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The Periodical of the Black Business Initiative

Also in this Issue • Renewing Old Trade Links • Harriet R. Michel • Recognizing the Rocks Summer 2008 u Number 40

“A dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia Business Community.”


Black to Business

Message from the Board of Directors

In this Issue

Cassandra Dorrington, Chair, Black Business Initiative 1

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

2

Harriet R. Michel

3

Kelly Carrington Massage Therapy On the Go

5

Trailblazers

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cessful. This includes the BBI staff, board members, volunteers, in addition to our key partners and contractors. For your guidance and help in selecting the theme, identifying the keynote speakers, designing the workshops and working through the conference logistics my special thanks to each one of you for a job well done. There were many details and you managed to skillfully and artfully connect the dots to ensure a highly successful and entertaining business summit.

Paul Adams

Message from the Board

Encouraging Responsibility Glasgow Educational Consultants 9 YOUTH ON THE MOVE -Eli Goree Acting his way to Da Kink 11 Renewing Old Trade Links

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2008 Summer Youth Coordinators

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FEATURE STORY A SUMMIT TO REMEMBER!

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The Real Chris Gardner

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ASK THE BBI

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CULTURE BEAT - Up Home Shauntay Grant & Susan Tooke

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BBI STATISTICS 2007-08

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PEOPLE & BUSINESS on the Move 25 BBI 2008 Training Schedule

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Ruff Endz Clothing Tyson Tolliver & Rainie Williams

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Recognizing the Rocks, the Foundation of the BBI

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Business & Community Events

30

Regional Reports

Southern

6

Business Development

10

Central

10

Northern

27

Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687

Summer 2008

1

Chart the Course, Steer the Course, Stay the Course

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n June, the Black Business Initiative (BBI) hosted its sixth biannual Business Summit. With such internationally renowned speakers as Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happyness, and Ephren Taylor, the youngest African-American CEO of a publicly traded company, the 2008 BBI Business Summit was considered our best to date. I say this because we have managed to build on past successes and learned from our past mistakes so that each year, the event becomes tighter, larger and more reflective of our mandate. I would be remiss not to mention the exceptional people who worked together to make that event suc-

Black to Business is the official periodical of The Black Business Initiative and is published quarterly spring, summer, fall, and winter. 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 Stories, Notices or Community Events, or for More Information, call: 902-426-2224

In all of our years of operation the BBI has remained clear and focused on the vision, “To create a vibrant and dynamic Black presence within the business community of Nova Scotia�. Akin to our summit speakers, BBI has been focused on charting the course, steering the course and staying the course. I cannot stress enough that while the Black community is small in numbers, it is very rich with talent.

While our methodology of staying the course is simple, it has been reinforced from the stories of many successful people. For example, we have learned from people like Chris Gardner. For those of you who have read his book or watched the movie, Chris Gardner was very clear on his continued on page 6> The Black Business Initiative 1575 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2G1 Phone: 902-426-2224 Fax: 902-426-6530 Toll Free: 1-800-668-1010 E-Mail: bbi@bbi.ns.ca Web Site: www.bbi.ns.ca Published by: the Black Business Initiative Editor in Chief: Rustum Southwell Design & Layout: Design North Production by: Mirabliss Media Productions Cover Photograph: Peter Marsman


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Summer 2008

Message From the Chief Executive Officer

Peter Marsman

S. I. Rustum Southwell business person realizes that “Don’t think and go under” is the other side of that coin. Business failure is the reality awaiting those who choose not to plan, whereas exponential growth rewards detailed growth strategies. The Black Business Initiative (BBI) presented two such businesses in the Nova Scotia Black community with awards at its 6th Black Business Summit Gala, Friday, June 20.

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hen I was a young boy, my father, who played several musical instruments, always told me that if you spend the time to design and develop anything well, it will endure forever. He referenced the complete works of Shakespeare and the music of Beethoven lasting hundreds of years, as compared to the Beatles, a Sixties fad. I realize it is only 40 years or so for the Beatles, but it looks likely that every era will have its own heroes. Essentially, one generation’s Beethoven is another generation’s Beatles; one generation’s Rockefeller is another generation’s Bill Gates. In math and science Archimedes came before Pascal, who came before Einstein and so on. Our world unfurls in a way where nothing happens before it is time. The donkey cart and chariots came before the automobile and the airplane were invented. We crawl before we can stand and stand before we walk or run. Businesses operate essentially on these same principles; all companies grow in stages and planned growth. “Think big or go home” works only when the

The Hector Jacques Award of Excellence, now in its fifth year, recognizes companies that demonstrate exceptionally strong business acumen and manage their businesses well, with strategic intelligence. This year’s recipient is Dr. Abdullah Kirumira (BioMedica). Dr. Kirumira is a Ugandan-born scientist and entrepreneur, who developed one of the world’s first rapid HIV diagnostic tests, founded two of Atlantic Canada’s bestknown biotechnology companies and, most recently, developed an affordable way for cash-strapped hospitals in his native continent of Africa to access vital diagnostic equipment. Each year, we think the field of finalists can’t get much more impressive. And yet, each year they do. Dr. Kirumira embodies what the Hector Jacques Award is really about – finding ways to succeed despite obstacles and challenges. Celebrating with Dr. Kirumira was Pauline Patten, owner of Pauline’s Beauty Care, who earned this year’s BBI Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This award highlights the very best in our Black entrepreneurial community, an entrepreneur with a successful and growing business who has demonstrated leadership, strong financial performance, and innovative and marketable products or services. Ms Patten owns Pauline’s Beauty Care, providing a full range of beauty care including hair and esthetic services with a special emphasis on super-curly hair. On Wednesday evening, with several

dignitaries among the audience, BBI and Summit Chair Cassandra Dorrington invited Premier Rodney MacDonald to declare the conference open. After the official messages from Minister Peter MacKay via video conference on behalf of our federal partners and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Nova Scotia Economic Development Minister Angus MacIsaac and City Councillor Dawn Sloane, the conference got down to business. We once again had great keynote presentations by Chris Gardner (author of The Pursuit of Happyness), Ephren Taylor (the youngest Black CEO of a publicly traded company in the USA), and Harriet Michel definitely in the Top-50 most influential Black women in the USA. Each summit has a special touch with the youth delegates and the business panelists. Summit 6 was up to the usual standard and a more detailed report is in this issue. The Summit Gala was the final act of business after an informative and fun-filled three days. Summit years are always our busiest times from March until July, with the year-end duties and annual reporting over and above normal work. Our staff team did a tremendous job in pulling all of this together. Finalizing the balance scorecard for the operation is the tool that will give us the discipline to maintain order, direction and deliver on our vision for the future. Cheyanne GormanTolliver and Idy Fashoranti are the backbone of this process and we are engaging Bernard Elwin, Gordon Doe, Evan Williams, and Gregory Nazaire to manage the results of using the scorecard tool. The 38th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), hosted by the Government of Canada, was held at the Halifax World Trade continued on page 10>


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Summer 2008

Harriet R. Michel President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

Harriet R. Michel is the President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), a private non-profit organization that expands business opportunities for minority-owned companies of all sizes. NMSDC encourages mutually beneficial economic links between minority suppliers and the public and private sectors, and helps build a stronger, more equitable society by supporting and promoting minority business development. The NMSDC Network, which includes 39 affiliated regional councils, matches more than 15,000 certified minority businesses (Asian,

by: Chad Lucas photos: Peter Marsman Black, Hispanic and Native American) with its more than 3,500 corporate members that want to purchase their goods and services. In 2004, NMSDC member corporations’ purchases from minority-owned businesses reached $84 billion. Ms. Michel is a noted administrator and public policy expert on minority issues. She has worked for over 30 years in the public sector developing and managing programs that address major social concerns. Before joining NMSDC in September 1988, Ms. Michel was a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where she taught a course on politics and public policy issues and wrote about Black leadership. From 1983 to February 1988, Ms. Michel was president and chief executive officer of the New York Urban League. As chief administrator, she was responsible for services provided to over 70,000 New Yorkers annually through more than 20 programs in education, employment, health/social services and housing.

Cassandra Dorrington, BBI Chair with Harriet Michel

Ms. Michel has been the recipient of many awards throughout her career. In recent years these awards and citations have included making Black Enterprise Magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Black Women in Business, as featured in the February 2006 issue, the 2005 Inaugural Inductee to the Minority Business Hall of Fame and

Museum; 2005 Compass Award; The Women’s Leadership Exchange; the 2004 National Inner City Leadership Award from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; 2004 Lifetime Service Achievement Award during Asian Enterprise’s 10th anniversary gala; 2004 Hall of Fame award from Enterprising Women magazine; the inaugural Champion Award during the 2003 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference; 2003 Alvaro Martins Heritage Award from the Executive Leadership Council; 2003 Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency; 2002 Building Bridges Award from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Pioneer Award from Minority Business News USA/ Billion Dollar Roundtable. Ms. Michel has been a member of three U.S. Agencies for International Development missions to South Africa to discuss the governments’ role in, as well as successful corporate models of, small/minority business development. She was also appointed to the U.S.-Haiti Business Development Committee.


Black to Business

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My Time with

Harriet Michel

Having heard a lot

about Harriet Michel, who was named one of the 50 most powerful Black women in the United States, I couldn’t wait to meet her here in Halifax. Moreover, it emerged as an opportunity to talk about my homeland Haiti – a place that she later showed to know maybe even better than I do – since her husband of 30 years is of Haitian origin. We drove to the airport; the limo service was on time as was Mrs. Michel’s flight. After a couple of minutes spent to get cleared through Canada Customs, she came out and said to me with a smile, “You look like you’re waiting for somebody.” The Black Business Initiative (BBI) invited her to participate in a panel and to deliver an opening speech

at the 2008 Black Business Summit. While walking to the limo she suddenly stopped and asked if I was Haitian, and when I confirmed my Haitian background she cheered me with a tap on the back. On our way to the hotel we spent our time talking about Haiti, but also about living in the Maritimes in general and Halifax in particular. She was eager to know more about the Black community in Nova Scotia and the cohabitation with other communities. While driving through some of the neighborhoods in Dartmouth, she told me that it brought back some good memories about her childhood in Pennsylvania. We arrived 30 minutes later at the hotel and then I went back to work. Two hours later, I came back to pick her up for the Summit. When we got there, I immediately realized that she was very popular and many people have heard her name. It looked like it was a homecoming for her. She opened the first workshop with a very eloquent, insightful and humorous speech. She talked a little bit about her life, her success and especially about the price and the benefits of loyalty within the corporate world. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, she fought her way to great successes as a business woman and a powerful bridgebuilder among business people.

