling was important because stories connect people, shaping who we are. Stories also connect businesses to their customers. The ability to tell their story well can help grow the bottom line for a business. The new digital age eliminates international borders and time-zones, enabling businesses to sell to a global market. To be effective in this marketplace, businesses will need to tell their stories from a global perspective.

They suggested that entrepreneurs and business owners can start small, introducing technology into their daily processes. They spoke to their favorite apps that they use in their day-to-day routines and how it seamlessly integrates to streamline their business practices. Unsatisfied with the status quo, each of the panelists have disrupted their industry, creating their own innovative paths.

Their advice to the workshop participants was you will need to understand the worldview of the audience you are trying to connect to, e.g., understand their pain points and their needs for you to tell your story well. You should know your audience and create solutions that relate to them. It is also important to be authentic in one’s stories by speaking from personal experience, using your own voice and being true to your brand while also being creative with your content. Be consistent with stories, because there are always people somewhere waiting to consume it. Talk to the customers to know what their needs or interests are. Company reviews on different platforms such as Google and Yelp will give you good insights to customer thinking. Create communities with like-minded businesses including your competitors. Importantly choose the right medium to tell your story to the right audiences. Use tools available to effectively share your stories, e.g., content scheduling tools.



Summer 2019

Keynote Luncheon:

The Pitch

Bozoma Saint John

Hosted by Duane Jones, Creative Director, Art Pays Me Judges: Tash Jefferies, Ross Simmonds, and Issmat Al-akhal

The full room stood in applause welcoming this year’s keynote luncheon speaker, Endeavor’s Chief Marketing Officer Bozoma Saint John’s. A highlight of the event for most, the fireside chat was moderated by Cassandra Dorrington, President and CEO of CAMSC. Read more about the conversation in this issue’s cover story.

The Pitch showcased Bursity.ca and Bailly, two innovative Black-owned businesses who are Shifting Tides in their areas of expertise. “Education is everyone’s right,” says Charles Milton, founder of Bursity.ca. With a goal to help 100,000 students in the next five years through both Canadian and Nation-wide platforms, Bursity.ca is on its way with their engagement and marketing strategies. Ariel Gough and Edwina Govindsamy, founders of Bailly’s Perfume, also pitched. Bailly’s produce a cruelty-free and 100% vegan fragrances. Their level of productivity and customer acquisition techniques is noteworthy. On October 24, the BBI and Sobey’s presents In Motion - a pitch competition for the Black business community. More details to come on our website and social media!



Summer 2019

Awards Dinner & Gala The conference ended with a networking reception and the Awards Dinner and Gala. In celebration of Black business excellence, the evening recognized two deserving businesses. Ernest Asante Korankye of Asante Freights & Exports Ltd. received the Hector Jacques Award for exhibiting business excellence and being a true leader that demonstrates social and business responsibility. In recognition of demonstrated success, Andreas Robinson of Live Infinitus received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Following the dinner and awards, the night finished with a dance hosted by DJ R$ $mooth.


SUMMIT Halifax 2019

Thank you to all who attended this year’s Summit. Special thanks to our wonderful sponsors for their continued support.



Summer 2019

By Nicole Brooks de Gier

Blender Networks Inc.

Photography by Ezabriell Fraser

Causing a stir online John Thomas (JT) Manning came of age surrounded by the influence of the Black Business Initiative. Growing up in Dartmouth, both of his parents were successful entrepreneurs and he knew that one day he wanted to strike out on his own. “I started in the family mailroom and worked my way up,” he explained. “Because of my parents’ influence I knew that I wanted to be my own boss too one day.” After a successful career in ad sales, Manning and his wife, Jodi, decided to go-it-alone and created Blender Networks an e-commerce company that drives online sales for major retailers. The company uses targeted online ads for their clients to drive online shoppers to the client’s website to convert the ad to a sale. In fewer than seven years the company lists Macy’s, eBay, Nordstrom and Walmart as clients. “We caught the wave at the right time,” he said, “with the rise of online shopping and increase of social media.” Since its launch, Blender Networks was voted one of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Startups in Canada and Manning was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. “I have a competitive edge. It started when I was a young football player at Dartmouth High School and Saint Mary’s University and never left me,” Manning said. “I’m always looking for the next challenge, the next opportunity.” As a direct result of Manning’s competitive nature, in June Blender Networks launched a new app called Added Influence. “This app really capitalizes on the idea of the social media ‘influencer’ and how today, everybody is an influencer,” Manning said. He explained that through Added Influence, anyone on social media can post photos online and refer their followers to the brand of jeans, sunglasses or other items in the photo their followers admire. However, instead of needing thousands of followers to establish a partnership with a retailer, Added Influence allows the everyday social media user’s selfie to be an opportunity to create revenue.

