Page 1

The Periodical of the Black Business Initiative

Vale and Associates Also in this Issue • Surviving a Recession • Adams Consulting & Management Group • Financial Sector Trailblazers Spring 2009 u Number 42

“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



YOUTH ON THE MOVE Christian Upshaw


Sackville Wellness Centre Steve Oliver


TRAILBLAZERS Financial Sector


Adams Consulting & Management Group


Strategic Direction Stakeholder Roundtable


Keeping the Promise


Surviving a Recession


Rock Island Café Khalid Wasi




BBI’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award 18 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

Constructing the Future


BBI Welcomes new Staff


PEOPLE & BUSINESS on the Move 21 BBI 2009 Training Schedule


Business & Community Events


Regional Reports Central


Business Development







Training Report

for others. In particular, these numbers act as a catalyst for those in the entrepreneurial sector. In fact, if the truth be known, recession brings about a number of business opportunities. For those who are currently entrepreneurs, it is important to ensure that you continue to add value for your clients. For individuals who had previously thought of owning their own companies, it now becomes a time to perhaps take that leap.

Paul Adams

Message from the Board

COVER STORY Vale and Associates

“The times they are a changing” In January 2009, the inauguration of President Obama signified a change in the business environment as we know it. This change came at a much needed time, the implosion of the financial industry, the collapse of the automobile industry, numerous environmental and climate concerns and the list goes on. We are at a point when the jobless rate continues to climb. As a matter of fact, in January the latest unemployment rates for the U.S. sat at 7.6 percent or 11 million persons, rising by about four million over the last 12 months. It is important to match these numbers to our Canadian figures. In January 2009 Canada’s unemployment rate was listed at 7.2 percent. This was considered the lowest level of employment over the past 30 years. While the record high levels of unemployment can trigger fear in the hearts of some, on the flip side of the coin, it also spells opportunity 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.

Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687

Spring 2009

For Advertising Information, Rates, Submitting Stories, Notices or Community Events, or for More Information, call: 902-426-2224

While many individuals may take the leap, there will be some fallout for those individuals who realize that entrepreneurism is a mindset, a personality trait and does not necessarily match all personalities. For others, it will be an awakening, as you discover your inner strengths in your quest to grow and or implement new business ideas. Given the economic changes we are currently experiencing, we are definitely anticipating growth in business start-ups over the next 12 to 18 months. While the Black Business Initiative (BBI) continues to work with our client base and our strategic partners to identify opportunities where we can facilitate and support growth in the Black business community, there has also been a number of new undertakings in these changing times. Early in January, BBI together with ADEPA proposed, and was awarded a contract, to build community capacity in the trades. One of the goals of this project is to build increased capacity to support the construction industry. 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.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

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Message From the Chief Executive Officer

Peter Marsman

S. I. Rustum Southwell


f it was getting stormy in December when we were finalizing issue #41 of Black to Business, it has become downright turbulent in all markets right now. And if you feel that all the experts are guessing, they are. What we know is these are the very conditions that increase requests to us for our services, because we help businesses and people who are in the margins. Inevitably, this group is the first to feel the impact of the economic downturn and the last to recover from it.

President Obama in the USA and Prime Minister Harper here in Canada are responding with stimulus-spending to keep consumers purchasing goods and services. Evidently, no one really knows how long the recession will last so credit is scarce and cash is once again king. The best way to survive is to have informed strategic management of your business. The law of the conservation of energy in physics states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant. Consequently,

energy cannot be created or destroyed. In similar circumstances in business, however, the term “correction” is used as one company’s loss is another one’s gain. The more unencumbered resources you have the better you will come out of the recession. Reduce your debt, become more efficient, keep your clientele happy, cut costs and wait for the good times. It’s easy to say, hard to achieve unless you are an accomplished manager. As we move into our teenage years at the BBI we are trying our best to keep ahead of these very challenging business issues. As our strategy has been from its inception in 1996, the Black Business Initiative (BBI) developed and worked around a cluster of strategic objectives. These objectives were informed by our vision to foster an enduring presence within the Nova Scotia business community of a dynamic and vibrant Black presence. Our ultimate goal, to which the strategic objectives point, has been and remains to facilitate the development, growth and expansion of Black-owned businesses that will create and sustain a positive influence on the province-wide Nova Scotia business culture. In practice, this means that BBI saw and continues to envision itself as a focal facilitator for the development and utilization of entrepreneurial skills among Black Nova Scotians through: knowledge and skills acquisition and their continual improvement and upgrading through ongoing education and training; connectivity with mainstream business and financial institutions; engendering and maintaining functional co-operative relationships with regional development agencies, relevant provincial and federal government departments, and fostering and supporting Black Nova Scotia business in its effort to access the opportunities and financial and technical services offered

by these institutions; and ensuring a strong intergenerational sustainability to the vibrancy of Black Nova Scotia business by inculcating interest and orientation in entrepreneurship in Black Nova Scotia youth. Current census results confirm that the strategy is indeed working. Despite a slight drop between 2001 and 2006, Black self-employment maintains a 25.3 percent increase since the BBI inception in 1996. Recent census data on business ownership and employment in the Black community reveals mixed signals of moderate decline and significant increase. Self-employment among Black Nova Scotians across the province declined approximately 10 percent between 2001 and 2006, while self-employment for the province as a whole remained static. According to Statistics Canada and the 2006 Census, Black self-employment in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) declined 3.7 percent over the same period, while self-employment for the region as a whole grew 6.9 percent. Current census results confirm that the strategy is indeed working. Despite a slight drop between 2001 and 2006, Black self-employment maintains a 25.3 percent increase since the BBI inception in 1996.

When looking at employment growth among Black businesses, the picture is much different. Across the province, Black businesses with employees grew 57.7 percent – continued on page 6 >

Black to Business


Spring 2009

Vale and Associates

Palm trees, tropical breezes, and picturesque coastlines are just a few perks that came when sisters Cassandra and Cynthia Dorrington decided to expand their business operations to the Caribbean. Shauntay Grant


e’re in our sixth year of business and, where we started in Nova Sco-

tia, in the last three years we’ve moved into an environment with a more international focus, and in particular the Caribbean,” says Cassandra Dorrington, founder and President of Vale and Associates Human Resource Management and Consulting, Inc.

Apart from Nova Scotia, the company has clients in Ontario, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia. “It’s our goal to be in at least one of the other (Caribbean) islands this year,” says Cassandra. Vale and Associates’ primary service is providing HR strategy and advisory work, training and development. The company has grown considerably over the past six

years, with at least 60 percent of their business now being out of province. “We started off with a small idea,” remembers Cynthia Dorrington, founder and Vice President of Vale and Associates. “We did not go into it looking for (international work), it just happened for us. But I think what it allowed us to do is not limit ourselves. And really, at the end of the day, you can be as large or as small as you want – it depends on your vision and what you want to invest in the business. And investing in the business is what has allowed (our) business to grow.” It also helps to have a good relationship with your business partner. “Working with family’s great,” says Cynthia. “Cassandra and I complement each other very well. From an early age we’ve been able to put our differences on the table and hash them out. And at the end of the day, we’re still family, and we love one another.” Cassandra agrees. “I enjoy working with family because we’re able to speak quite frankly and openly with each other. We’re able to have a difference of opinion and still come to a resolution, and walk away with no hurt feelings on either side. And we’ve managed a professional but still familial relationship that works well. And the good part is you get to work through life’s many challenges with people you really know and love.”

Cynthia & Cassandra Dorrington with Rustum Southwell at the BBI Offices.

Apart from their business venture, Cynthia and Cassandra Dorrington have recently started teaching, working with HR certificate programs at both St. Mary’s University (SMU) and Acadia University.