Summer 2008 by: Greg Nazaire, RBDM At the Q&A session she commented about how big businesses and federal, provincial and local government agencies can create wealth and strengthen the middle class by encouraging and partnering with minority businesses. Her style is a blend of great leadership, openness and humour. Everybody was more than delighted about her speech and the personality that goes with it. The audience included the Premier of Nova Scotia and the United States Embassy General Counsel. After the workshop we had planned to drive Mrs. Michel for a city tour and a visit to some historical sites such as the Black Cultural Centre, the Citadel, Africville, and some historic properties in downtown so she could discover the rich culture that embodies the city of Halifax. But Harriet Michel being Harriet Michel, very outgoing, was already on her way for a visit to the Black Cultural Centre with Dr. Henry Bishop, so I left her in good company. The next day everybody was getting ready for the main event, the lunch with Chris Gardner and Mrs. Michel was scheduled to introduce him as the keynote speaker. And he was, of course, very well introduced. Then later in the afternoon I walked her back to the hotel for a couple of hours of rest before heading out for the BBI boat cruise that night. During the tour, Mrs. Michel never missed a chance to engage in a very casual and sometime humorous chat with anybody she came across. Openness and energy seem to define her character. She can relate very well to people, which is good evidence of somebody’s greatness. The journey could have been longer and interesting but, because of her very busy schedule, she couldn’t stay another day. The next morning, very early, she flew back to New York.


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Summer 2008

Kelly Carrington Paul Adams

Massage Therapy On the Go

Shauntay Grant a therapeutic massage right in their own environment.

“A lot of my clients were rushing from work on their lunch break to get their massage,” remembers Carrington. “They had to pay for parking, deal with traffic… They get there and spend the first 20 minutes recovering from their travels, and the next 20 minutes thinking about Kelly Carrington, Evolution Massage Therapy going back to work.” Evolution Massage Therapy has t’s a warm summer afterproven to be a great alternative for Carrington’s 40 or so regular customnoon in downtown Halifax. Registered Massage Therapist ers, many of whom he’s been treating since he first got into the business (RMT) Kelly Carrington is in the seven years ago.

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far corner of a busy coffee shop, sharing an apple juice with his “boss”.

“Are you the boss?” Carrington asks his two-year-old son Jonah. “Yes!” smiles Jonah, beaming up at his father with bright eyes. It’s easy to see why Carrington would forgo a busy career at a flourishing downtown spa to start his own private practice.

“It’s very busy,” says Carrington. “A lot of my clients have followed me, which is good. I haven’t advertised at all – it’s all word of mouth.” A graduate of ICT Northumberland College, Carrington is certified in LaStone Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, and Myofascial Release. Using a variety of techniques he provides stress and pain reduction, injury prevention, pre- and post-natal care, deep tissue massage, and relaxation massage.

“I’m all about balance,” says Carrington. “And with the needs of my family, I just decided that it was time to do something on my own. Being “I am a full-time mobile clinic. So able to spend my days with [Jonah] anything that you need for a masand still run a business, and be a hussage is in my truck. I have a regular band… that’s the whole reason I did massage table, a pregnancy massage that. ‘Cause I don’t get this time back. table, and I also have a massage So if I can run a business and still chair.” fulfill the needs of my clients and my family, life is good.” “I’m really trying to create the kind of an environment where people can Carrington is seven years into a sucrealize they don’t have to go go go cessful career as an RMT. In June he all the time,” adds Carrington. “I started his own company. Evolution really think that people need to slow Massage Therapy is a mobile service down and relax. And I think that this that allows his clients to be treated to is the way to get that message across.”

Carrington says his success would not have been possible without tremendous support from some very special and driven people at the BBI and of course, his family. “This business is a family affair because without them the drive wouldn’t be as strong.” And though Carrington is very enthusiastic about his work, a career as a massage therapist wasn’t always in his sights. “After high school I entered the labour work force for two years, and then decided that it was time to learn something new and try to find my passion. I remembered when I was young and my mother used to pay me a little extra allowance to give her a foot rub. I investigated the training for massage therapy and went to a couple of information sessions and applied.” Carrington says the training was challenging, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. “I became very driven by my knowledge to create a career that I would be proud of. And I love it. I love interacting with people and love to do massage. And I’m really not going to do anything else. This is it. As long as I can get up every day and be a good dad, a good husband, and a good massage therapist, my life is balanced and I feel very fulfilled and complete.”

Mobile Massage Clinic Mr. Kelly Carrington, RMT

(902) 449-5622 evolutionmassagetherapy@gmail.com www.evolutionmassage.ca


Black to Business REGIONAL REPORT Southern Greg Nazaire Things seemed to have picked up in the Valley this past summer. It was busier than usual as several projects were undertaken and some major store chains, such as Home Depot, planned to open new outlets in the region. On the same note, the Black Business Initiative (BBI) in partnership with Wendy Aird from West-Hants Development Agency and Michael Campbell in Windsor, is planning a series of workshops and speeches to be delivered in the area. Congratulations to Robert Ffrench, the Executive Director of Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA), for the historical Mathieu Da Costa Trail that the Association magnificently erected and officially launched on July 19. Mathieu Da Costa was a navigator and interpreter of African descent, who travelled extensively throughout the Atlantic in the late 1500s and early 1600s and served as an interpreter for the French and the Dutch to help in their trade with Aboriginal people. I had the privilege of representing the BBI at the VANSDA 2008 Annual General Meeting, where I learned a great deal from several activities planned by the different agencies and cultural organizations in the Valley about the economic growth in the region. We were also treated to a short film about segregation in Nova Scotia classrooms, particularly in the Inglewood community, by filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton from Maroon Films Inc. This past June, I was able to attend the International Council of Small Business (ICSB), which held its 2008 world conference in Halifax. The quality of the papers presented was outstanding and the environment was more than welcoming. The conference presented the very latest research from industry experts and scholars on small business. Since the BBI’s main focus is on micro and small businesses I feel like it was well worth it. On a final note, I would like to congratulate Glynis Simms, whose business is growing to become a premier child care service provider in Kingston, and Saundra Vernon of Ruby’s Sugar Shack in Old Town Lunenburg, who has become the reference in the region when it comes to candies and hard-to-find treats. Should you require any information or to book a regional visit, please contact me at (902) 426-1625 or the toll free number 1-800-668-1010.

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Summer 2008

Message from the Board of Directors continued from page 1

realization of a way out for himself and his family. He was determined to make it as a broker amid the many hardships he encountered along the way. No matter what he had to endure, he soldiered on; for him, staying the course was the goal to his achievement. With BBI, we had received a considerable leg up in our transition from a task force to a formal organization. In addition to the receipt of funding and other key components, BBI developed its strategic plan and made use of its talented board and resource members to implement this plan. I cannot stress enough that while the Black community is small in numbers, it is very rich with talent. Whether we are discussing the board members or the staff members, the organization has benefited from our rich community talent in the ability to chart the course and stay the course. In our expansive organizational structure, we continue to look for skilled and talented businesses and community members for current and future board positions. Whilst the initial BBI model facilitated the vision, it became apparent that to stay the course, we needed to adjust our model to address the many evolutions required to adapt to the ever changing needs of our client base. Another keynote speaker from the 2008 BBI Summit, Ephren Taylor, also spoke about the need to change and evolve in line with the changing conditions. He has grown and evolved his business interests from the creation of 3D video games at age 12 to his current work in the development and promotion of economic empowerment, affordable housing and entrepreneurship in urban communities. That was a huge transition but a very necessary one for his business vision. Much like Ephren’s evolution to stay the course, BBI ‘s evolution to

the Composite Model will work to facilitate the vision by ensuring BBI’s economic viability and continuity in our support of a vibrant and dynamic Black presence in the Nova Scotian business community. I am pleased to say that BBI’s organizational changes, despite our many growing pains, have been and continue to be the lynchpin in the BBI’s transition throughout the evolutionary process. In fact, given my regular business travels throughout the Caribbean, and the U.K., I have been looking for alternate business models from which we can learn. In all my travels and discussions with numerous business leaders, I am confident in saying that the BBI has developed a unique business model that is clearly demonstrating its success and effectiveness in the business environment. This is further reinforced by the interest we have received from potential clients throughout other parts of Canada, the Caribbean and selected countries in Africa. In conclusion, let me reiterate that having charted the course, and through the process making some modifications to steer the course, BBI has a clear focus on staying the course. Our clients have enjoyed some measure of success, but there is still lots to do on our journey towards the creation of the vibrant and dynamic Black presence within the business community of Nova Scotia. As always we look forward to your active participation and continued support as we stay the course towards: One Brand. One Vision. One Organization.

Cassandra Dorrington, Chair


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Chad Lucas

Peter Marsman

A quick wit, the gift of gab and a knack for gauging a crowd: whether you’re running an awards show or hosting a business lunch, it takes a special set of skills to be a successful emcee. This month’s trailblazers have been keeping audiences entertained for years, and they all showed off their skills during June’s Black Business Summit 2008.

Cecil Wright

Charla Williams

If you’re a sports or music fan at all in Nova Scotia, Cecil Wright’s voice is probably a familiar sound. Wright has emceed everything from the ANSMA Awards to the Black Vibes showcase during the East Coast Music Awards, and he’s a regular presence on EastLink university basketball broadcasts and the weekly cable show Harv’s Sportsland.

Charla remembers her first emceeing gig was a talent show at Dalhousie’s Grawood Lounge back in the 1970s. It was a role others were reluctant to fill, but she jumped at the chance – so she wouldn’t actually have to perform in the show.

Summit Boat Cruise Host

The outspoken Wright, also the baseball coach of the Halifax Pelham Canadians, is rarely at a loss for words – a handy talent for an MC. “Basically you’re just somebody that helps kill time,” he says. “I try to enjoy myself, have some fun with the people.” Wright co-hosted the BBI boat cruise with Charla Williams. “That was a lot of fun,” he says. Wright says he tends to improvise when he emcees, rarely working from prepared notes. “I used to try to write things down, little phrases that would trigger a story, but I find I don’t do that anymore,” he says. “Anytime you plan on that you never use it, or something comes up and you forget to use it.” He’s learned to shake it off if he finds himself in a room that’s less than receptive, though it’s rarely happened to him. “If I was younger, I probably would (think about it),” he says. “But at this stage I think I’m a little older and wiser. You’re going to go to bed in a couple of hours anyway, whether you’re successful or you stink.”