JT Manning, President of Blender Networks Inc.

902-441-5654 jt@blendernetworks.com www.blendernetworks.com

“Our vision for Added Influence is Uber for social media,” explained Manning. “Through the app users can drop a selfie with a new product and a bit.ly (a small link) will be automatically added to their post. The link will take their followers directly to a source to purchase the product. Then the user gets paid through the link they created when their followers click-through.” The possibility of Added Influence is a direct result of Blender Network’s prestigious list of clientele and their extensive product portfolios. “A user can pose for a picture in their new sunglasses, tag the brand using Added Influence, and the app will find the sunglasses in one of our client’s stores.” Manning said Blender Networks works by helping brands to constantly reinvent themselves and their products to stay current and ahead of the trends, but he credits the experience of working for his parents and their businesses to his success. “Early on I learned the do’s and don’ts of [having your own] business to increase the odds of success,” he said, “Getting that early apprenticeship time to both learn and fail is key and because of that we’re always ready to take a risk for our next big thing.”



Summer 2019

MAJAK Environmental Management Consultancy

By Nicole Brooks de Gier Photography contributed

Mutually beneficial mining Rugi Jalloh grew-up in Sierra Leone. Both her town and its neighbouring community had open-pit mines. The pervasiveness of mining in both towns was a double-edged sword: they offered employment and spurned further employment opportunities down the chain, but members of both communities were very concerned with the lasting effects the mines would have on the community as its natural resources were plundered. “In Sierra Leone we spend a lot of time sitting in the shade of our verandas when it’s hot. While I was outside one day, I overheard men talking about the mines and how they must be stopped,” Jalloh recalled. “They’re exploiting our resources, they said, but what could they do? Everyone’s family – the whole community – earned their living because of the mine.” Influenced by this, Jalloh went on to earn an undergraduate degree in geology and geography from the University of Sierra Leone, upon immigrating to Halifax in 1996, she studied Human Ecology at Mount Saint Vincent University and earned her master’s degree. After the birth of her son, Khalifa, Jalloh returned to university once more and earned another master’s in environmental studies from Dalhousie University. “For my thesis, I wrote implementing the United Nations international cyanide management code and how it could be implemented in Canadian gold mining companies operating overseas to improve practices, save and support mining communities,” Jalloh recalled with pride. While mining was never far from Jalloh’s mind, her career trajectory led her down a different environmental pathway. “I work for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a fish habitat biologist,” she explained. Her role with the federal government involves reviewing the wanted construction of structures in the marine environment and working with the builders to avoid and mitigate the effects of their projects on fish and fish habitat. Part of her role also includes providing expert support advice to federal contaminated site remediation. “Whether it’s the supports for a wharf, infilling, dredging, or remediating contaminated sites,” said Jalloh, “it all has an impact on the aquatic environment in that space and that the type of review required to avoid serious harm to fish and fish habitat before the work can be approved to move forward.” Despite the demands of her federal career, which Jalloh affectionately referred to her ‘day job,’ she has also established a successful environmental consultancy to pursue her passion for encouraging and implementing safe, socially responsible mining practices both in her native home of Sierra Leone and other mining communities around the world. “As part of MAJAK Environmental Management Consultancy, I work with private enterprises and other multinational corporations on how to implement environmental practices that will reduce their business’s ecological footprint,” said Jalloh. “Right now, I do much of this work by delivering online courses via online platforms to businesses and mining communities of all sizes.” Jalloh recalled her experience working for Sierra Rutile, mining company in Sierra Leone. As part of her role, she visited with neighbouring communities that faced relocation because of ecological fallout of strip mining of rutile and other bi-products. One of the communities she visited was completed flooded shortly after her she left it. “Many of the multinational corporations that have mines in Africa and South America do not follow environmental protection protocols and do not consult with the local communities and environmental experts,” Jalloh said. “The goal of MAJAK is to work with both the community and the corporation to develop an action plan to mine the resources in a mutually beneficial way, while protecting the environment.” “I’m working to change the story, from what I saw in Sierra Leone, to empowering communities to claim their land and require outside companies to respect the community and its resources. You can extract resources without exploitation - it can be a win-win. I will show them how.” BLACK to BUSINESS