“Teaching is part of what we do – we do a lot of face to face with clients in board rooms,” says Cassandra. “Teaching also provides us an opportunity to market our services, and actually groom and guide practitioners. So it works from both a training advisory role as well as a marketing role for us as well.” Despite their busy schedules, both sisters are devoted community volunteers. Cynthia Dorrington is a member of the Halifax Police Chief’s Diversity Advisory Committee. She’s a past president of the Halifax-Cornwallis Canadian Progress Club, an organization that gives support to various organizations including Special Olympics Nova Scotia and Phoenix Youth Programs. Cynthia is also a member of the board of directors for the Greater Halifax Partnership; she also chairs the nominating committee. Cassandra Dorrington is the Chair of the Black Business Initiative (BBI) Board of Directors. She also serves as treasurer for Techsploration, an organization working to increase the number of women working in science, trades, technical and technologyrelated occupations. Cassandra is also a member of the national board of directors for CMA Canada and a member of the nominating committee for Mount Saint Vincent University’s Board of Governors. With so much on their plates, Cynthia and Cassandra Dorrington are hoping to add to the Vale and Associates family over the next few years. continued on page 12 >

Black to Business


Spring 2009

Youth on the Move Christian Upshaw

The speedy point guard nicknamed “T-Bear” is one of the top university basketball players in the country. He was named the Atlantic University Sport MVP and a first-team AllCanadian in March during his third season with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men. In some ways, Upshaw has the kind of skill that makes the game look effortless. He won three straight provincial championships in high school at St. Patrick’s – losing only one regular-season game in his whole career – and earned the league MVP in his final season, scoring 37 points in the provincial championship game. And he was the only Nova Scotian chosen to play in the adidas All-Canadian game in 2005.

Upshaw had a great first season, earning conference rookie-of-the-year honours, but he struggled early in his second year before a strong finish. Coming into his third season, Upshaw put in plenty of time in the gym to make himself an even better player. And the difference was noticeable. An average three-point shooter in his first two seasons, Upshaw improved his long-range game to

But not everything has come easily. Upshaw didn’t have the grades at St. Pat’s to move on to university, and he had to go back for a year of upgrading. “When I found out I didn’t have the marks, I was kind of heartbroken. But I realized it was my own fault and I had to be a man about it,” Upshaw told the Chronicle Herald at the time. “I just really focused on school. I had to prove to myself that I could do it.” He did it, making his way to St. F.X. in Antigonish and reuniting with St. Patrick’s teammates Tyler Richards and Will Silver.

ence, and he was among the league leaders in steals, assists, free throws and shooting percentage. “Christian had a phenomenal break-out year for the X-Men,” St. F.X. head coach Steve Konchalski said after Upshaw was named the league MVP. “He ranks in the top 10 in the AUS in every category except rebounding and blocked shots, amazing feats for a 5’10” point guard. He has done it all for the X-Men this year.” Upshaw’s success translated into a strong year for the X-Men, who spent the whole season ranked among the top five teams in the country and, as of press time in March, were on their way to Ottawa for the Canadian university basketball championship.

Emery Gbodossou, StFX Athletics


here natural talent meets a whole lot of hard work, that’s where you’ll find Halifax basketball star Christian Upshaw.

Chad Lucas

the point where he finished second in the conference in three-point shooting, sinking nearly half his attempts (47.9 per cent). He also upped his scoring average by five points to 19.1 points per game, good for fifth in the confer-

He was quick to credit his breakout season to the help of his teammates and the benefits of hard work. “I felt like this year I even surprised myself,” Upshaw said. “I put in a lot of hard work in the gym with Coach K and (assistant coach) Doc (Ryan), and I just found it paid off. “I’m pretty happy with my year. My teammates have been encouraging me to shoot the ball and take it to the hoop. It’s a lot to do with my teammates and the help they’ve given me all year round.”

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Sackville Wellness Centre Paul Adams

bring the client back into balance, both physically and emotionally. He can divide the Centre’s work into three distinct areas. The first is treatment – clients coming in for a massage or acupuncture. The next area is education, using ancient techniques such as tai chi and chi gong to improve physical fitness and well being. Finally, the third area can be described as “transformation”. This takes in the workshops the centre holds on such topics as “Recovering the Joy for Bereaved Parents” and the “Yoga Intensive Weekend”.

Steve Oliver, Director


teve Oliver, the director of the Sackville Wellness Centre says that the role of his centre is to assist its clients to “have a sense of well-being, feeling good about themselves, and happy with their lives.”

He opened the Centre in September 2008 and has assembled a team of complementary medical specialists – massage therapist, doctor of acupuncture, counsellors, and a tai chi instructor – to add to his own skills as a tai chi and meditation instructor.

While traditional western medicine is predicated on diseases and looking at health issues from a cause and effect perspective, Oliver says the modalities used at the Centre look at the body in a different way. “Eastern healing is all about balance and, if the body is out of balance, you use techniques to bring it back into balance and then symptoms will disappear.”

“Together we have more than 175 years of combined experience in our fields,” he says.

An example he uses is grounded in the ancient practice of tai chi. Research has shown that as participants move through the prescribed series of movement, there is a tension created between the left brain and the right brain. To combat this, the brain creates new neurons to bring things back into balance. These neurons help keep the brain healthy as a person ages.

The common goal of these healing arts practiced at the Centre is to

When asked how he decided to open this business, his answer was clear.

Carol Dobson

“I grew up in a family where spiritual healing and community development were a part of my life, because of my mother and father,” he explains. “I thought that was a normal upbringing, the way everybody lived, but when I grew older, I realized that wasn’t the case. I started studying various means of self development, such as tai chi, mediation, and the various healing arts, while I worked in technology to earn money. But, I decided I wanted to go out on my own and was able to through the self employment program at the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development. “I took a small seed of an idea and expanded it into my desire to open a clinic,” Oliver says. “I found this great location in Lower Sackville and decided to build a team of senior practitioners in their field.” His journey to entrepreneurship has been documented by CEED (the Centre for Entrepreneur ship Education and Development) and monthly video vignettes are posted on the Sackville Wellness Centre’s website – www.sackvillewellness.com.


Wellness Centre Steve Oliver

546 Sackville Drive, Unit 400 (at Leaside) Lower Sackville, NS

902-252-3290 (Office) Email: info@sackvillewellness.com www.sackvillewellness.com

Black to Business REGIONAL REPORT Central Njabulo Nkala I am excited and honoured to be the BBI’s representative in the Central Region of Nova Scotia as the new Regional Business Development Manager for the area. I am taking over this position from my colleague Evan Williams who has served the region ably, and needless to say, I have quite big a pair of shoes to fill. Since becoming part of the BBI team in July 2008, and in the past few months I have had the privilege of attending various business workshops and seminars and met with several of our partners. Worth noting are the Geared for Growth Conference hosted by NSBI as well as the Financial Analysis for Business Development Professionals Workshop hosted by Acadia University. At the end of November 2008 I made my maiden trip to the region with Evan. I met with partners from Truro to Amherst. I have since returned to the region for additional CANSA information sessions in Springhill and a job fair in Amherst. I also had the privilege of attending the African Heritage Month celebrations in West Hants County. I would like to welcome Wayne Talbot of Truro as a new BBI client. He adds to my list that I will be working with from Halifax Metro and the Central region. I would also like to congratulate Robert Brown and Robert Marsman for successfully obtaining assistance from the BBI to expand or start their businesses. In the coming weeks and months I look forward to working with new and existing clients in making businesses succeed. For any inquiries, additional information, suggestions and comments please contact me at (902) 426-4281 or by e-mail at: Nkala.Njabulo@bbi.ns.ca.