Summit Boat Cruise Host

“I figured I could just do my bit and go home,” she says with a laugh. “But I found it to be something I was relatively good at without a lot of effort.” Williams, an instructor at the Nova Scotia Community College and Dalhousie’s College of Continuing Education, has been in high demand ever since. She’s hosted everything from gospel concerts, CD release parties and public speaking contests to the African Nova Scotian Music Awards (ANSMA) and the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children’s annual broadcast telethon. She has also done several BBI summit events. “Laughter is a major part of my approach, because if you’re laughing, you’re having a good time,” she says. She says good MCs keep the mood light and keep the show moving, but they remember they’re not the main event. “My role is just to introduce what’s going on on the stage, and fill any gaps,” she says. “(The audience) isn’t there to see me. You try to give them some humorous memories, but you don’t want to steal the show.”


Peter Marsman

Black to Business

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Robert Upshaw

Summit Wrap Up - Biz Show Host As a vice-principal, a teacher and a former executive director of the Black Educators Association, Robert Upshaw is used to talking in front of people. But he enjoys letting his funny bone show a little more in his role as an MC. “I was able to take the skills I learned from presenting, speaking and combined them with a sense of humour,” says Upshaw. “I don’t really advertise myself as an emcee, but it’s been more of an opportunity where people have asked me to do certain events.” Upshaw, who’s been a regular emcee of the BBI Summit’s Biz Show, said he considers his role as a performance of sorts. “You become a character in it,” he says. “Performing is making people laugh and keeping the whole thing interesting. I bring as much humour to the event as I can, unless it’s a more serious event. And even then, if I’m involved, it might be questionable,” he says with a laugh. He admits he’s put his foot in his mouth a couple of times – the most awkward is always mispronouncing someone’s name, he says. But he learned from his days doing radio in Cape Breton that the best solution is just to keep talking. “As you gain more experience, you learn how to cover (mistakes),” he says. “You think everybody heard you make that mistake, but usually you’re the only one who notices unless you make a big deal of it and leave a bunch of dead air. So you quickly bounce back.”

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Black to Business

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Encouraging Responsibility Paul Adams

Glasgow Educational Consultants Glasgow’s business is a two-part operation. On the one hand, she offers consulting services geared towards making people aware of educational scholarships, programs and services.

Shauntay Grant “I see it as a long-term commitment to improving the level of students in our community,” says Glasgow. “My model is ‘discipline by example, and encouraging responsibility’. And that starts at home.” Building on the foundation her mother instilled in her at a young age, Glasgow raised both her children to study hard.

“That I offer for free,” says Glasgow. “What I offer as a paid service is tutoring to stu“When my kids were little, five days a dents and adults who week through the summer they would want to upgrade to have ‘school’ – if you do the reading, get their GED, or even then you can go outside and play for people who just want the rest of the day. And every night to improve their litwhen they do homework, the TV is off eracy and mathematical and you don’t answer the phone. And skills.” by the time they got to high school it was a routine.” Glasgow Educational Consultants also helps Both of Glasgow’s children are universiuniversity students with ty graduates, teachers, and tutors with Susan Glasgow, Glasgow Educational Consultants term papers and essays. Glasgow Educational Consultants. And But the company’s prialthough the company’s main clienmary clientele are elementary and ith little education tele are African Nova Scotian learners, junior high school students. Glasgow says she does not necessarily themselves, Susan subscribe to an afrocentric model. Glasgow’s parents “Students who don’t do well in junior raised five university graduand high school (usually) lack the “I believe our students need to live in ates. basic elementary school skills, and a global world,” says Glasgow. “In self-esteem,” says Glasgow. “Many of order to do that they need to have “My mother only had a grade five our students have low literacy rates. self-esteem. Everything in our society education,” says the owner of It’s not because they can’t learn – breaks down that self-esteem in our Glasgow Educational Consultants. they just need a little extra help. youth – the education system, the “But when I was a kid, every night And I don’t think the school system media, the whole world they live in. we had school (in our home). When offers something that really bolsters And even though I use some of the I went to school in the late 50s and the self-esteem of our students, parprinciples (of an afrocentric model), early 60s all of my teachers were ticularly African Nova Scotian stuthe main thing is building self esteem, black and they told me everyday dents.” (encouraging) pride in yourself, and that I was smart, intelligent, and if believing that you can do it.” I didn’t make something of myself Though her it was my own fault. So I attribute services are not my success to my mother and restricted to those black women teachers in East African Nova Preston.” Scotian learners, Glasgow’s busiGlasgow has 31 years of teaching ness was born experience to her credit. Though she Susan M. Glasgow out of a desire to retired in 2006, she’s been operating see youth from Glasgow Educational Consultants Phone: (902) 435-6218 her community 49 Taranaki Drive since 2004, offering tutoring services succeed academE-mail:sgnef@eastlink.ca Dartmouth, NS for youth and adults. ically.

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Black to Business BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

REPORT Gordon Doe

Construction Roundtables Success is the result of doing something very well. And in business, as long as the entrepreneur commits to consistently offer excellent service and quality product, it is just a matter of time before a brand is created and profit is realized. At Black Business Initiative (BBI), we strongly believe that the construction sector presents a big opportunity for our businesses to succeed, hence our unwavering commitment to the sector. Construction expertise abounds in the Black community. What is lacking is the commitment to leverage each other’s skills to undertake sizable projects with good margins. That is why last year the BBI supported the creation of ADEPA Management Inc. to provide construction management services. In the last two months, we started a very interesting conversation among construction stakeholders at the East Preston Mall. Participation has been encouraging, but more important are the issues we discuss. The two top issues we have focused on are first, supporting each other in project implementation and second, reaching out to the youth in our community to introduce them to the different opportunities in the construction sector. The first promises to generate more business through referrals and the second promises to create direct apprenticeship opportunities for the youth. It is obvious that the way to achieve both objectives is through active engagement of stakeholders. So these roundtable discussions will continue once a month at the East Preston Mall. We welcome industry players to our meetings. At our last meeting on Tuesday, August 26, we focused on our youth and explored opportunities for youth in the construction industry. Call Gordon Doe at 426-6985 if you have any questions. CEDIF On Thursday, June 5, the Black Business Community Investment Fund (BBCIFL) held its 5th Annual General Meeting at the Delta Barrington hotel, Halifax. As usual, a number of reports were presented at the meeting and shareholders had the opportunity to interact with each other and discuss issues with the board. Also, over the past three months, we have had the opportunity to present the CEDIF – Community Economic Development Investment Fund – concept to three community groups, who are exploring the feasibility of setting up a CEDIF. CDB Report This past May, the BBI had the opportunity to support the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to organize a Youth Forum here in Halifax. The Forum was a part of the Bank’s week-long Annual General Meeting activities hosted here in Halifax. The BBI, in partnership with six other youth-focused initiatives, coordinated logistics for the event. It was very exciting to listen to youth entrepreneurs from both the Caribbean and Nova Scotia share their stories. The BBI also met with the Barbados Youth Business Trust to explore opportunities for collaboration on youth programming.

10 Message from the CEO continued from page 2

and Convention Centre on Wednesday, May 28 and Thursday, May 29, 2008. Roselyne Orengo, the Executive Assistant to the BBI Board and the CEO, took a leadership role with our involvement in the Youth Forum, recently held as part of the CDB meeting. Wendy Sealy of CDB was the champion of this forum and we were pleased that she included us as part of her program. Yes, there are many more priority items ongoing. The Tourism Market Readiness project and the Business is Jammin’ summer youth coordinators are two of them. We continue to participate and attend conferences like “Face to Face” and the International Council of Small Business (ICSB) to benefit from potential networks, to keep current and to learn.

Summer 2008

REGIONAL REPORT Central Evan Williams

That last quarter was a very busy one, with several new businesses and community development and, of course, our Black Business Summit. This summer, I was able to facilitate entrepreneurship workshops in Wolfville at Acadia University for Kamp Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) participants and I also had the privilege of facilitating entrepreneurship workshops in Amherst for the Journaling is Fun-Read Everyday program.

However, to overcome the limitations inherent to organizations with limited resources, our number one priority during fiscal year 2007-2008 was the implementation of the new composite structure.

I want to congratulate Donna Gaskin and Jeannie Jones of Juice Eh! for being finalists for BBI’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This shows that their business model is a good one and a great opportunity for someone looking to franchise. Visit www.juiceeh.com for more information.

Delivering on the economic promise meant we had to treat economic development like a business proposition. It meant we had to research and study trends and network to make sure that what we were designing was robust and could withstand economic shifts. It meant that we were compelled to look at ways to diversify our revenue streams and create multiple lines of income just to retain and grow our assets.

In addition, I want to congratulate Steve Oliver of the Lower Sackville Wellness Centre. Steve opened his doors in September offering services such as Traditional Chinese and Swedish massage and offering classes in Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation. The Centre will also provide “feel good” services normally found in a spa environment such as facials, hand and foot massages. For more information, contact The Lower Sackville Wellness Centre at 209-5600.

Because we are more comfortable about moving forward than standing still and losing ground, we undertook to redesign our operating engine.

I must also congratulate Steve Lawrence of JMS Driving Academy. J.M.S. Driving Academy provides high quality, convenient and comprehensive driver education courses at the low cost and a wide range of certified courses and services. You can reach them at 209- 8081.

The investment fund, the consulting arm (having signed its first international contract) and ADEPA construction management are already functional and performing very well. So too is the Business is Jammin’ charity. One Brand. One Vision. One Organization.

S.I. Rustum Southwell, CEO

Finally, I want to commend the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC) for being committed to taking the lead in advancing the health and well-being of African Canadians. For more information about the HAAC, visit www.haac.ca . For more information or to book a regional visit please contact me at (902) 426-6692 or 1-800-668-1010 or by email, williams.evan@bbi.ns.ca.