Summer 2019

Rugi Jalloh - MAJAK Environmental Management Consultancy

902-802-8622 info@majak-env.com

Community Connection

Improving health outcomes, one app at a time Professor Rita Orji, Computer Scientist By Nicole Brooks de Gier One of the most inspiring aspects of the career of Rita Orji, computer science professor at Dalhousie University, is that growing up in a rural village in Nigeria she hadn’t used a computer before she began her first university course in computer science. “I grew up in a remote village that had no electricity. We were financially challenged. My parents encouraged both me and my sister to get an education and the whole village supported me.” “I loved mathematics. I wanted to study math and my people wanted me to study medicine,” she said, “but, my sister who was already in the university, encouraged me to study computer science because it allowed me to express my love for math.” Arriving at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, the other students in Orji’s first computer science classes seemed better equipped. “I felt so behind. I remember thinking, ‘Will I survive this?’” Orji confessed. “But I was open to learning and I was ready to learn from anyone. I worked very hard and by the end of my first year I had excelled to become one of the top three students in the class and eventually graduated as a top student with first class honours in computer science.” While computer science was foreign territory to Orji, hard work was the way of life for her family. “Many in my village, including my parents, had no formal education. We work hard for everything.”

As Orji wrapped up her first year of university, she was offered a job teaching basic math and computer skills and quickly began earning a monthly salary that eclipsed her parent’s annual income.

Once she established her professorship at Dalhousie, Orji set out to achieve her goal of working to use technology to improve the health and wellness of those around the world, especially under-served populations.

In the early 2000’s it was commonplace for many families in North America to have a home computer and many university students had their own personal computers. This wasn’t the case in Nigeria. As Orji advanced in her studies, she spent much of her time in Internet Cafés researching options to further her education and writing universities and professors for scholarship opportunities at schools around the world. She went on to complete a master’s degree in informatics from Middle East Technical University and then earned her Ph.D. at the University of Saskatchewan.

Building on the prevalence of mobile phone use, Orji developed several applications (apps); including apps for promoting mental health, an app for maternal and infant health; and persuasive apps that use gamification to teach its users about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV – topics that are still considered taboo in most parts of Africa.

“When I left Nigeria to do my master’s, I knew I wanted to use my research to connect with humanity and my home,” she said. As a result, Orji decided to focus her career and research on constrictive computing, specifically within the area of health and wellness at Dalhousie University. She had offers from five different universities but settled on Halifax. “As a Black woman in STEM, being part of an organization, that genuinely accommodated diversity is very important to me. It gives me some sense of belonging. That played a major role in my decision to work and live here. The community is encouraging, supportive and respects diversity.”

Kelli Tynes-Harrington Sales Representative

Mobile (902) 209-0808 Office (902) 453-1700 Fax (902) 482-5047 kelli@royallepage.ca 7071 Bayers Road, Suite 102 Halifax, NS B3L 2C2 R® R E ALT O

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

www.kellitynesharrington.com BLACK to BUSINESS


Summer 2019

“Through the use of the app that teaches about STIs and HIV, the user can get valid, reliable, confidential, and current information about transmission, prevention, and symptoms of these diseases,” Orji said. “They can also book confidential testing. All things that many people still don’t talk about it in Africa because of the strong stereotypes.” After the 2019 spring semester concluded, Orji left Nova Scotia and returned to Africa to begin the research for what will form the necessary health background for a new app that is intended to reduce maternal and infant mortality in rural Africa. “There are a tremendous number of factors that must be looked at to create an app that’s designed to be tailored and personalized to the users in Africa: income, literacy level, technical knowledge, culture, and religious beliefs and more,” said Orji. “But ultimately, the end product will empower women and save lives and that’s my goal.”