Spring 2009

6 Message from the Board of Directors continued from page 1

Similarly Black Business Consulting (BBC) and its associates continued to build relationships and identified opportunities to augment its service export work in the Caribbean market. The work to date had been well received and it is anticipated that this significant initiative will lead to additional work. Overall, it has been an extremely busy quarter for BBI. Work has ranged from the completion of the Evaluation Report, the submission of our Funding Proposal to our funding partners, the design and implementation of the work associated with the Labour Market Proposal, as well as addressing renewed interest to take the BBI model national. Amid all these undertakings, the BBI staff continues to meet the needs of our ongoing client base in our maintenance of operations. At this time I would like to give a special thanks to the dedicated and talented staff members of BBI for a job well done during these busy times. It is important to note that in these changing times, companies can no longer simply sit back and react to market conditions. It is essential for companies to assess the current and future business indicators to identify a business strategy that addresses sustainability and growth while mitigating against potential risk. As evidenced by the actions taken to date, BBI has engaged this risk management strategy wholeheartedly. As the times continue to change, we at BBI are dedicated to working with our client base and our partners to successfully manage business during these turbulent times. If the past few months are any indication of the times to come, we can only say that while we see success ahead, in the interim – hang on we are in for a bumpy ride.

Cassandra Dorrington, Chair

Message from the CEO

continued from page 2

significantly more than the 1.1 percent growth for businesses with employees in the province as a whole. These numbers are significantly stronger in HRM as Black businesses with employees and all businesses with employees grew 64.7 percent and 10.4 percent respectively. This significant growth in Black businesses that create employment indicates encouraging movement in the community toward more growth oriented business development.

Across the province, Black businesses with employees grew 57.7 percent – significantly more than the 1.1 percent growth for businesses with employees in the province as a whole.

Such results are due to the consistent and insistent way that BBI applies itself to the vision with a good mix of bright and dedicated individuals from the volunteer board to our staff members. It is energy similar to that of new staff members like Monique Carvery, RBDM Intern, and Omax Charles, the Accounts Clerk who keeps us all disciplined and focused. They both joined the BBI team in the fall and are providing good support to our team. Various reports in this issue will outline many of the projects we are currently working on. It is busy, yes, but we will continue to focus on helping businesses and improving our potential to succeed.

S.I. Rustum Southwell, CEO

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Greg Browning Royal Bank of Canada Working in the financial sector has allowed Greg Browning to try all sorts of different careers without changing companies.

Peter Marsman

Financial Sector

In his 31 years with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Browning has worked in administration, human resources, credit-risk management and business lending, among other roles. “I’ve been able to do some really different things without changing organizations,” he says. Browning is currently a commercial mortgage manager at RBC, where he finances large properties such as apartments, offices and retail stores. It’s a position he’s held for seven years. Most of his clients are in the metro Halifax area but he works with companies in all four Atlantic provinces. Like anyone working in the financial sector during the current economic climate, Browning is trying to help his clients weather difficult times. “Most of my clients are generally fairly experienced,” he says. “But they’re certainly looking to us for advice and counsel, and looking to our experience as they make their decisions. The skill has come in trying to figure out how to continue to serve your clients and grow your business in the midst of all that uncertainty.” The current conditions add a layer of complexity to what Browning says is already a fast-paced job. “The banking industry is very demanding these days, and very much salesand results-oriented,” he says. “It offers really good opportunity, good benefits and good pay, but you have to be prepared to work under the pressure of reaching sales goals and targets on a consistent basis.”

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Chad Lucas Photographs: Peter Marsman

Marc Paris Peter Marsman

Scotiabank Marc Paris describes his job as being like the quarterback of a football team. As a client relationship manager in commercial banking at Scotiabank, Paris is the first point of contact for his clients and directs them to whatever services the bank can provide to meet their needs. “We’re sort of the centre point,” he says. “Not only do we have clients coming at us, but other people in the bank as well. Lots of times, things will just start with us. It’s about prioritizing your day to get the most work in that you can.” Paris’s job is about networking and building relationships, both with existing clients and potential ones. “It’s a client-focused position, so there’s an opportunity to get out and meet with people,” says Paris, who has been at Scotiabank for 11 years. Paris says that while times are certainly tough right now, he still sees opportunities for businesses to thrive. “It certainly was an easier time over the past four or five years, but there are still good opportunities out there,” he says. “I have some clients who are having fantastic years.

Mervyn Broome Royal Bank of Canada

Peter Marsman

“Nowadays it’s about staying close to our clients, understanding their business and understanding the trends within their business, so if they do run into any problems we can be an advocate for them. We don’t tend to ditch our clients at the first sign of trouble. We stick with them.”

The banking business has seen plenty of changes in the 28 years Mervyn Broome has been working in the industry, but he says one thing is the same: it’s all about working with people. “The most important thing is having the people skills, to be able to listen and understand, to be open for criticism and to make room for improvement,” Broome says. “That’s not just banking skills, that’s life. If you respect people, inside or outside the bank, you build trust.” Broome is a senior business and personal account manager at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), working out of the Burnside branch in Dartmouth. Born in Cape Breton and raised in Truro, Broome has held many different positions at RBC and moved into his current role four years ago. He works mostly with small businesses, giving clients advice on both their business and personal finances. He says the biggest change he’s seen over the years is the rise in the number of products and services banks can offer their clients. It’s good for business, but it means people in the industry constantly have to stay on their toes and keep up to date. “The challenging part is keeping up with the volume and the expectations of people,” Broome says. “Keeping up with the expectations of the customer and the competition. Every time the competition raises the bar, we’ve got to be equal to, if not above, it.

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Adams Consulting & Management Group

Shauntay Grant

Peter Marsman

of a lot of people, the environment has been a pursuit that I’ve been involved in for some time.” In 2006 Adams partnered with Barry Creamer to start CaribREGEN, a Nova Scotia-based company built on the premise of developing renewable energy from the sun, wind power, biomass. “With a great deal of faith, Barry and I focused on viable means to get into generating renewable energy,” says Adams. “We found our first real opportunity in the country of Barbados, and we have established a pretty solid foundation in that country with government, community and industry.” Wayne Adams, Adams Consulting & Management Group

“The highlight of owning your own business?” Wayne Adams pauses at the question then responds in good jest. “Being broke!” he laughs. “It’s suprising how much you can get done without money, because we sure don’t have any starting out, and believe me it takes time to make some.” Adams Consulting & Management Group (formerly Adams Management Group) has provided consulting services for clients across a range of disciplines since 1999, including diversity management in human resources, community economic development projects, business development, and broadcast journalism. But the bulk of the company’s work has been in government relations and with environmental companies. “After leaving politics in 1998, knowing that I had to keep on working

because I left politics with no pensions attached to me, I successfully landed a spot as a consultant with one of Halifax’s top consultancies.” While working as a senior associate with William Alexander & Associates, Adams was engaged in consulting of natural gas for such companies as Sempra Atlantic. “After leaving politics in 1998, knowing that I had to keep on working because I left politics with no

Adams attributes their success in Barbados to being a small company with commitment and focus. “In the Barbados we adopted the slogan ‘small is beautiful’, because we knew the history of big foreign companies in the renewable business discarding the Caribbean as being too small. Big companies had come

Adams Consulting & Management Group

pensions attached to me, I successfully landed a spot

Wayne Adams

as a consultant with one of Halifax’s top consultancies.” “I ran my provincial campaign in 1993 on an environmental platform,” says the former Minister of the Environment for the Government of Nova Scotia. “Realizing that fixing the environment required the efforts

488 7656 main 829 3102 cell adamsmgt@eastlink.ca

Black to Business

Spring 2009


in, built up their expectations and then left.” “We decided to go there, stay a while, get to know some people, and talk about long-term plans and solutions,” says Adams. “And we had the view that if we stayed small and committed, we could achieve a good degree of success.” Adams and his associate Barry Creamer remain principal partners in their significant wind-energy project in Barbados. And once well established, they expect to expand operations to other Caribbean states. Adams’ background helped prepare him for the work he is doing today. “I graduated from a distance education program with the American Consultants League in 1988 with a diploma in Business and Management Consulting, and this diploma has served me well.” As noted, Adams was the Minister of the Environment for the Government of Nova Scotia between 1993 and 1998. Elected in 1993, he is the first African Nova Scotia cabinet minister

“In 1998 I lost the election,” remembers Adams. “And of course everyone wants to win. But I always felt that even though I want to win it, there’s always a possibility of losing. And in 1998, that happened.” Adams says his approach to leaving politics was quite different from some of his colleagues. “I looked at some of my colleagues, who were demoralized (by the loss) and chose to stay low profile. But for me, it was like ‘I gotta’ get up and get going, get creative’.” “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, before and after politics. And so after politics it was natural to go back to what I really wanted to pursue in life, which was to own a business that could serve the greater public good, as well as my family and personal needs. I also need to set an example for my grandchildren” “My whole idea is that transition is what you make it,” concludes Adams. “Get up, and get going!”