Black to Business

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Eli Goree

Summer 2008 Taryn Della

contributed

Acting his way to Da Kink shows like Street Cents, Canada Now, and North/South, Goree says he was always setting new goals for himself.

much like the character as I could. I went back six times for this character with another guy,” remembers Goree.

“I did everything I could to get my foot in the door and to get noticed,” he says. “And now it looks like that diligence may be just starting to pay off.”

“Finally, I had to read with other characters in the cast and that was nerve-wrecking with Trey Anthony there (show creator), and the producers and writers. I think they liked that I was able to improvise and add to the script,” he says.

Indeed. Just two years after leaving Halifax for Toronto to join the world of auditions and callbacks, Goree has landed what he calls “an incredible breakthrough role.” This fall, he will join the cast of Da Kink In My Hair, Global’s hit television sitcom, which follows the lives of women in a Toronto hair salon.

His niche, and lifelong

Eli Goree, Actor

F

or aspiring actor and Halifax native, Eli Goree, life lessons from his mother, and motherland, are paying off in a big way. “Mom was a single mother who accomplished a lot,” says the Torontobased actor. “She taught me to stay focused and to go for what you want with everything you have. Of course it helps if you find your niche,” he adds with a smile. His niche, and lifelong dream, to become a professional actor and writer began when he was five. “Mom’s friend put me on Sesame Street a few times and my love for acting blossomed from there,” remembers the Prince Andrew High graduate.

dream, to become a professional actor and writer began when he was five.

“I play the part of Malik, Letty’s 18-year-old-nephew,” explains Goree. “I work the reception desk at the shop, so it’s a pretty significant role. I’m beyond excited.” Goree says that Malik’s character was nothing like him, (“He’s more introverted than I am”), so to prepare for the audition, he locked himself in his apartment for a week.

“As I grew older, I was always seeking opportunities to create,” he says.

“My acting coach and I broke down the script into incredible detail and figured out what I would do in the audition,” says Goree. “I wanted to bring out as much comedy as we could.” At the audition, they really liked me, but already had another actor in mind for it, so they called me back,” he says.

From producing and hosting the “Big Black Rap Show” on CKDU Radio to producing short films to working on

“And I did the same thing again locked myself in my room and went deeper into it, trying to become as

“When I did that, I guess they felt I fit the character and changed their minds, and they gave me this great opportunity and I’m glad they did.” Goree says there was one special thing that helped him meet the challenge. “I had just returned from Africa six months before the audition,” he says. “I visited slave castles along the coast of Ghana that were directly involved in the Atlantic Slave trade and slept in the officers’ quarters which were now hotels,” says Goree. “When I looked up and realized that those people had suffered and fought and how they had gone from Africa, up through Nova Scotia and now all the way back to Africa through me, and I was sleeping where their oppressors had slept, it was a real moment,” he says quietly. “It touched me.” Goree says he landed back in Ontario a changed man and ready for challenges. “It completely showed me what was important. Any and all nervousness that I had, even personal troubles, all melted away. It’s so insignificant once you found your foundation and you realize that you are a part of something bigger.” “Whatever we put our minds to we can achieve it, because we have the ability to manifest destiny.” “I feel like these are lessons learned from my motherland, and the motherland is the most powerful voice there is.”


Black to Business

Summer 2008

12

Renewing Old Trade Links

Juanita Peters

S

ome will remember with fondness the days of ol’ when salt fish travelled to the islands and in return molasses and rum came to the Maritimes. The crop has changed but the intent remains the same. These days Rustum Southwell, Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Initiative (BBI), says the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) can make it possible for Nova Scotian companies like Hector Jacques’ Jacques Whitford to do business in Trinidad. Larry Gibson has taken his flooring company into Bermuda and Cassandra Dorrington’s consulting firm is doing work in Trinidad, Tobago and St. Lucia. The Bank has proven to be a good contact for companies already operating in the area. Everything from consulting to engineering, technology and services is on the menu.

MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency .The CDB is an international finance institution and Canada is one of the funding nations.

Dr. Marshall Hall and Dr. Compton Bourne with their wives

Southwell says the Caribbean is a fairly aggressive area. “When people talk about near shore and far shore, they are near shore. They have every language, so communication is easy, and these days they are using a lot of Canadian companies to build. Historically we have had a long relationship between Canada and the islands. So much so that many of our now potential partners may have been educated in Nova Scotia at Dalhousie University or Saint Mary’s. There used to be a time when CIDA provided aid in Audience at the Ninth William G. Demas Memorial the way of scholarships Lecture during CDB’s Annual Meeting for students from the islands. As a result Canada and Nova Scotia in particular has been known “Recently, a contract was negotiated as a good place to go. with the St. Kitts/Nevis Ministry of National Security using Cassandra “After returning home, they are also Dorrington’s company to deliver some favourable about the possibility of change management. It was funded doing business with Nova Scotiaoverall by CIDA (the Canadian based companies. Today large comInternational Development Agency). panies like McCain Foods, the Royal It’s great to see that connection back Bank and the Bank of Nova Scotia to Canada and to see a Nova Scotia are in the Caribbean.” Black-owned company on the consultant list,” says Southwell. He says one of the things the Caribbean Development Bank has The Caribbean Development Bank helped African Nova Scotians to do hosted its 38th annual meeting of the is link to potential new opportuniboard in Halifax in May. Southwell ties using this gateway. It has helped says this was made possible by a create direct contact with important request from the Honourable Peter

delegates from the area and a highly educated work force. He says in the future, the BBI plans to do some work with youth in Barbados, to open up opportunities and transfer knowledge and skills. He says it is something similar to the Business Is Jammin’ model, which has been running for 10 years and works with youth ranging in age from six to 30. The goal of this program is to encourage Black youth to stay in school, while exposing them to business. “In the short term we would like to restore the historic ties,” says Southwell. Next issue the youth connection.

Permanent Secretary Ministry of National Security St. Kitts & Nevis, Astona Browne and Rustum Southwell signing contract


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2008 Summer Youth Coordinators

Summer 2008

Angela Johnson, Ed many different ways, which is one of the reasons why she is so enthusiastic about working with the Black Business Initiative. Keisha says her position as a Summer Youth Coordinator will allow her to give back all the advice and guidance she has received, as well as share her experiences with the youth.

Martha Mutale is currently

enrolled in Dalhousie University’s Bachelor of Arts program. She was born in Lusaka, Zambia, which is in South Central Africa. Her parents moved to Canada so their family could have better opportunities for the future.

Jason Smith has been a Summer

Youth Coordinator for the Black Business Initiative’s Business is Jammin’ program for four years, working both in Yarmouth and Shelburne. Jason will be going into his fourth year of university/college. He started his post-secondary education at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, but after two years and much thought he decided to change to the Human Services Program at the Burridge Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Jason says he’s found joy working with youth and is currently in his second year concentrating on child and youth issues. Jason started working at a group home in Yarmouth during the first year of the Human Services program. He now does one-on-one work with youth who are looking for a role model. He says his goal is to graduate this year and start a career working in youth correctional facilities or group homes. In his spare time, Jason plays basket-

ball, football, tennis and many other sports. He also enjoys movies, computers and hanging out with friends.

Keisha Jefferies is the oldest of three children and was born and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. She now lives in Halifax. In 2005, Keisha graduated, with honours, from the North Nova Education Center and then enrolled in the science program at Mount Saint Vincent University. In fall, 2008, Keisha will enter her fourth year as Biology major. Some of Keisha’s interests include reading, playing basketball and running. The Black community in New Glasgow has supported and helped Keisha in

Martha has held several jobs working with children. For two years she was employed with the Black Educators Association as a Peer Tutor and Adult Tutor. She provided academic support to students from primary to high school. She also held positions as a Summer Youth Day Camp Supervisor and Summer Youth Outreach Coordinator. Martha’s family is strong in ministry so she has assisted in putting together a praise and worship team and was a member of a junior choir. She has been busy in many different organizations such as the Provincial Baptist Youth Fellowship, ADAM (African


Black to Business

14 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, the Honourable Mayann E Francis a number of times for her outstanding contributions to her community and phenomenal artwork.

Diaspora for the Maritimes), volunteering with DASA (Dalhousie African Students Association) and has performed as a spoken word artist with Word Iz Bond. Martha says she’s realized her passion is kids and youth. She states that being able to support and help young people reach their potential, either in school or through business camps with the Black Business Initiative’s Business is Jammin’ program, has given her more than enough reason to want to continue a career that involves children. “I love to see the smiles on their faces, and to make them laugh, and letting them know they can do anything,” she says.

Robyn Martelly is a resident of

Whitney Pier. She enjoys volunteering at St. Phillips African Orthodox Church and working with youth in her community whenever she can. Robyn is an artist and has a strong passion for painting and writing poetry. She has been published many times in different magazines, newspapers, and community newsletters. In the future she says she would like to publish a children’s book of poetry. She’s been recognized by the

This is Robyn’s first year as a Summer Youth Coordinator and third year attending the Black Business Summit. She says, “By working for Black Business Initiative, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting amazing people, who have made a lasting impression on me.” Robyn plans on taking graphic design this fall at the Nova Scotia Community College, and later on down the road, pursuing a law degree to become a Civil Rights Attorney.

Sara Hartley was born in

Cornwallis Nova Scotia but now lives in Greenwood. She recently graduated from the full French school of Ecole Rose-des-Vents in Greenwood. She will continue her studies this fall at Nova Scotia Community College, Kingstec campus in Kentville, studying Early Childhood Education. Sara loves working with kids, which is why she says she has enrolled in her present program of learning and also

Summer 2008

why she has joined the Black Business Initiative’s Business Is Jammin’ program. She says, this is another step in helping to influence young minds around her in a positive direction. Sara recently completed a six year term with the Air Cadets. Her other interests include creative arts and music.