Dr. Rita Orji, Professor Dalhousie University 902-494-1677 rita.orji@dal.ca

BBI News – PARTNER SHOWCASE By Lydia Phillip

Imhotep Legacy Academy

Photography contributed

What can a business professional learn by building a Robot? Established in 2003, Imhotep’s Legacy Academy is a non-profit initiative between Dalhousie University and various community partners dedicated to increasing the representation of students of African heritage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) studies and careers. ILA does this through a suite of free, handson, curriculum-based programs offered to junior high, high school, and university students in Nova Scotia. Emtenan Al-Taher (Ihsan Academy, Gr. 10), Obed Harun (Rocky Lake Jr. High School, Gr. 8) and Tjasa Allen (Park West Jr. High, Gr. 9) are three students who have taken their interest in STEM to a higher level. They speak enthusiastically about their aspirations for the future. Obed says his love for math and problem-solving has lead him to become interested in finance. Emtenan is keen on helping people through a career in pharmacology, while Tjasa says her plans are to become a neurosurgeon. The three students collaborated on a 3D printing activity, which allowed them to learn about the real-life applications of the technology in their field of interest. Each designed their own 3D prototype, presenting the tangible result of their work during the afternoon pitch session at the Black Business Summit. In line with this year’s Summit theme “Shifting Tides”, Imhotep’s Legacy Academy seeks to promote Black excellence in STEM, so that African Nova Scotian learners are exposed to STEM careers as a viable option for their futures with infinite possibilities. Imhotep students are encouraged to achieve academic excellence and to become enterprising and entrepreneurial using their talents. ILA partners with Buisness is Jammin’ program to present the RBC iCode + Program that teaches computer literacy and exposes students to computer programming - professional skills that are in high demand for the future business economy. ILA’s core programs include an After-School Program (ASP) with hands-on science experiments and the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) coding and robotics program for junior high students; as well as in-person and online tutoring in mathematics and sciences via the Virtual School tutoring Program (VSP) for high school students. At the university level, ILA offers a rich and diverse learning community, scholarship and research opportunities. Students attending the FIRST LEGO League program at Imhotep’s Legacy Academy, learn dedication, problem solving and teamwork when building a robot that is ready for competition. These skills, as any busines-saavy person knows, are keys to success. Imhotep’s Legacy Academy took part in the 2019 Black Business Summit. Guests were invited to join staff, students and program mentors at the ILA Learning Centre at Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus for a reception on June 13, featuring live science demonstrations, networking and a tour of the innovative Makerspace lab.


During the summer months, ILA operates workshops such as rocketbuilding, 3D-printing, tutoring, program development, and family engagement activities. Interested in supporting, donating or having a STEM workshop brought to your school or organization? Visit the Dalhousie website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube! Or Contact: Nzingha Millar, African Nova Scotian Science Outreach Coordinator outreach.imhotep@dal.ca 902.494. 2420


Summer 2019

BIJ Report

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

Experiences in Architecture BIJ hosted an Experience in Architecture session in partnership with Dalhousie University School of Architecture and Planning and the Architects’ Association of New Brunswick. Together, grade 9 African Nova Scotian youth from Dartmouth were introduced to the discipline of architecture as viable career opportunity and a method for creativity and cultural expression. Students experienced life on campus with an overnight stay at Dalhousie University and through hands-on activities throughout the day. The long-term goal of the program is to increase the participation of African Nova Scotians in the fields of architecture and planning, resulting in a more diverse sector. The program also allows for the expression of Black culture in society through design and construction of structures and the communities around us.