Deep Panuke gas project business and career opportunities. For information on business opportunities with EnCana’s Deep Panuke natural gas development in Nova Scotia’s offshore, visit the Deep Panuke pages on the EnCana web site at www.encana.com/ operations/canada/deeppanuke/ businessopportunities/index.htm For information on employment opportunities at Deep Panuke, visit the Career Centre on EnCana’s web site at www.encana.com or the Career Beacon web site at www.careerbeacon.com

REPORT Gordon Doe

Construction We have launched our “Constructing The Future” program in partnership with the Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development Division of the department of Labour. This is a construction training and job readiness program for the unemployed and under employed in the trades sector. The program aims to increase the participation of working age tradespersons in the mainstream economy of Nova Scotia. It will equip existing and aspiring tradespersons from our community with enhanced skills, basic certifications and competencies to establish a stronger presence in Nova Scotia’s construction sector. The 40 week program includes 8 weeks of personal training, 18 weeks of direct construction training and 8 weeks of work placement. Specifically, participants will undergo construction training in seven trade areas that are in high demand and well-paying. The work placement will be an on-the-job opportunity that will require participants to practically apply what they have learned about themselves, the professional work environment, safety and the trades. Invest in Nova Scotia With the declining financial markets and expected reductions in new investments the board of directors of the BBCIFL elected not to have a 6th offering this year. Consequently the fund did not sell new shares this past RRSP season. Our goal to move the Fund to the half Million dollar mark is therefore delayed, however, the Fund is currently in a sound cash position to make investments in good companies. This year, shareholders who invested in our first offering have reached the five year mark of their investment and are eligible to receive an additional 20% equity tax credit for their investment. We hope you plan and prepare to invest in the next offering. As always, please feel free to call me at 902-426-6985 if you have any questions.


ECOR-7124 Deep Panuke_Generic ad_R2.indd 1


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Black to Business

Spring 2009


Strategic Direction Stakeholder Roundtable


n March 17, 2009 the Black Business Initiative (BBI) hosted

a consultation session to gather input on its strategic direction. Participants included stakeholders the BBI has been associated with over the years. This included the federal and provincial governments, businesses, African Nova

Jocelyn Dorrington

Scotian communities, funding and regional development agencies. The aim of the roundtable was: to apprise the stakeholders of the philosophy, principles and content of the strategic direction the BBI has developed to guide its activities and operations for the next five years to seek their critical appraisal of its focus, its direction, and its feasibility in light of the vision and mission of the BBI; and to offer suggestions on what the strategy may need to include to fulfill its mandate in the period in view. The goal of the BBI is longevity in terms of institutional skilfulness, competence and relevance to the causes it serves over time, and in being able to pursue those objectives, as attested in its founding vision and mission statements, from a position of financial sufficiency, not necessarily self-sufficiency. It is to this dual agenda that its Strategic Direction 2009-2014 is directed. The constituent strategies of the Direction are encapsulated under the themes of sustainability, partnerships, and capacity (SPC).

Kathy Murphy

Mike Hayes

Black to Business

Keeping the Promise


s people across the province get ready to celebrate the 25th an-

niversary of African Heritage Month

in Nova Scotia, the region’s Black Business Community is poised to move forward in 2009 with the promise of better things to come. “Like all elements of the economy, the onset of the recession is certainly having an impact upon our small businesses here in Nova Scotia,” says Rustum Southwell, the President of the Black Business Initiative (BBI), the province’s development agency that fosters the growth of businesses owned by members of the Nova Scotia Black Community. Southwell says that his organization is now focusing upon helping entrepreneurs and emerging companies to weather the storm. “We have a number of initiatives underway involving funding and marketing and costcutting seminars for our start-ups. As well, we are putting the finishing touches upon our construction strategy that will help several of our companies grow in that sector.” In spite of the ongoing challenges, he says, 2008 was also a year of great hope. “The election of Barack Obama has re-energized us,” he adds, “and it has sent a powerful message of hope.” The Province’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Mayann Francis, echoes the sentiment. “For our people, especially our young people, it says that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it,” she says. “In that regard, there has never been a better time for black businesses in Nova Scotia.”

Spring 2009

12 Stephen Clare Nova Scotia Business Journal

Andre Livingston agrees. The owner of the Halifax Rainmen basketball team is upbeat about the opportunities that now exist for African-Nova Scotians. “The doors have suddenly swung wide open for us here,” he says. “All we need to do now is to walk through.” And while many in the province’s Black Business Community share that enthusiasm, others say that there is still much work to be done. “I am cautiously optimistic,” says Irvine Carvery, who currently sits as both the President of the Africville Genealogy Society and as the Chair of the Halifax Regional School Board. “On the one hand, we have had this incredible political breakthrough south of the border that can serve as an inspiration for all of our people everywhere. “On the other hand,” he adds, “ignorance and prejudice still simmer just below the surface of things here in Nova Scotia, particularly in the province’s business community.” Along with that glass ceiling, Carvery is concerned that the current global economic crisis might spell trouble in the months and years ahead for Black businesses here. “We are not immune to the fallout,” he says. “The interconnectedness of the world’s economy now means that events anywhere in the world can have an impact on our businesses here at home.” In spite of the dim financial forecast, Southwell remains positive. “There are obviously things taking place elsewhere in the world that are out of our control,” he points out. “However, so long as we continue to take care of business here at home then we will make it through as we always have.” Reprinted with permission from: Nova Scotia Business Journal February 2009 Issue.

Vale and Associates continued from page 3 >

“We’re talking about adding a couple of associates over the next three years,” says Cassandra. And of course they are always looking to expand geographically; apart from the Caribbean, Vale and Associates is looking into opportunities in the United Arab Emirates. Cynthia says travelling to new places is one of her favourite parts of the business. “Aside from helping clients fulfill problems in their company, (Vale and Associates) has allowed my passion for travelling to continue,” says Cynthia. “I’ve been travelling periodically for over 20 years and now this has allowed me to travel frequently, but also interact in a different way – not just going in as a tourist, but learning more about the country and the people.” Still, no matter where they may travel to do business, the Dorrington sisters are proud of their Nova Scotian roots. “Even though I’ve been other places, these are my roots,” says Cynthia. “Both Cassandra and I have said ‘we travel to do our business, but we always come home.”

Vale and Associates 5622 Carriageway Cres, Halifax Nova Scotia Canada B3K 5K4

PHONE 455-1114 EMAIL info@valeassociates.ca WEB www.valeassociates.ca


Halifax, Nova Scotia

Peter Marsman

What probably sets this recession apart from all the others that have occurred throughout the centuries is that this is the first one happening in the 500-channel universe. And, as in every recession, there will be survivors who will come out of the economic downturn bigger and better than before.

Dr. Harvey Millar

What is a recession you ask?” Harvey Millar, a Professor of Operations Management at Saint Mary’s University’s Sobey School of Business says. “Well, economists generally define a recession as a reduction in gross domestic product (GDP) over two successive quarters. In essence, economic activity is reduced and we have a contraction of the business cycle. Signs of a recession are manifested in reduced GDP growth, contraction in home prices, loss of employment and loss of wages, decreased consumer spending, and so on. Recessions can fuel consumer panic causing further deepening of the recession, leading to the possibility of an economic depression.