Reaghan Silvea is from Amherst

Nova Scotia. She graduated from Amherst Regional High school and will be continuing her studies in Early Childhood Care and Education at Holland College. Her interests Include sailing and cadets, which she has attended for seven years and will continue in PEI. Reaghan loves to write music and also plays many instruments. She was an active member of the Cumberland County Black Artisans and is currently on its Board of Directors. As a Summer Youth Coordinator for Business is Jammin’, Reaghan says she feels she has strengthened her skills as a leader and role model and looks forward to helping community youth. One of Reaghan’s favourite quotes is: Watch your thoughts, they become words watch your words, they become actions watch your actions, they become habits watch your habits, they become your character watch your character, it becomes your destiny – Frank Outlaw


photos: Peter Marsman

OPENING NIGHT If you had been to opening night, you would know that this year’s Summit opened with lots of fun and entertainment. Cassandra Dorrington, BBI Chair

Maureen (Reenie) Smith

Premier Rodney MacDonald

Cassandra Dorrington, summit host and Black Business Initiative (BBI) chair gave a gracious and informative welcoming to the crowd. Seventeenyear-old Maureen (Reenie) Smith sang both the Canadian national anthem and the African national anthem in a way that I’m sure you have never heard before. Her style and passionate singing moved the crowd to a standing ovation. Ms. Smith has most recently been cast in a new Vision TV series called Mahalia and will appear in at least six episodes as a choir member. The opening ceremonies also featured the Scotia Royalty Dancers, a group of young performers who create a delightful mix of dance styles into a presentation that keeps you guessing about what they’ll do next. Their rhythms had the audience toe-tapping and knee-slapping.

Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald spoke of the province’s need to support minority businesses and diversity in the business sector. Before officially declaring the Summit open, he commented that he’d had a preview of the evening’s entertainment and jokingly asked whether the Carson Downey Band may be in need of a fiddle player. The night ended with the music of the Carson Downey Band. Some told of the great music, others talked of very tired but happy feet at meetings the following day. The Carson Downey Band has a new CD arriving in time for Christmas.


SUMMIT WORKSHOPS If you attended any of the workshops during the Summit, you most likely came out feeling motivated and energized. The first workshop – Sustaining Business Excellence – proved to be inspiring and enlightening. BBI board member and lawyer with Waterbury Newton, Paul Walter stepped into the role of facilitator with ease following a last-minute cancellation by Senator Donald Oliver. The guests included Dr. Joyce Ross, Dan MacDonald and Harriet R. Michel. Dr. Joyce Ross is probably best known for her work in prison ministry and also her huge success with the East Preston Day Care. She spoke of what success means to her. “Success is when you respect people and they respect you. It’s about meeting the needs of your clientele.” She talked about the importance of setting your goals, working as a team and having a firm foundation from which to begin your work. She also strongly emphasized the importance of never letting anyone tell you that “you can’t” do something. After more than 22 years of prison ministry and over 30 years of commitment to the East Preston Day Care Centre, her success is a clear and visible example of what a person with strong determination can do.

Dr. Harvey Millar, Saint Mary’s University

In 2002 Dr. Ross received the Order of Canada. She has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie University and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal. Dr. Ross was appointed to Acadia University’s Board of Governors in October 2003 and is on the Board of Trustees of the Acadia Divinity College. Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of InNOVAcorp, helps high-potential, earlystage companies commercialize their technologies to succeed in the global marketplace. He talked about how to continue your business success. “Be prepared to work hard. Set your goal on a north star and follow it. A good business plan is built on 10 percent vision and 90 percent execution.”

Dan MacDonald, President & CEO of InNOVAcorp

He spoke of the importance of knowing what you have and valuing it, of paying staff well and having rewards for work done well. He said business excellence is about performance. “It is a decision that is made by your clients, staff and shareholders when you do or do not deliver what you promised. People told me I couldn’t do it, that I was crazy.” He says he just continued to raise the bar and stayed focused on his goal. Today he works locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

MacDonald talked about the need for passion about your work. That once you have passion, work is something you can’t wait to do. Harriet R. Michel, recognized as one of the 50 most powerful women in business today, is president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and offered much in the way of encouragement to minority-owned companies. She was director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Community Youth Employment Programs/CETA in Washington, D.C., where she supervised the allocation of $2 billion for employment and training programs from 1977 to 1979. From 1972 to 1977 she was the first black woman to head a major foundation. She was executive director of the New York Foundation. Today, she overseas the expansion and opportunities of minorityrun companies by linking them with private and publicly owned companies. She talked of the importance of dispelling myths about minority-owned companies. “Maybe the workers aren’t as good, as educated, as motivated. Are the workers poorly trained?” She says these are the types of misconceptions that can get in the way of minority-owned companies. “But you know what? It’s up to you to do your research on your company. Know your client and your clients’ needs well. Think about all the ways that you can best serve that client. What is your product and market? Who are your competitors?” She says we have to take a laser-like focus and look at each situation under the microscope. She talked about the need to hire staff smarter than you. “Experts in their fields can bring a whole new level of competence and security to your business. And allow your staff to be entrepreneurial.” She talked about the need to support each other. “We need to buy from each other. We need to have good judgment, and be consistent.”


LUNCH WITH CHRIS GARDNER,

Owner and CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings

Chris Gardner delivered a compelling and highly motivational speech to a sold-out audience at the Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax on Thursday, June 19. He told the crowd that the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, was a fairly accurate representation of his life, except that his son was 14 months old when they used to sleep anywhere they could, even in bus stations. Gardner talked about how he went broke and had no support while pursuing his dream of becoming a successful stockbroker – a dream he had been nurturing since he met a successful man driving a Ferrari, who identified himself as a stockbroker when asked about what he was doing for a living.

A group of youths enjoying the lunchion with Chris Gardner

Gordon Doe, BBI with Chris Gardner

Harriet Michel greeting Chris Gardner

Gardner stressed the importance of being focused and persistent and he emphasized that education is important but, as one of his mentors told him, it’s not people with MBAs who build great companies, it’s the PSDs “That’s poor, smart and with a deep desire to be wealthy.” Gardner also joked about owning just two suits while working for Dean Witter Reynolds, one grey and one black. “People would say, Chris Gardner is re-enacting the Civil War.” he told a laughing crowd. During his tenure at Dean Witter, he recounted how he grabbed the attention of a gentleman who used to come regularly to pick up his girlfriend. That man, who happened to be a senior officer at Bear Stearns (one of the top firms in Wall Street at that time), was impressed by Gardner’s strong work ethic. Gadrner said, “He whispered to me ‘You don’t belong here. Why don’t come and work for me?’ ” A couple of weeks later, Gardner left Dean Witter to work for Bear Stearns, where he became a top earner.

When asked by an attendee about some temptation to forgo his relation with God because of all of the hardship he had to endure with his son, Gardner responded swiftly by saying he, at times, had lost faith in himself but never with God. During his career at Bear Stearns, Gardner also had to deal with what is common for most African-Americans – racism – although he prefers to call it “placism”. He believes that if you do not have anything to give in return to society, such as education, money, influence, no one will want to do business with you and therefore that issue is colourless. Finally, Gardner stressed that his biggest accomplishment was not the fortune he made himself, but the fact that he was always there for his children.


LUNCH WITH EPHREN TAYLOR,

“Creating and Sustaining Business Success” On Friday, June 20, delegates were able to enjoy Lunch with Ephren Taylor, the youngest African American CEO of a publicly traded company ever – City Capital Corporation. Described as “walking history” by a popular radio show host, Taylor started his first business venture at age 12, when he began making video games. By age 17, he built a multi-million dollar technology company; GoFerretGo.Com.

Sylvia, Vivian, Denise and Angela enjoy a day at the Summit

Dwight Dorey of EnCana presents thank you gift to Ephren Taylor

Ephren Taylor’s address on the subject “Creating and Sustaining Business Excellence” was a powerful and inspirational presentation that resonated with everyone in the audience. It was a balance between his personal/family life and his corporate experiences, with many humorous touches. Taylor shared with the crowd his very humble childhood experience during which his parents could not afford much for him and his two brothers. Even as a little boy, he remembers being very curious, believing he could do anything. His interest in creating video games was sparked after he and his brothers finally succeeded in getting their parents to buy them a video game. He was hooked and wanted more so his mother told him to “create your own games”. He took on the challenge, and that was the beginning of his entrepreneurial career at the tender age of 12. Success for Taylor came after numerous setbacks and challenges. He had to learn how to program computer codes for his games by teaching himself from books he borrowed from the library and those his parents bought him. This meant he sacrificed lots of fun childhood activities in order to study.

Another learning experience was when he realized that a website he had designed for a few thousand dollars was retailed by his customer for hundreds of thousands. He quickly realized that the world of business was tough, and that to be successful one had to not only be skillful at their trade but be persistent. Taylor challenged the audience and entrepreneurs in particular, to dream big. He said it was better to own the pond that contains the fish than to be skillful only at fishing. In addition to skill, Taylor emphasized the need and importance of mentors. Taylor is a big believer in the acquisition of experience. To that end, he completed a specialized curriculum for high school-age, aspiring entrepreneurs at Cheney University, America’s oldest, historically black college and university. The Ephren Taylor Entrepreneur Academy opened in July 2007. Taylor participated in all the Summit events with the exception of golf. He expressed great interest in exploring further business opportunities with the BBI.


Youth Summit The Youth Summit 2008 had yet another successful and exciting year. Business is Jammin’ sponsored 12 Black youth from across the province to attend the Black Business Summit 2008. They attended the opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening, followed by a pizza party and basketball. Thursday morning, they were inspired by presentations on two important aspects of business. The first, on Sustaining Business Excellence, was delivered by Dan MacDonald, Harriet R. Michel and Joyce Ross. Dr. Harvey Millar and Sharon McNamara delivered the second workshop, Creating the Right Foundation. Lunch with Chris Gardener, also on Thursday, gave the youth a good look at how, no matter what obstacles may come your way, you can overcome and conquer them. Mr. Gardner was able to make a connection with all the youth in attendance. To end the day, the group visited the tradeshow booths, where they were able to interact and gather valuable information from a variety of different businesses. Finally, on Thursday evening there was a trip to the mall and another basketball game. On Friday, additional workshops were delivered. My Take on Business Excellence was the first, for which Marven Nelligan, Jessica Bowden and Garnet Wright were the featured speakers. The group was then split up and some attended the second workshop, Moving it Forward…

Maintaining Momentum with featured speakers Dr. Abdullah Kirumira, Cynthia Dorrington and Mike Wyse. The rest went to a workshop where Ed Matwawana spoke about Critical Thinking and Thinking Outside of the Box. The action didn’t stop there. During lunch on Friday, Ephren Taylor delivered a very motivational speech on Creating and Sustaining Business Success Taylor’s high energy and inspiring speech encouraged the youth to pursue and stick with their dreams. Wrapping up the Summit was the ever popular Biz Show, where there was plenty of interaction between the audience and the host Robert Upshaw. The AGM Gala Dinner and Dance kept the youth on the move, where they danced all night to music played by Tony Smith’s Soul Finesse and DJ Mo Bounce -Ivan Skeete. Overall, the youth found the Black Business Summit 2008 to be a very informative, motivational and enjoyable. The participants send out a big thank you to the board and staff of BBI and BIJ.