RBC iCode+ We thank our community partners at the Community YMCA for their participation in launching a successful RBC iCode+ cohort with their youth. The RBC iCode+ program is designed to provide hands on basic computer literacy and computer programing training to youth ages 16 to 29 years-old in the Black and minority communities; with the purpose of building their knowledge and skills while encouraging participation in higher education and equipping them for the possibility of gaining employment or pursuing entrepreneurship.

Summer Camps The goal at Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) is to expose youth to entrepreneurship, social enterprise, education, and personal development through experiential learning, and BIJ’s Social Entrepreneurship. Summer Camps makes this a reality with BIJ camps in Dartmouth, Halifax, Pictou and Wolfville this summer.



Summer 2019

Summit Summary - BIJ

The Dr. Rudy Ffrench Trailblazer Award

The Dr. Rudy Ffrench Trailblazer Award is presented annually by Business Is Jammin’ to Nova Scotian youth of African Descent for contributions to their community, as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as volunteers, students, athletes and/or artists. Among these outstanding individuals, two youth from across the Province are selected annually as “Trailblazers” and are awarded a $1,000 scholarship towards tuition, books, or other related fees at a recognized post secondary educational institution. We would like to congratulate our 2019 Award Receipts, Carmahan McCalla and Keona Simmons! Carmahn and Keona were presented the Dr. Rudy Ffrench Trailblazer Award at the 2019 Black Business Summit. These two phenomenal students are Shifting Tides in their communities and across the Province. On behalf of the Black Business Initiative Board of Directors and Staff and Business is Jammin’ we wish Carmahn and Keona continued success throughout their postsecondary journey.

Keona Simmons is an a young African Nova Scotian woman attending grade 12 French Immersion at Auburn Drive High School. She will be travelling to New Brunswick to study psychology at St. Thomas University in the fall. Keona was recently chosen to help organize and execute a community service project with YMCA Community Action Network (YCAN). Through a community garden, the project provided fresh vegetables for seniors and created a connection between older and younger generations. This experience also provided Keona the opportunity to travel to Toronto to attend the #LeadersToday Global Youth Service Summit where she centralized ideas that turned into policy recommendations for the Prime Minister. Keona was also instrumental in the development of educational resource materials for the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia. She demonstrated this leadership in a presentation on the importance of culture, heritage and youth to the Prime Minister of Canada, Hon. Justin Trudeau when he was visiting the Centre. Another accomplishment she is proud of is being selected to represent NS Black Youth on the Minister’s Advisory Council on Student Issues where she was able to speak about issues facing Black youth.


Carmahn McCalla is an a young African Nova Scotian woman and a current grade 12 student at Prince Andrew High School. Carmahn will be attending Dalhousie University in the fall where she is enrolled in the Applied Computer Science program. She has many goals, one is to build an in-depth image reference software, specifically for artists to use. Another goal of hers is to work with small local business owners to create and support their websites at an affordable price. Carmahn is also a writer and artist who acts, sings and dances to share her passions with the world. She is a creative and open-minded individual who extremely enjoys extra curricular activities, which include The Ujima Cultural Group, Imhotep Legacy Academy and Music Liberatory. She says, “Education is most important to me because in this age, we have the opportunity to learn about almost anything, and ignorance can no longer be considered bliss.”


Summer 2019

Meet the Board of Directors

Jocelyn Dorrington Jocelyn Dorrington is one of six children born and raised in New Glasgow to Francis and Frances Dorrington. She was active in both the church and extra-curricular school activities. Upon graduating High School she moved to Halifax to attend Dalhousie University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and also earned a Bachelor of Education from St. Mary’s University. After a few years living in Toronto, Jocelyn returned to New Glasgow and for 10 years taught grades 11 and 12 at New Glasgow High. She also volunteered in the community and served on community boards. Jocelyn’s career has spanned 36 years in education. Along with classroom teaching, she was an executive director for a not for profit; worked with the Department of Education, developing public school curriculum and policies; and as a central office administrator for Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. She has since retired from work but continues to volunteer giving her time to organizations that support the African Nova Scotian community in areas of education, business and youth development. In May 2019, Jocelyn embarked on a ‘new adventure’ - municipal politics and was successful in the Ward One by-election in New Glasgow. She now has the distinction of being the first woman of African descent to hold the Ward One Councillor position, coincidently, a position held by her father four decades ago. With this new role, she thanks her Dad for forging the path and honours him by following in his footsteps. Jocelyn says her foundation is family, friends, education, career, a sense of community, volunteering and the willingness to explore and try new opportunities.