“Surviving a recession requires action on the part of several key dimensions of the economic system (government, businesses, banking institutions, consumer behaviour, suppliers, etc.) The prospect of survival depends on whether these various elements can act in concert to bring about synergy. The unfortunate reality is that each element typically acts to protect its own set of interests. “Banks stop lending; employers lay off workers to reduce costs; creditors foreclose on nonpayers; consumers stop spending and begin saving for a rainy day; government raise taxes; suppliers stop supplying; and so on. The confluence of these mixed actions exacerbates speed of recovery. These actions are nowhere near optimal for the goal of economic recovery. However, once the jitters settle, we will eventually return to a point of normalcy.” Millar has come up with a number of tips to help weather the storm: Tip Number One: Focus on your most valuable customers. We are talking about trimming the fat. Here is a case where the 80/20 Tip applies. Typically, 20 percent of your customers drive 80 percent of your revenues. Identify their needs and find ways to continue to serve them effectively. It is likely that they will remain with you during and after the recession. Peter Marsman

urn on a television or pick up a newspaper these days and there’s one word that you can’t escape – recession. Editorial writers and television commentators are telling stories of gloom and doom.

Jeannie Jones & Donna Gaskin

Jeannie Jones, one of the owners of Juice Eh! says she and her partner Donna Gaskin are doing just that. The two partners have spent

Carol Dobson

“We did a special Valentine’s promotion and we’re looking for other ways we can keep our name out in front,” she says. “We’ve also been revisiting all of our suppliers to see what we can do there to keep our costs down. The one thing we can’t control is the number of customers we have.” The Valentine’s promotion is one of several they have planned to keep in front of customers’ eyeballs. They’re also, Jones says, looking at developing new products. “We haven’t had to cut any of our employees’ hours. But then, we only use the number of staff that we need and we have become more careful in how we use their hours,” says Jones.

Tip Number Three: Focus on maintaining a solid cash flow. Reduce the level of credit or tighten credit terms for “low value” customers. Provide incentives for cash payments in cases where much of the business is done via credit transactions. Tip Number Four: Focus on identifying new needs triggered by the recession. Explore the possibility of providing products or services that satisfy these needs. Note that these needs may change once the recession is over. Hence your company must have the agility to provide the service quickly and eliminate it if necessary.

Tracey Thomas, BBI

Tip Number Two: Focus on the services that deliver the most value. It may be necessary to temporarily scale back some of your services. Services with low marginal contribution to the bottom line should be reviewed unless they are loss leaders. Remember services consume inputs and inputs costs money.

“We created some Valentine’s Day packages that were fairly inexpensive yet gave good value for the money,” she says. “We’ve also been remerchandising the store, moving things around, and giving some items more prominence, and making the whole store look fresh.”

Gregory Nazaire, BBI

the last few months looking at the way they’re running their business.

Valerie Rafuse

Saundra Vernon

For Saundra Vernon, of Ruby’s Sugar Shack in Lunenburg, that means adapting hours of business each year so that there are summer hours, when the streets are full of tourists, and winter hours, when the town is less busy. During the off season months, her emphasis is on the major candy-giving holidays – Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

While the presence of Acadia University provides a measure of economic stability in the town of Wolfville, conditions in the surrounding area, such as the closure of the nearby chicken processing facility, have had an impact on Valerie Rafuse’s Saucy Strides shoe store. “We’re definitely down over last year,” Rafuse says. “But there are things happening in the community, such as Michelin not hiring any more flextime workers, that are having an impact. But, we are surviving. I’m looking at ways to get my name out, such as advertising on the radio,” she says. continued over >

Black to Business



continued from page 14

“We’re bringing in our new spring shoes and bags in nice bright colours. We’ve also brought in new jewellery. So, I have customers coming in already looking for their spring shoes because they know I only bring in so many of each style and they don’t want to be disappointed.” Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, after two years in business Ms. Rafuse has had to close the doors on Saucy Strides. In a recent article featured on TheChronicleHerald.ca she is quoted as saying, “Opening Saucy Strides wasn’t a mistake. It would have been a mistake not to open. I’ve learned so much and had so much fun.”

Tip Number Five: Focus on investments that will assist in positioning the company well for the post-recession period. This is the lookahead approach. Things won’t be bad forever. Investments in technology upgrades, worker retraining, equipment, etc. should be carefully evaluated with a view to taking advantage of the growth that will eventually follow a recession. In other words, don’t put all of your eggs in the short-term basket. These investments don’t have to be financial ones. Vernon and Rafuse have both developed relationships with other merchants in their towns. Vernon partnered with local restaurants on special Valentine’s Day packages while Rafuse works with a local women’s fashion retailer with a large client base that extends far beyond Wolfville so that information on her latest arrivals make their way onto the pages of Reta’s House of Fashion’s regular newsletter. Tip Number Six: Focus on maximizing the value of the downtime of your human resources. With the slowing of business, some “short-term thinking” employers see the opportunity to cut costs through layoffs. Your human resources can be put to effective use fixing processes and systems. They can be put to work identifying, designing and testing new products and services. They can be used to help clean up the business – give it a facelift both internally and externally. Tip Number Seven: Focus on identifying business-to-business (B2B) opportunities that do not require exchange of funds. In other words, search for opportunities to exchange needed services. That preserves cash while getting much needed work done.

Tip Number Eight: Focus on remaining positive and hopeful. The lack of faith and hope is equally a business killer as bad business decisions. Try to inspire both your customers and your employees to keep the faith while riding out the storm. Dale Swift, of Swift Realty is a firm proponent of Millar’s last tip. He’s been in the real estate business for the past five years and has seen the rapid growth in housing starts, especially in the Halifax area, during recent times. Paul Adams

She’s also welcoming the various winter tourism events that bring people to the Valley town, events such as Sheffield Mills’ Eagle Watch Weekends and the Valley Ice Wine Festival.

Spring 2009

Dale Swift

“There is some good news that Nova Scotia seems to be weathering the recession storm and not nearly affected like other provinces in Canada,” Swift says. “The first theory I have is that we have one of the most stable and moderate home prices in all of Canada. Secondly, the type of industries and jobs in Nova Scotia haven’t been largely affected by the recession. “While the recession has affected Canada’s economics very sharply, Nova Scotia seems to be strong despite the horror stories that we see on the news. Also Nova Scotians recognize to be careful and wise with their spending in this time of uncertainty. In all, I highly suggest to protect yourself further from recession is smart financial planning and maybe it’s worth its weight in gold to sit down with a financial adviser to seek additional advice.” The final word goes to Millar. “Recessions will come and go. Hence it is crucial for a business to have a recession strategy that is rooted in a grounded philosophy. Instead of acting as an individual, businesses should seek to act as a collective and find ways to support each other. If each business acts to protect only itself, the benefit of resilience that is derived from recognizing our ecological interdependence will be hard to come by.”

Cheyanne Gorman- Tolliver Spring is in the air and with the changing of the season can come a change in direction. Start fresh and take that step towards entrepreneurship and let the BBI be your guide. The winter months have been quite busy with community events. I had the pleasure of being asked to be a part of a Regional Education Workgroup for the Antigonish/Guysborough area. This group of educators, business people, and community leaders came together to tackle youth issues in the region. We met twice over the past few months and I am encouraged that a good plan will be developed that will bring some new inspiration to the youth in the area. Also let me congratulate the Glace Bay U.N.I.A. and Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs for partnering and hosting the 2nd Annual African Heritage Month Gala in Membertou, Cape Breton. The event was once again well attended and enjoyed by all. Congratulations as well to long time community member and leader, Sarah Hayward on being presented with the Thomas E. Miller Award for dedication to equality and human rights. The two organizations hosted other successful events for African History Month in Sydney. Congratulations also to the Congress of Black Women of Canada, Preston/ Cherrybrook/Lake Loon and area Chapter on their successful partnership with Canada Post to celebrate the release of new stamps featuring African Canadians; Rosemary Brown and Abraham Shad. In the coming months I am looking forward to promoting the Business Is Jammin’ Program throughout the Northern Region. If you work with youth and would like to know more about BIJ and what it offers please contact me and we can discuss programs available in your area. As always I am available to meet with potential clients and community groups in the region. For more information or to arrange a meeting please contact me at 426-8685, toll free at 1-800-668-1010, or by email at gorman-tolliver.cheyanne@bbi.ns.ca

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Paul Adams

Rock Island Café

Chad Lucas

Not bad for a restaurant that only opened in September. “The response has been very favourable,” says owner Khalid Wasi. “Customers like the food. The atmosphere is very warm and people seem to like it. We’re new and our advertising budget’s not been all that big, but we’re getting out by word-ofmouth and we have a lot of repeat customers.”