BIZ SHOW Robert Upshaw and Vivian Thomas were back as Biz Show hosts to wrap up the Summit as only they can do. The show began with a recap of the workshops, keynote speakers, and boat cruise. This year’s show featured a game show called “What’s the Deal”. The purpose was to have people perform a series of tasks in order to receive a prize. In addition to the game-show fun, CEO Rustum Southwell shared his thoughts on this year’s Summit; and BBI Chair and Conference Chair Cassandra Dorrington explained what business excellence meant to her. Keynote Speaker Ephren Taylor, along with other out-of-province participants, commented on the unrivaled hospitality of Nova Scotians. AGM GALA DINNER & DANCE It’s never easy to leave an event that is full of so much encouragement and inspiration, but this years closing was full of praise for those who are in the trenches of business in Nova Scotia.

Hon. Barry Barnet, Min. of African Nova Scotian Affairs

Dr. Abdullah Kirumira receives the Hector Jacques Award from Cassandra Dorrington

Pauline Patten receives The

BBI Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ephren Taylor

Rustum Southwell Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Initiative thanked all those who have played a key role in helping the organization achieve its goals over the years, from dedicated board members to tireless working staff who have remained on point and helped grow the BBI into a multi-faceted resource for entrepreneurs. It was not all business. Cassandra Dorrington led the crowd into a factbased game of knowledge about the history of the BBI and those who have played roles in the progress over the years. With a wonderful slide presentation and a wireless remote type gadget to vote with, the night was anything but boring. The Hector Jacques Award for Business Excellence was given to Dr. Abdullah Kirumira of the Windsor based company BioMedica Diagnostics Inc. He was recognized for his outstanding research and for developing several diagnostic tests including a rapid-acting HIV test. Dr. Kirumira’s acceptance speech was very eloquent. He thanked Nova Scotia and the Black Business Initiative for supporting him.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was given to Pauline Patten, owner of Pauline’s Beauty Care in Halifax. Patten has been in the beauty industry for more then 25 years. Her motto is advancement and education and she’s a testament to these tenets. Patten is a mentor for those who work in her salon and recently she launched her own line of hair care products. In addition, her own personal continued education included pursuing a Doctorate of the Arts in Beauty. After a great dinner, the night ended with the music of Tony Smith. The next year begins with much hope and enthusiasm.

(l to r) Senator Donald Oliver with Ephren Taylor


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Summer 2008

The Real Chris Gardner By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter

Peter Marsman

His journey from homelessness to Wall Street made the big screen. But this CEO says his greatest accomplishment is being the dad he never had himself.

CHRIS GARDNER made it big on Wall Street but says his greatest accomplishment was being a stayat-home parent, even when he was homeless. “This is the story of every father who ever had to be a mother, every mother who ever had to be a father and everybody who ever had a dream and would not quit,” said the successful stockbroker and bestselling author of the autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a smash 2006 film starring Will Smith. Mr. Gardner, who was repeating comments made to him about his life story by the poet Maya Angelou, was the keynote speaker Thursday (June 19, 2008) at the Black Business Initiative’s 2008 Black Business Summit luncheon at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax.

Gardner, who worked for very little pay while training to be a broker, often couldn’t afford to pay for a roof over their heads. “I was one of those little boys who grew up without a father,” he said. “I promised myself at five years old: ‘When I grow up, become a man and have children, my children are going to know who their father is.’ “ Mr. Gardner was born in Milwaukee in 1954. According to his website, his childhood was marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy. Inspired by his mother, he joined the navy after high school and later worked in San Francisco as a medical research associate and for a medical supply distributor.

The tall, goateed businessman entertained and moved a full house, including Premier Rodney MacDonald, with the story of his struggle to make it in the highly competitive world of finance while raising his young son by himself.

In 1981, as a new father, he decided to pursue a career in finance, despite having no related education or experience, and applied for training programs at different brokerages. He eventually earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program, but the effort cost him his marriage and led to periods of homelessness when he couldn’t make ends meet.

That struggle included nights when they were forced to sleep in train stations and shelters because Mr.

Mr. Gardner subsequently became a top earner at Bear Stearns & Co. Today, he is the owner and CEO of

Christopher Gardner International Holdings, a brokerage firm with offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco that makes debt, equity and derivative products transactions for some of the largest institutions, public pension plans and unions in the United States. The company also operates internationally. The Pursuit of Happyness became a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller and the film, which received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations, has grossed more than $300 million worldwide. But despite the many accolades and awards he has received for his story and for his extensive community work, Mr. Gardner, who also has a daughter, said his most significant achievement was always being there for his children. “The most important thing I’ve ever done in my life is to have broken the cycle of men who were not there for their children,” he said to thunderous applause. Copyright © 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited Reprinted with permission from The Halifax Herald Limited


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22

Ask the BBI

L

Featured Expert: Greg Nazaire,

Regional Business Development Manager

QUESTION

How can I find out about businesses that interest me? First of all, congratulations!

If you are asking this question, chances are you’re seriously thinking about starting your own business or expanding an existing one or, at least, that you are nurturing this idea.

You should know that several tools are available for assisting you in your endeavour. A tremendous amount of information can be gathered on the Web or from some government agencies or not-for-profit organizations. It is a process that requires a great deal of preparation and your objective (what you are looking for) and timelines must be clearly defined. Whether you want to start a business or to expand one, the first place to visit, I would suggest, is Canada Business where there is a large variety of free and comprehensive information on starting a business, taxes, trade regulations, writing a business plan, understanding government contracts, different statistics, and so on. If you feel a little overwhelmed at the beginning and not certain about where to start, you can rest assured that specific information is

provided about starting a business in Nova Scotia, whether it is about the kind of business you can develop, the business structure that would work for you, the getting ready for the dayto-day business, the business plan, or any business question you might have. You can also reach one of their knowledgeable Business Information Officers and access an extensive collection of business-related directories and electronic databases on-site. Or, if you prefer you can still get a significant amount of information by visiting their website, where you can also find some contacts and useful links. If you live in the Halifax metro area, you’ll find the Canada Business building to be very conveniently situated since it is co-located with several branches of other public or publicly funded organizations, such as the Black Business Initiative, the Entrepreneurs with Disability Network, Student Connections, NSARDA (Nova Scotia Association of Regional Development Authorities) and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Canada Business has resource centres located throughout the province as well. The Canadian Bankers Association also developed an information booklet that might assist you in the planning process. Government agencies like Statistics Canada or Industry Canada are worth mentioning, if you need to have some more detailed or technical information about the industry for that particular item or service you intend to provide. Also, do not underestimate the value of informal sources of knowledge such as networking and social gatherings with other entrepreneurs, who can

give you some tips or provide some guidelines. During the research process one particular question will often appear to be a very critical one: where am I going to get the money? The good news is that not only can you tap some government agencies for valuable information about your financing options – such as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Nova Scotia Business Inc. or the SME Financing Data Initiative – you can also dig into the private sector resources, such as chartered banks and other financial institutions like venture capital firms. As you may realize during this research process, translating an idea into a business will involve hard work and discipline. While several options are available, do not hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance. It will be a pleasure to help you. Good luck.

Some useful links: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency: www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca Business Development Bank of Canada: www.bdc.ca Canadian Bankers Association: www.cba.ca Canada Business: www.canadabusiness.ca/ Halifax Public Libraries - Small Business Startup Service: www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/ Industry Canada: www.ic.gc.ca Statistics Canada: www.statcan.ca Women in Business Initiative: www.msvu.ca/cwb/index.asp


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23

Summer 2008

Up Home

Shauntay Grant & Susan Tooke

S

hauntay Grant didn’t have to go looking for inspiration for her new children’s book, Up Home. The poem is part of her very soul.

Shauntay Grant at the book launch People, places and events from Grant’s childhood are lovingly remembered in Up Home, a lyrical and moving ode to the place closet to Grant’s heart: North Preston. Up Home is presented as a stream of consciousness as Grant looks back into her past and remembers the simple pleasures of growing up and being surrounded by her family’s support and love.

house ... Again, more food, lots of singing and storytelling around the kitchen table.’’ Grant, a spoken word performer, presented the poem at the Writers’ Federation annual gala where it caught the attention of Nimbus’ then-publisher Sandra McIntyre. “She later approached me, asking if I would like to turn it into a children’s book.’’ Up Home is one woman’s remembrance of a childhood filled with family, friends, celebrations and every day events. It has a gentle flow that floats like wispy clouds across a summer sky:

“I remember long hot days of summer layin’ on grass suckin’ on freezies playin’ with cousins friends and soakin’ up sun’’

“A typical Sunday, for example, would mean going to church, then going to my grandparents’ house for food, then visiting more relatives ... and then by about 6 or 7 p.m. we’d end up at my great-aunt and uncle’s

where she still loves, but spent a lot of time in North Preston as a child and was influenced by the community and by her family. “My family has given me lots of love,’’ says Grant. “This love comes through the songs and stories, and I am so grateful for that.’’ Grant says she became convinced Susan Tooke was the perfect artist to illustrate the book from the moment she visited her Halifax studio. “Her work is so special,’’ says Grant. “And her vision for this book is wonderful. The way she has the community laid out like a quilt on the cover, with all the bright and vibrant colors jumping out, just beautiful.’’ Grant helped Tooke find the right models for the book, including Grant’s five-year-old cousin, Adina Fraser.

“My grandmother is a poet, storyteller, songwriter, a (former) choir director,’’ said Grant during a recent email exchange. “When I was young she’d make up songs for me and tell me stories... my whole family did that really.’’ It was the memories of those good times that Grant, 28, turned into a poem several years ago. “It wouldn’t be a regular visit up home if there wasn’t family, food, stories, and music,’’ says Grant.