Summer 2019

Meet the Staff

Rebekah Lailson High School Co-op Student Rebekah is a fourteen-year-old Mexican-Canadian who loves art, animals, and design. Homeschooled since first grade, eighth grader, Rebekah was enrolled in the cooperative education program placement with Business is Jammin’ with her twin sister, Aliyah. Rebekah recently finished her 80-hour co-op student placement with the BIJ youth program coordinator. Rebekah loves applying her talent through drawing and watercolor painting. Interested in graphic design, she practices through digital drawing and editing photos. She loves working with animation software and has even created her own website cratedogtimes.com. A multi-lingual individual, Rebekah studies various languages, including Latin, Spanish and English. She is currently learning Brazilian Portuguese and estimates she will be fluent in it a year from now. “Working with BBI has really caused me to open up and share what I can do,” says Rebekah. “BBI and BIJ have really caused me to go out there and make friends and put me out of my comfort zone, something that by myself I wouldn’t do.” Rebekah wants to live and study graphic design in Brazil. She says her dream job is to work with dogs, have her own family, and be able to travel around the globe.

Ikechukwu Harris-Eze Dalhousie University Co-op Student Born in Nigeria, Ike grew up in Southern Ontario and Midwest USA. He is an industrial engineering student with a financial service background. Currently enrolled at Dalhousie University, he holds a business administration degree with a major in accounting from St. Francis Xavier university. In 2017, he was awarded the Bob Walter Award, which is the highest honor the Dalhousie Engineering Society bestows upon their graduates. Ike is a process improvement engineer co-op placement with the BBI. Previously, he worked as a program analyst at IMP Group Limited-Aerospace and Defence; a supply chain analyst at Irving Consumer Products; in financial services at CIBC; an outside sales representative at Web.com, as well as an operational analyst at Citco Fund Services. Ike volunteers with the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students and is its vice president of finance and administration and has also held positions on many conference planning committees as well as positions at Dalhousie. Ike’s experience has allowed him to be adaptive, versatile, and a forward thinker. His ability to analyze problems, formulate ideas and create solutions gives him the tools to be able to contribute to any team. In his spare time, Ike enjoys listening to music, playing and following sports, and is a self-proclaimed foodie who loves trying out new spots around the city.



Summer 2019

Ask The BBI

Staff contributed

Growing your business with Google My Business The business profile on Google works on all devices, including mobile. When a searcher discovers your business profile, they will first see your business overview including information such as address, contact info, hours of business and more. The business description section can be used to inspire customers with a description of your products and services. Photos and videos allow your customers to see your store and products before visiting. Reviews allow customers to see what the community is saying about your business. Quick links allow customers to call, request directions, save your profile, or visit your website. The business owner has control over much of the information through a dashboard. It allows updates to be posted including media, change details (such as adding special hours), and opportunities to communicate directly with customers. Profiles that are detailed and up to date are more likely to show in relevant searches.

In the digital age we live in, it has become beneficial for a business to have a strong web presence and be accessible to customers who are looking for it. There are many tools that business owners can leverage to ensure theirs is the first business that people see when they are looking. One of the most versatile of these is a free Google platform called “Google My Business”. Google My Business will help your business show up when customers search for it or businesses like it on Google Search or Google Maps. In this summary piece, adapted from the Grow your Business presentation by Google, we outline some of the benefits and features of this tool and how you can create your own business profile. According to Google’s internal data, people visit 1.5 billion destinations each month related to their Google searches. There are billions of local searches made monthly; 30% of all mobile searches are related to location. The Business Profile in Google helps searchers find businesses nearby. Creating a Business Profile in Google My Business allows you to control the details that appear on your business listing in Google and ensures that the information is consistent and up to date. It doesn’t replace your company’s website but can help your profile stand out and drive people to your website. The profile also allows you to interact with customers and obtain insight reports on people who visit your profile. While this won’t guarantee your business will appear when searched, it will surely help.