Khalid Wasi and wife Kelly Dow, Owners

The Rock Island Café is a hard place to miss. With a bright green exterior and a big pink starfish suspended above the marquee, the café draws plenty of looks along a busy stretch of Quinpool Road in Halifax. The interior is just as sunny and tropical, with pictures of Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay adorning the orange walls. But it’s the food that’s quickly winning the most attention. Chronicle Herald restaurant reviewer Bill Spurr visited the café last November and gave a glowing appraisal, calling the fish cakes “out of this world delicious” and the Bermuda Triangle entrée “outstanding.” He later awarded the fish cakes the prize of Best Appetizer in his 2008 Stick a Fork In It Awards.

Wasi, a Bermuda native who wound up in Halifax after several of his children attended university here, comes from a family of entrepreneurs back home on the Island. His experience in the restaurant business was limited – “Eating,” he deadpans – but he knows what he likes, and he made sure his kitchen staff knew how to prepare it. In fact, he flew in Herbie Bascombe, a chef at Bermuda’s renowned Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, to share the secrets behind his fish cakes and fish chowder. “The food that we serve had to meet my taste expectations,” Wasi says. Everything is made fresh and from scratch on site, with particular attention to providing healthy foods, Wasi says. The chowder is very different from the usual East Coast variety, featuring a dark and spicy broth. But it’s delicious enough to win over even the staunchest traditionalist.

Yet for Wasi, the restaurant is about more than food. An experienced social activist in his native country, he says he’s been drawn in by Nova Scotia’s history. He’s already dreaming about a big project connecting Nova Scotians with entrepreneurship opportunities in African countries such as Senegal. His immediate goal is to develop the Rock Island Café into a meeting place and a community hub. “The drive behind this was more community-oriented than food-oriented,” he says. “I want this to be a place where stories are told. Halifax is a diverse city, and I like the richness of its diversity. I want the community to take advantage of our location, for meetings or just dropping by.” The restaurant is wheelchair-accessible and seats 48, with outdoor seating for 24 once the warmer weather arrives. The café also offers live music with an Open Mic night on Thursdays.

Rock Island café 6293 Quinpool Rd, Halifax, NS

P: 406 4385

Black to Business


Ask the BBI Featured Expert: Njabulo Nkala,


Regional Business Development Manager


When spending dries up, how do we promote consumer confidence and spending? Consumer spending or personal consumption is defined as the total amount of goods and services purchased by individuals or households for a given time. Consumer spending accounts for the largest part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measure of all economic activity within a country. In Canada, consumer spending accounts for more than half of the GDP. Consumer confidence, on the other hand, measures the degree of confidence consumers have in the economy and their personal financial situation. It follows that when consumers have a more pessimistic view of the situation, i.e. low consumer confidence, their spending will naturally be low. Conversely, high consumer confidence means more consumer spending. The record numbers of companies that have gone out of business in the last several quarters, the poor employment figures (i.e. higher numbers of people unemployed or being laid off), and the general poor performance of the world

economy has resulted in very low consumer confidence as people are more and more uncertain of their financial future, hence they are spending less. Just look at the retail, automotive and real estate sector for testimony that, in fact, we are in recession. Traditionally profitable companies aren’t making profits anymore. All of a sudden consumers’ disposable incomes are no longer sufficient as “the dollar is no longer what it used to be”; savings seem to drain rather quickly and way ahead of time. Individuals with a bit to spare have become very cautious, choosing to save their money for that rainy day rather than use it today because “the times are hard.” At the same time, declines in the stock market are constantly and quickly chipping away at those prized savings in mutual funds and pension schemes. The recession is affecting everyone in colossal proportions. Consumers have become reluctant to spend, rightly so, to the detriment of the economy in general and businesses in particular. All this seems to spell d-o-o-m for the small to medium business. You would think these businesses have enough on their plate as it is, having to compete with all these mega stores such as WalMart, Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys et al for both customers and suppliers. “If giants like Circuit City in the U.S. and Linen ‘n’ Things have fallen by the wayside, can the small businessman survive in this dog-eat-dog environment?” you may ponder. I would add to that the litany of fellow small businesses down the street that you know have folded. On the contrary, I strongly believe that this is a good time for small- and medium-sized businesses. There are quite

Spring 2009 a number of advantages to being small right now, that if made full use of, a business can come out of this recession on top. By design, big businesses have a structure that is less efficient and are not as nimble as smaller businesses. Small businesses can very quickly adapt to new environments than big business. For example, it can take several years to change the culture in a big business yet the same change may take only a few days in a small business. Big businesses are the ones whose performances will mirror the overall economic fundamentals simply because of their size. When consumer confidence in the economy goes down and spending dries up, it’s the big businesses that are affected the most and not necessarily the smaller ones. Customers are not going to stop spending in a recession; they are just going to spend less and differently. In fact, in such times people are more likely to spend their money locally with a small business rather than making trips to the shopping malls.

Customers are not going to stop spending in a recession; they are just going to spend less and differently. In fact, in such times people are more likely to spend their money locally with a small business rather than making trips to the shopping malls.

So, as a small business, how do you take advantage of the situation? Well, first you need to review the way you operate on a daily and ongoing basis. See where you are spending money. Ask yourself the hard questions. Can you afford to have so many employees? Are the opening times of your business optimal? See where and how you can cut costs. Renegotiate with your suppliers for better deals; shop around for cheaper alternatives. Discontinue those loss-making products and focus your resources on the profit generators. continued on pqge 24 >

Black to Business


Spring 2009


The Black Business Initiative Society’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award is awarded annually to recognize demonstrated business excellence of a company or individual within the Nova Scotia Black Business community. Who is eligible? Any established business (minimum 3 years in business) in Nova Scotia with at least 30% Black ownership, that has demonstrated a strong business acumen and support for the community. All submissions must be made by Friday, May 22nd, 2009 - 5pm in writing to:

2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner Pauline’s Beauty Care & Boutique

Black Business Initiative 1575 Brunswick Street Halifax, NS B3J

Website: www.bbi.ca Email: bbi@bbi.ns.ca phone: 426-8383

2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner SLIC Laser Hair Removal Clinic

2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner Simmons Paving Limited

Black to Business

Constructing the Future, a construction training and job readiness program for the unemployed and under employed in the trades sector launched on March 16th 2009. Twenty enthusiastic young tradespeople successfully completed the assessment week and are looking forward to the rest of the program. The program is funded by the Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development division of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development. Program delivery is done by BBI’s construction management arm, ADEPA Management Inc. “Over forty people applied to attend the program but we could only accept twenty,” said Gordon Doe, the BBI’s Director of Business Development. Joel Marsman a retired safety inspector is the coordinator for the program bringing two decades of construction sector experience to the training delivery. Gordon Tynes, the managing consultant of ADEPA, says he is pleased with what he has seen so far and is confident results will be good.