Deborah Wiles

The poem touches on traditions, such as Sunday church services and picking blueberries, that form the very fabric of a child’s sense of self. Those memories have made Grant the women she is today. A writer and radio host, Grant is also working on a play and a commission for Diaspora Dialogues. Email is the best way to catch up to this ball of energy. Grant grew up in Halifax,

“When I asked (her) if she would like to be in the book, she looked at me ... puzzled ... stretched her arms wide and said ‘But I’m too big to be in a book!’ She did a great job modeling for the book though, once she realized what was really being asked of her.’’ The book truly was a community effort, with the women spending countless hours in North Preston with the choir, school kids, family. That investment of time and emotion meant that the launch had to be extra-special. And it was. continued on page 29>


Black to Business

Summer 2008

24

BBI Statistics 2007-08 Loan Distribution by Sector 1996-2008 (as of Industry

Number of Businesses Approved

Number of % Loans Loans Approved Approved

March 31, 2008)

Percentage of Businesses Approved

Percentage of Businesses Operating

Automotive

10

5%

6

4%

50%

Barbershop/Hair Salon

14

7%

9

6%

56%

Construction/Contracting

21

10%

19

12%

74%

Convenience Store

6

3%

5

3%

20%

Courier

3

2%

3

2%

33%

Entertainment

11

5%

9

6%

44%

Environmental/Recycling

12

6%

7

5%

72%

Event Planning

1

1%

1

1%

100%

Exports

5

2%

3

2%

0%

Fashion Consultant

2

1%

1

1%

100%

Film/Photography

5

2%

3

2%

100%

Fitness Sports/Dance

7

3%

4

3%

75%

Manufacturing

6

3%

5

3%

40%

15

7%

13

8%

62%

1

1%

1

1%

100%

Restaurant/Food

25

12%

18

12%

28%

Retail/Bookstore

2

1%

1

1%

0%

14

7%

11

7%

18%

Tailoring

8

4%

3

2%

33%

Tourism

3

2%

3

2%

66%

Transportation

7

3%

7

5%

71%

Wholesale

8

4%

5

3%

20%

22

11%

19

12%

79%

208

100%

156

100%

54%

Professional Services Publishing

Retail/Clothing

Other Total/Average


Black to Business

25

Summer 2008

People & Businesses on the Move

The Black Business Initiative’s Board Chair Cassandra Dorrington, her sister Cynthia Dorrington, and Bedford teacher Foster Lyne were profiled in the July issue of Progress Magazine under the title “20 People We Love”. The Dorringtons were saluted for their work as role models in the province and their contributions to the numerous boards on which they serve while Lyne was lauded for passing his love of math on to Nova Scotian students. George Elliot Clarke’s name was included in the list of Order of Canada honourees released by the Governor General’s office on Canada Day. Clarke is now an Officer of the Order, its second highest rank. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Africville Reunion. This year’s celebration was held from July 18-27 and included a number of special activities including a performance of the “Africville Suite” by Joe Sealy. One of the highlights was the visit of African royalty from Ghana. Barima Kwame Nkyi XII, an Omanhene or paramount chief -- the highest level traditional chief -- from the West African country’s Assin Apimanim region visited Nova Scotia. He was accompanied by a delegation that included his tribe’s queen mother and a prince, who acted as his translator. During his visit, he attended the Africville Reunion, was interviewed by local media, and attended the gala banquet that was one of the culminating events for the Reunion, on Friday, July 25.

The Freedom Schooner Amistad made a return trip to Nova Scotia beginning on July 24. During its stay in the province, the schooner was docked on the Halifax waterfront before heading to Shelburne to participate in the 225th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists. Donna Johnson received an Exceptional Service Award from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for her work with the Canadian Police Information Centre and as a community leader in Preston. One of her achievements is the development of a majorette and drum line in the community, in memory of her son, Troyaka Johnson who passed away in 2006. Congratulations to Eleanor Beaton, the Nova Scotia correspondent for Atlantic Business Magazine, on winning an Atlantic Journalism Award. Her profile of Mickey MacDonald took home the gold at the AJA’s annual awards banquet, held in Halifax in early May. Two significant events in the province’s history were marked in July. One was the 250th anniversary of the second siege of Louisbourg and the second was the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the Loyalists. The Black Loyalist Heritage Society organized several events in June and July to commemorate the anniversary, concluding with the departure of the Freedom Schooner Amistad on August 11. Merlita Williams and the Hallelujah Praise Choir were among the stars at the Jazz Festival held in Charlottetown in early July.

Parks Canada historian David States spoke about the approximately 4200 freed and enslaved Blacks who were part of the contingent of Loyalists arriving in this province in 1783 as part of Digby’s Gathering of Loyalists. A performance by Nova Scotia’s DRUM ensemble was one of the highlights of the official Canada Day celebration on the grounds of Parliament Hill. The celebration, which included remarks from Her Excellency, Michaelle Jean and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, was broadcast nationwide. A few steps away from the site of Charlottetown’s Jazz Festival, Nova Scotian born Derek Weins has been taking to the stage in “Anne of Green Gables” in the role of ‘Cecil’, the farmer, and is also performing in the Charlottetown Festival’s second production, “America Strikes Back!” The story of the Vaughan Furriers 1962 baseball team has been told in the new book, “The Boys of ’62 – Transcending the Racial Divide” by Francis G. Mitchell. CTV’s News at Six presented a profile of the team and the story behind the book in a documentary piece on July 21. It was also the subject of a You Tube video (www.youtube.com/user/blaknbru) An interpretive panel about Rose Fortune, located adjacent to Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal was unveiled at the Petit Park. It is one of a series of eight panels that make up the Mathieu da Costa Trail, commemorating African Nova Scotians along Highway #1. The Valley African Nova Scotian


Black to Business

Development Association, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Black Business Initiative, the Municipality of Kings, the Town of Annapolis Royal and the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs contributed to the project. The Black Artists Network and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia offered a six-day Africentric workshop for young artists in early August at the new Dartmouth Nova Scotia Community College campus. Walter Borden received an honourary doctor of letters degree during this year’s convocation at Acadia University. Troy Adams played the title role in Shakespeare by the Sea’s ‘Othello’ this summer, This is the first time ‘Othello’ has been mounted by the company and this year also marks Adams’ return to its stage since the 1990s. Kyle MacNeil, of Lockview High School received a $500 award for his profile of the late Dr. Lorne White. His work, along with the work of 14 other Nova Scotians was included in the Times of African Nova Scotians, a publication which is distributed to schools across the province. Other stories in the publication highlighted the achievements of a number of Nova Scotians including Gloria Ann Wesley, the late Dr. Ruth Johnson, Maxine Tynes, Michael Duck, Yvonne Atwell, and the late Deacon Aubrey T. Whiley. Her Honour Mayann Francis hosted her annual garden party at Royal Artillery Park in Halifax on June 18. The Black Cultural Centre is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Dr. Sylvia Hamilton was the guest speaker at the gala dinner, held at the Ramada in Dartmouth on June 14.

Summer 2008

26

Congratulations to Justine Colley, who was one of three Nova Scotians selected to try for a spot on the Canadian Under-18 Basketball team. Colley, from East Preston and Abbey Duinker, from Cambridge Station, are part of a 12-member squad that competed in Buenos Aires from July 23-27. During the July 26 game, Colley scored seven points to help Canada defeat Puerto Rico 78-65. The annual commemorative ceremony honouring the # 2 Construction Battalion C.E.F. (1916-1920) took place on Saturday, July 5 in Pictou at the DeCoste Centre. RSM Kevin Junor, who was just back from a military tour in Africa, was this year’s keynote speaker. The featured guest entertainment was the Toronto Youth Choir (TC3) led by Rev. Denise Gilgard. The choir was on a tour of the province that also included a concert in Halifax’s St. Andrew’s United Church. The annual Kamp Kujichagulia was held from July 6 - 11, 2008 at Acadia University. The camp features a wide range of activities from drumming to spoken word to basketball to math Olympics for learners aged 14-18. A Stepping Stone to a Brighter Future Bursary is a new bursary to be awarded annually to two African Nova Scotian students graduating from Nova Scotia high schools. This year is the first year for these bursaries to be awarded and the winners are Kyla Rose Marie Davidson (Avon View High School) and Janice Lorraine Borden (Akerley Academic High School). Kyla is enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at the Kingstec Campus while Janice is enrolled in the Information Technology program at the Institute of Technology Campus. This bursary covers the total cost of tuition for two students enrolled in a two-year full-time program at a Nova Scotia Community College.

Lawrence Hill, the author of the “Book of Negroes”, and the writer-in-residence recently at the University of Prince Edward Island, had an audience with Her Majesty the Queen in July, part of the prize package for winning the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for his book. A report of his audience was printed in the ‘Court Circular’ column of The Times of London. Pauline Patten, who was one of 13 women from across Canada to star in Dove’s original play, “Body & Soul”, is featured in the September issue of Canadian Living magazine. Dr. Calvin Mackie was the guest speaker at the opening of this year’s Africentric Leadership and Management Institute, which took place in July in North Preston. New Glasgow’s Joe Borden has developed a fitness program for youth called Jo Bo, which he is delivering to youth in Summerside P.E.I. The program is offered free to youth during the summer months, from March to September in the field at Summerside’s Athena School.

In Memoriam On July 25, one of the most respected leaders of the Black community, Dr. Pearlean Oliver, passed away. Dr. Oliver was a religious leader, author, and civil rights crusader who led the fight to allow Black women into education al programs throughout the province. The sympathy of the Black Business Initiative is extended to the Oliver family. The sympathy of the Black Business Initiative is extended to the family of Robert ‘Bob’ Robinson, of Digby, who passed away on May 4. World War II veteran and former city councilor, Arnold Johnson Sr. passed away on August 14th. He was 83. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.


Black to Business

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27

Black Business Initiative

2008 Training Schedule for Metro Courses:

Day

Microsoft PowerPoint I, II

Computer Basics I, II, III

Workshops:

Date

Time

Tuesday

Nov 18, 25 6-9pm

Tuesday

Dec 2, 9, 16

Day

Date

6-9pm

Time

Market Yourself: aspiring musicians, artists

Wednesday

Oct 15

6-9pm

Advanced Searching & Internet Tools

Wednesday

Oct 29

6-9pm

Personal Financial Management

Wednesday

Nov 12

6-9pm

Email & Instant Messaging

Wednesday

Nov 26

6-9pm

Franchising

Wednesday

Dec 03

6-9pm

Understanding Outlook

Wednesday

Dec 10

6-9pm

Course Fee: Clients - $20.00, Non Clients : $40.00 Workshop Fee: Clients and Non Clients : $5.00 Registration is open to everyone. To register for any session, please call 426-8683 Note: Course and Workshop delivery times are subject to change.