To qualify for a business profile, a business must meet with customers face-to-face, at a store or within a specified service area. To learn more about Google My Business and to create your business profile visit www.google.com/business.



ADVICE. Your Community Lender

To find your nearest CBDC visit www.cbdc.ca or call 1-888-303-2232 The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is pleased to provide financial support to the CBDCs in Atlantic Canada.



Summer 2019

Regional Report By Rodger Smith, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager The saying goes ‘how time flies’, and here we are at the end of another biennial BBI Summit, titled Shifting Tides. This year’s summit was held at the new Halifax Convention Centre and what a spectacular place to have an event. The highlight was our luncheon keynote speaker Bozoma Saint John whom I had the privilege of meeting; she was amazing. Congratulations to this year’s winner of the Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence, Ernest Korankye of Assante Freight Lines Limited, who has an import/ export business in Truro. Andreas Robinson, of Infinitus Academy, received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his social enterprise venture. Infinitus’ mission is to empower youth, individuals and communities to embrace their limitless potential. Since our fiscal year began (April 1st) and in our continued effort to support Black business growth, we presented three (3) loans to our Loans Committee for a total approval of approximately $56,000.00 with leveraged loan approvals totalling $185,000.00 through our various partners. We continue to spread the word across the province about BBI’s programs and services. In early May, I and our BIJ Youth Program Coordinator- Ashley Hill – travelled to Sydney to host an afternoon intake session with the community at Menelik Hall in Whitney Pier. During the trip I also visited with clients. Ashley reached out to the various educational institutions to promote Role Models on the Road and met with Whitney Pier Youth Club representatives who will be hosting our BIJ summer camp. On our return, we visited a potential client in Antigonish who is looking to expand her esthetics and electrolysis business with possible financing from the BBI.

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.


On June 6th, the African Nova Scotian Kick Start Apprenticeship event was held in Sydney featuring various skills, trades and apprenticeship opportunities. Several community members attended the event hosted by the African Nova Scotian Affairs office, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and BBI. Sobey BBI ad .66 page June 2018.indd 1



Summer 2019

6/21/2018 3:43:55 PM

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

By Lydia Phillip, Training & Communications Manager

Museum Hours

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

Graduates of the Financial Management 101 course with Instructor April Stroink.

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

think: better together

The Black Business Initiative (BBI) is known for its Training Department. We provide free business and professional development courses to Black and racially visible minority entrepreneurs and employees. These programs are strategically selected to accommodate for market trends and clients’ needs, to help build the skills, knowledge, and confidence of participants. These training programs would not be possible without the support of partners, particularly the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and the Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia (AWENS) and Well Engineered Inc. Congratulations to the graduates of the following courses: • Sales Training for Small Businesses • Financial Management 101

Through our sponsorship and support we strive to encourage greater inclusion and cultural understanding across all our Atlantic Canadian communities. We are better together. stewartmckelvey.com

• Advanced Excel • Digital Marketing These courses will be offered in the BBI Fall 2019 training program (courses are subject to change based on availability): • Foundations for Success • Financial Management Level II • Marketing-Action Plan Training • Business Skills for Growth and Profitability Any questions about the BBI Training Department can be directed to training@bbi.ns.ca or through the website www.bbi.ca/training



Summer 2019

Delmore “Buddy” Daye

Learning Institute

Excellence in Africentric Education & Research

Would you like to recieve or advertise in B2B? Contact Black Business Initiative at: 902-426-8683 advertising@bbi.ns.ca

5450 Cornwallis Street, Halifax, NS B3K 1A9

Engage Become Learn www.dbdli.ca f l i i 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







Friday, September 13, 2019 8:45am Registration | SHOTGUN 10am Granite Springs Golf Club

For Sponsorship Opportunities & Team Entries Please Contact: Ashley Hilli | businessisJammin.ca | hill.ashley@bbi.ns.ca

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