Spring 2009

Black to Business


BBI Welcomes New Staff

Spring 2009

REGIONAL REPORT Southern Greg Nazaire

Monique Carvery

Regional Business Development Manager Intern Monique Carvery joined the BBI in September 2008 as a Regional Business Development Manager Intern. Monique grew up on Maynard Street in downtown Halifax with her father, mother and two older brothers where she still resides today. She attended Queen Elizabeth High School where she graduated with Honours in 2002.

Omax Charles Accounts Clerk

Omax Charles is one of the newer members of the BBI team. He is an accounting graduate from Saint Mary’s University and is also currently working towards his professional designation. He has a background in Banking, mostly dealing with the lenders side and customer service. Omax is excited to be part of the BBI team as he furthers his career.

We are partnering with several agencies to plan and deliver another series of business workshops in the Yarmouth area. Our goal is to include public and private sectors representatives to ensure a good mix for networking and establishing business relationships.

Throughout high school Monique supported her school in several ways including playing basketball, field hockey and being a cheerleader. She was also the head cheerleader and captain of her field hockey team. After graduation Monique furthered her education at Dalhousie University in the Bachelors of Commerce program. After year one she took a year off to gain work experience. She managed a retail store and then returned to school to finish her degree, balancing her time with work and school. She will finish her degree in spring 2009 and graduate in May. Monique’s interests include traveling and enjoying the outdoors. She is engaged to be married and looking forward to furthering her career with the BBI.

On March 20th we welcomed, for the first time, the Discover Africa Roadshow of The Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica) in Halifax. The goal of this workshop was to discuss sustainability and the myths and realities of doing business in Africa. A number of high profile members of the Halifax community and many diplomats attended, including the High Commissioners of several African countries and Dr. David Wheeler, from Dalhousie University, who has worked on several projects in Africa.

Njabulo Nkala, MBA

Regional Business Development Manager Njabulo Nkala is a business administration graduate from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS with a specialization in Finance. He joined the BBI in July 2008. He has past work experience in the physical sciences and customer relations where he developed a passion for business development and entrepreneurship. Njabulo also enjoys working with small to medium businesses.

Congratulations to Glynis Simms who continues to offer premiere child care with Just Right Child Care services. If you live in the Kingston, Whispering Pines, or Hidden Valley area and are looking for child care, give Mrs. Simms a call at (902) 242-2284. For information or to book a regional visit, please contact me at: (902) 426-1625 or the toll free number 1(800)668-1010.

Black to Business


Spring 2009

People & Businesses on the Move

The 15th annual W.P. Oliver Night of Honour was held at the Black Cultural Centre on February 9. Deacon Nina Adams and Mr. Charles F. Paris were this year’s honourees. Rev. Rhonda Britten was the guest speaker at this year’s event and the Cornwallis Street United Baptist Church Revival Choir provided the musical entertainment. Congratulations to the members of the Maritime Centre for African Dance’s Adult Troupe who were invited by the African Foundation to perform at the African Inaugural Ball for President Elect Barack Obama in Washington DC at the Washington Hilton Hotel. MCAD was the only African dance troupe chosen from Canada to perform at this historic event! The Symphony Nova Scotia Players’ Association held a fundraiser, ‘Jammin’ for Jimmy’, to raise funds in support of SNS’ long-time Stage Manager, Jim Tasco, who for several years has been battling cancer on Sunday, December 14. Editor’s Note: Sadly Jim Tasco passed away on March 19, 2009. The BBI offers its condolences to Mr. Tascos friends and family. On December 16, the Black Cultural Centre held an official opening for the “Spirit of Democracy” display which highlights the important developments made by members of the African-Nova Scotian Community (levels of Municipal, Provincial and Federal self-government) during the 250-year development of Parliamentary democracy in Nova Scotia. Asia and Nu Gruv will be featured in a CBC drama production entitled “Believe It” scheduled to be broadcast later this year.

The Black Students Advising Centre held a dialogue for the university community on the theme of “A Legacy of Hope”, to discuss the relevance of Dr. King’s dreams to people of African descent in the 21st century. The 11th Annual African Nova Scotian Music Award Show was held in on Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at the Casino Nova Scotia, Schooner Room. David Woods released a new, revised edition of his collection of poetry, ‘Native Song’. The second edition includes new writings on Africville, the author’s student experience at Dalhousie University and the Derby Tavern as well as four new original paintings, including the ‘stunning portrait of Aunt Evie’. A reading from his work was scheduled for the Halifax North Library during African Heritage Month. Willie O’Ree was named to the Order of Canada in December 2008. His citation reads, “For his pioneering contributions to the development of professional hockey, and for his tireless dedication to promoting the sport to minority youth in Canada and the United States.” Congratulations to Dr. Abi Kirumira. His company, BioMedica Diagnostics was recently awarded the 2009 Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum. The Nova Scotia Mass Choir sponsored this year’s Musical Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 17 at the Rebecca Cohn. This year, B.A. Husbands, who has been responsible for organizing a number of community organizations within the Black community of

Halifax, was honoured at the concert. Special guests at the concert included Linda Carvery, Dunnery Bond, Woody Woods, and Gary Beals. Capital Health released a study into the health of African Nova Scotians at the Black Cultural Centre on February 9. The study’s findings confirmed that heart disease and diabetes are two of the major health concerns within the community. The Dalhousie Art Gallery presented a film series during African Heritage Month featuring the work of Abderrahmaine Sissako and Ousmane Saembeine, two noteworthy African film makers. Pairs figure skaters Shyanne Dolliver and her partner James Blood were part of the Canadian team at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise Idaho in February. Congratulations to Gary Waterman on being named as the head coach of the St. Francis Xavier X-Men football team. He is the first X alumni member to lead the football program in its 55-year history. Ryan States has been awarded a $3000 educational bursary from the Halifax Community Investment Fund. He is currently attending Humber College in Toronto, studying refrigeration and air conditioning. Halifax’s Eli Goree has been cast as Malik in the Global TV series “Da Kink in My Hair”. Goree also stars in Vision’s “Soul” which is currently airing. The Association of Black Social Workers held its 7th annual senior’s tea and social on February 7th, 2009 at the Hammond’s Plains Community Centre

Black to Business

Teens Now Talk (TNT) magazine recently celebrated its second anniversary. In a profile on Halifax News Net, founder Jessica Bowden says plans for year three include “a Take Back the Power T-shirt campaign against bullying and the TNT power shopping card where teens receive discounts at stores that have signed up for the program.” Teens Now Talk magazine is available at a number of locations throughout HRM including Chapters, Lawtons, Atlantic Superstore, and WalMart. The Cumberland County African Nova Scotian Association held a number of events during African Heritage Month including concerts in Springhill and Amherst, an African fashion show, and a book launch commemorating 10 years of Black artisans. Mufaro Chakabuda, Shauntay Grant, Saa Andrew, and Tionda Cain were the leaders of “So You Think You Can African Dance? A Dance Journey for Black Youth”, held at the Tatamagouche Centre in early February. A number of leading musicians including Bucky Adams, Marcel Symonds, Kim Bernard, the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church Youth Choir, and Corey Adams joined voices to support the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church’s building fund at a concert held in the Music Room on February 14. Judge Jean Whalen was sworn in to the Nova Scotia Provincial and Family Courts in Sydney on Friday, February 6th. Judge Whelan was appointed to the Bench on January 16th by Attorney General and Justice Minister, Cecil Clarke. Prior to her appointment, Judge Whelan had been an instructor and senior Crown Attorney in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She is also one of the founding members of the Black Lawyers’ Association of Nova Scotia, vice-chair of the Race Relations Committee of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, and a member of the Sexual Harassment Committee at the Nova Scotia Community College.