REGIONAL REPORT Northern Cheyanne Gorman- Tolliver The summer season is winding down and as the youth return to school have you thought about what you want to do? Is entrepreneurship on your list? I encourage all potential entrepreneurs to make BBI the first stop on your business venture. For those of you in the region, please check the RBDM Travel Schedule in this issue to find out the next time I’m in your area and call and set up an appointment today! The last quarter has been spent catching up with new and familiar clients and hosting the BBI Summit. However, I’ve managed to fit in a regional visit to Sydney to conduct interviews for the BIJ Summer Coordinator position. I am happy to report that Robyn Martelly was the successful candidate. Robyn held various information sessions in the community on the Business is Jammin’ program and she also organized entrepreneurship camps for youth in the Sydney and Glace Bay areas. Community events were widespread over the summer. Guysborough hosted their annual Come Home Week, July 18 to 27 and the annual Action Week Celebration took place in Sydney from August 4 to 13 with various cultural events in Whitney Pier. Congratulations to the Glace Bay U.N.I.A. Cultural Museum/Hall on the opening of the Marcus Garvey Library during Marcus Garvey Days held August 14 to 17. If you have suggestions on how best to serve your region, please contact me at (902) 426-8685 or 1-800-668-1010 or by email at gorman-tolliver.cheyanne@bbi.ns.ca.


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28

Ruff Endz Clothing Paul Adams

Tyson Tolliver & Rainie Williams

Tyson Tolliver & Rainie Williams, Ruff Endz Clothing

G

rowing up together in East Preston, cousins Tyson Tolliver and Rainie Williams always shared a taste for fine clothing and a dream of going into business together. So when a mutual friend, who worked with a distributor, gave them an opportunity to start selling clothes, they jumped on it right away. “We just started out of the trunk of a car, gaining business by word of mouth,” says Tolliver. “Word started spreading because we had a good product. We know what it’s like trying to find good clothes around here, and for a good price.” “Good clothes for a good price” is something akin to a slogan for the 29-year-old cousins; it comes up frequently as they talk about Ruff Endz Clothing. They carry popular high-end lines such as Roca Wear, Sean John and Akademiks, as well as up-andcoming brands like GodBody and Kanji. But they also aim to sell at a price people can afford. “We’ve had an opportunity to make some really good connections in the industry to get something in from the

Chad Lucas

States or overseas, something that usually takes a year or even two years before it gets into this area,” Tolliver says. “It’s exciting, but it’s even more exciting to see people walking away happy, thinking ‘I got a good product for a good price.’ It makes us feel good to make other people feel good.”

Ruff Endz got its first big exposure on Canada Day 2004, when the cousins set up a table at the celebrations at the East Preston Recreation Centre. A few months later, they clothed some of the models involved in a bachelor auction on Breakfast Television to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. “We were able to make a lot of connections and put our names out there more,” Tolliver says.

from experience that marketing on the web is not as simple as it may first appear. “When we first had a site, we thought, we’ll just put a site up and everybody will find it,” Williams says. “But it’s not like that. We’ve done a lot of research, stayed up a lot of late nights trying to figure out how to get our name out there. It’s been a good journey.” The cousins plan to make the website their main storefront, and Tolliver compares it to a physical location – “You wouldn’t want to shop at a place where half the windows are boarded up, would you?” he says. “We’re taking the approach that we’re going to take our time and cover as many bases as we possibly can.” Williams and Tolliver hope to have their new website operational by the fall. The cousins admit it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but they have a second motto: “Never give up.” “We’ve learned that we’ve got to believe in ourselves and everything else will just fall in,” Tolliver says. “Our dreams don’t die until we do.”

But they’ve also learned that doing something well takes time. They’ve deliberately grown their company slowly, being sure to learn as much as possible along the way. Both hold separate jobs and Williams also goes to school, and they often hold their “business meetings” in the gym while they work out. Williams says they’ve been taking every BBI business course they can find, from bookkeeping and intellectual properties to marketing and web design. “We take advantage of whatever we can,” he says. “Whatever resources are around us, we try to jump on them.” They’re taking the same slow-andsteady approach with their next big move – launching a website, www. ruffendzclothing.com. They’ve learned

Tyson Tolliver & Rainie Williams

461-9515/452-6695


Black to Business

Recognizing the Rocks, the Foundation of the BBI

Starr Francis, our first Executive Assistant, left for a position with the federal Department of Justice. She was an invaluable team member and made my job a whole lot easier. During 2007 Starr Francis and Shawn Smith – a former Regional Business Development Manager (RBDM) – helped us move closer to our vision. We thank these two young people for their support as we realize a bright future awaits them. It was timely to welcome Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver back from maternity leave. Her new role is Regional Business Development Manager and I believe she will thrive in this position. Roselyne Orengo is also welcomed as the new Executive Assistant.

Up Home continued from page 23

S.I. Rustum Southwell

Whether it is the trio of impressive and professional ladies – Idy Fashoranti, Tracey Thomas and Funmi Joseph or, as they were affectionately called, the “BBI’s Angels” – or the more recent team of Starr Francis, Gordon Doe and Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver, all BBI staff continue to keep up a hectic pace as we advance our strategy and realize our goals.

Over the years, we have managed to bring many good people on the Black Business Initiative (BBI) bus and most, I can say, are motivated first and always by the greatness of our work. What we hope BBI does for our staff is bring them closer to their own personal greatness.

Summer 2008

29

The BBI places particular importance on the necessity to be seen. Despite all the technological inventions business is still done, face-to-face, person-to-person and ultimately with like-minded people. People like Evan Williams (RBDM), Bernard Elwin (Director of Client Development) Dorothy Fletcher, Beverley Parker (Administrative Staff) and Gregory Adolphe-Nazaire (RBDM), realize the utmost importance of networking. And they deliver on that front in very important ways.

“It was really emotional for me reading the poem at the launch,’’ said Grant. “Especially because some of the people I mention in the poem (like my great-grandmother and great-uncle) are no longer with us, so I was thinking about them as I was reading. “So many things were running through my mind. But mostly, I just felt really thankful. Thankful to my family and to the community for giving me this story.’’ So thankful, in fact, that Grant is donating her writers’ royalties from Up Home to buy books for the Nelson Whynder Elementary School library. Grant hopes that Up Home will give children the inspiration they need to become writers.

I believe and take pride in the fact that our brilliant staff, volunteer board, community stakeholders and public and private sector partners have a lot to do with that. And perhaps most importantly, we have a staff that has gotten on the BBI bus to help us achieve greatness. At the AGM gala this year, the BBI recognized three staff members. Idy Fashoranti was presented a special medal as the first staff member to reach 10 years of service. And Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver (five years) and Gordon Doe (seven years) received plaques for their five-year terms.

“All I did here was write down my childhood memories, and we all have these stories really – that’s what I told the youth at the book launch,’’ says Grant. “I wanted them to know that this is something they could do in a heartbeat ... They’ve already got the stories, it’s just a matter of writing them down.’’ To purchase a copy of Ms. Grant’s book visit http://www.nimbus.ns.ca/ . Deborah Wiles is a Halifax freelance writer. This story originally appeared in The Chronicle Herald on June 15, 2008.


Black to Business

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30

Business and Community Events Boxing Lessons Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association Monday and Wednesday 6 p.m. CANSA Office 24 Crescent St., Phone: 661-1509, E-mail: cansa@eastlink.ca

African Heritage Month 25th Anniversary Celebration

Call for Volunteers 2009 marks the 25th Anniversary If you want to get involved, call 425-1866 E-mail: blackhistorymonth@yahoo.com

Saint Mary’s University African Canadian Bursary

For qualified African Canadian students entering Saint Mary’s for the first time. Open to high school and mature African Canadian students. Nomination Deadline: March 15, 2009

October 15 Small Business Week Pancake Breakfast Kick-off

Halifax Chamber of Commerce 7:30-9:30am

October 17 Networking for Success Fairwinds Training and Development

Halifax Chamber of Commerce 2:30-4:30pm

October 17 Commerce Connections

5-7pm Jack Astor’s, Dartmouth Crossing 107 Shubie Drive, Dartmouth

October 18 Halifax Chamber of Commerce 2008 Business to Business Expo 10am -5pm World Trade Convention Centre, 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS Cost: Free For info: Rachael McBay, 481-1234 E-mail: rachael@halifaxchamber.com

October 19-25 Small Business Week – “ A World Without Boundaries ”

For a listing of events across the province: www.bdc.ca

October 19 Happy Hour Small Business Week Finale 5-7pm Halifax Club, 1682 Hollis Street For info: www.halifax.chamber.com

October 30 11th Annual Nova Scotia Nature Trust Dinner

World Trade and Convention Centre Speaker: Stephen Lewis Silent Auction 4:30 – 10:00pm Tickets: $125 regular; $175 patron For info: Zsofi Koller, 425-5263

December 4, 2008 Black Business Initiative’s Directory Launch and Christmas Social Waterfront Warehouse Lwr Water St. Halifax For info: 426-2224

November 13 Halifax Chamber of Commerce Floors Plus Bayers Lake The staff and management at Floors Plus, Bayers Lake are looking forward to meeting you at the upcoming Chamber’s connection event on November 13. Come and join us for an exciting and informative evening in our wonderful new showroom.

We want you to experience first hand the extensive selection in all categories of floor covering along with our innovative bathroom and glass furniture lines. Area rugs, designer sheet glass, granite counters and much more. Come and enjoy our hospitality and refreshments and stay for some great door prizes. Roger Kent , Manager, Floors Plus Please RSVP. For more information please contact: Tania Crouse, Halifax Chamber of Commerce call: 902-468-7111 E-mail: tania@halifaxchamber.com


The BBI would like to thank all of our Sponsors, Partners, Supporters, and Delegates who helped to make the Black Business Summit 2008 such a great success!

If undeliverable return to: The Black Business Initiative 1575 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2G1 Publications Mail Agreement No.

Poste-publications

numĂŠro de convention

0040026687 0040026687

Black to Business – Issue 40 – Summer 2008  
Black to Business – Issue 40 – Summer 2008