Spring 2009


The Southwest African Heritage Month Committee, in partnership with the Digby County Family Resource Centre, Digby Education Committee and Regional Educators Program, BEA hosted the second annual “Southwest African Heritage Month Dinner & Dance Gala” at the Digby Legion on February 21. On Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association officially unveiled the Ben Jackson commemorative panel in Hantsport as part of the Matthieu DaCosta Heritage Trail. This panel details the history of Ben Jackson, an African Nova Scotian civil war hero who settled in Hantsport in the late 19th century. VANSDA also hosted a ‘Quiz Bowl’ pitting Grade 8 students against teams from KROC, Acadian University, and the TD Financial Group and ended the month “From the Heart of Nova Scotia – A Gospel Experience” at Acadia University, on Saturday, Feb. 28. The proceeds will be donated to an entrance scholarship fund that annually recognizes two African Nova Scotian students pursuing post-secondary educations. Pat Watson was the featured artist for the February “Lunenburg Sessions”, a series of folk/blues/ roots concerts held in the historic Lunenburg Academy on the third Tuesday of the month. Auburn High School’s Youth of Tomorrow hosted its 5th Annual Gospel Concert on Friday, February 20th. David Woods curated an exhibition, “In This Place, 100 Years of African Nova Scotian Art” which was on display at the McCarthy Hall Gallery of the Truro campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. The Black Business Initiative and the Greater Halifax Partnership presented an Afrikan Village Bazaar at the Bloomfield Centre on February 14 featuring Afrikan Nova Scotian sculptors, painters, poets, authors, musicians, and retailers.

Historian John Johnston gave an illustrated talk about Mathieu Da Costa, considered the first person of African descent to visit Nova Scotia, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on February 10th . Shelley Hamilton presented a performance of her one-woman play, “A New Hope”, the story of the Black Loyalists, at the Maritime Museum on February 21. The Vale Quilters hosted a special exhibit, “A Feast of Quilts” at the Ward One Community Centre in New Glasgow on February 14. The quilters featured were Marilyn Brannan, Myla Borden, Heather Cromwell, Marlene Dorrington, Debra Jordan, and Shirley Mackenzie. The Nova Gospel Ensemble performed in the Lieutenant Governor’s Concert in Celebration of African Heritage Month in Saint Patrick’s Church in Halifax on February 22. This concert was part of the Lieutenant Governor’s Concert Series and co-sponsored by the Saint Cecelia Society. The Black Law Students Association of Canada (BLSAC) is pleased to host the 18th Annual BLSAC National Conference from February 19-22, 2009. This year’s theme is “Assessing the Road Traveled, Strategizing for the Road Ahead: Examining the Law, the Legal Profession and the Community”. Among the events at the conference was the unveiling of a portrait of James Robinson Johnson at the Law Courts and the annual African History Month Gala on February 21.

In Memoriam Orval Clifford Browning passed on January 23rd, 2009 husband to Geraldine Browning former BBI board member, and father to Greg Browning and Robert Browning who are both current board members of BBI. Russell Wyse passed on March 3rd, 2009; he was the father to Mike Wyse former Chair of the BBI. Marjorie Jean Parker passed on March 4th, 2009; she was the mother of Beverly Parker staff member of the BBI.

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Black Business Initiative

2009 Training Schedule for Metro Courses:




Bookkeeping II


June 2, 9, 16, & 23


Excel I, II, & III


June 4, 11, & 18


Creating a Winning Business Plan


July 7, 14,






21, & 28

Entrepreneurship 101


June 3


Website Marketing (Part 1)


June 10


Website Marketing (Part 2)


June 17


Basic Business Communications


July 8


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.


First, I want to thank the training center staff and former Director of Client Development, Bernard Elwin, for making my transition into my new role a smooth one. Continued learning is essential for business owners to stay current in their industries. This quarter we were able to offer the following courses: Computer Basics; Excel; Simply Accounting; Marketing your Business; and Business Plan Creation; and the following workshops: Computer Security; Introduction to Entrepreneurship; Understanding Your Credit; and Customer Service and Franchising. The fees for courses continue to be affordable at $20 for community members and $40 for non- community members. There is a standard $5 fee for workshops. BBI understands the significance of training and continues to subsidize these courses for prospective, new and existing business owners. Please see the training schedule in this issue of Black to Business for upcoming courses and workshops. We are hoping to increase the amount of people taking courses outside of Metro. We will offer business related courses in any area in the province, if the specific community indentifies the need to us. We have been collaborating successfully with Student Connections to offer many of our computer based courses. I want to thank Abdul Hafez and his team for the great work they have done for the BBI and its clients. If you have suggestions for business related courses or you are interested in any of BBI’s training courses outside of Metro, please contact me directly at 902-426-8688, toll free at: 1-800-668-1010 or speak to the BBI’s Regional Business Development Manager in your area.

Black to Business


Spring 2009

continued from page 17 >

Secondly, you will need to reconsider your marketing strategy. Look for new and innovative ways of reaching out to local consumers and attracting new customers. Increase the amount of time you work on the sales and marketing aspects of your business. Be aggressive. Look at those aspects of your marketing and sales strategies that have worked for you in the past, see if you can improve on them and make them more effective. Look at how successful companies are marketing themselves and imitate them. Communicate to the consumer the benefits of buying from you instead of your competition, being very mindful that the purpose is to increase your overall profits, so such an exercise needn’t be too costly. Though the economic outlook is gloomy and consumer spending is drying up, your business can take advantage of the situation and still be profitable if it adjusts its operations appropriately and markets itself more effectively. The strength of your business, and any other small business, is its ability to quickly adapt to change. It should be agile. So do not close shop and flee to the hills yet, there is work to be done in the short term and profits to be made for the long term.

For more on BBI’s services or to register for an iInformation Session held every Thursday at BBI’s Training Centre, 2101 Gottingen Street, Halifax, call (902) 426-8683.

Business is Jammin’ Cheque presentation Paul Adams

Talk to your bank and financiers; see if you can get a lower interest rate or better terms on your loan or mortgage. Take advantage of government tax incentives, rebates and other programs for small businesses. As consumers are turning away from the corporate giants, be ready to fill that gap. Price accordingly; offer discounts where possible.

Greg Browning, Senior Manager, Commercial Mortgages, Royal Bank Canada (RBC), presents cheque to Joe Paris, Chair of the Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) program.

Greg Browning, Senior Manager, Commercial Mortgages, presented the final payment on a three year commitment by Royal Bank Canada (RBC) to Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) program staff on March 6, 2009. The $10,000 cheque brings RBC’s total contribution to this program to $30,000. The monies have been used for business camps and business youth programming over the last three years. Browning

says, “RBC is strong supporter of youth and education and BIJ qualified on both counts.” He says in addition to organizations such as BIJ, RBC supports youth through after school programs and post secondary scholarships. An additional cheque of $500.00 was donated to the BIJ program under the RBCs staff volunteer initiative. Browning has volunteered close to 40 hours a year for three years and each year RBCs contribution under this program has been $500.

Black to Business

Spring 2009


Business & Community Events April 23rd Halifax Chamber of Commerce Spring Dinner

Featuring Steven Brandman, Los Angeles Film & Television Producer Time: 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Where: WTCC Dress: Business Attire Info: www.halifaxchamber.com 468-7111

May 12th Get Inspired Over Lunch National Women’s Luncheon Series Guest speaker: Karen Sheriff, Pres., C.E.O., Bell Aliant Westin Nova Scotia LUNCHEON: 12:00pm - 2:00pm TO REGISTER: Call 1-800-354-3303

May 13th - May 17th Provincial Black Basketball Association 37th Anniversary Black Invitational Basketball Tournament Saint Mary’s University Contact: T: (902) 443-9512 Email: pbbafeedback@eastlink.ca; www.blackbasketball.ca

May 15th-17th Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon

Full, Half, 10k, 5k and Youth Run Halifax, NS www.bluenosemarathon.com Information: staff@bluenosemarathon.com

May 21st Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards

World Trade & Convention Centre For additional information: 902-424-6814 exportawards@nsbi.ca www.exportachievementawards.com

May 27th - June 7th Alegria (Cirque du Soleil) Halifax Metro Centre T: 451-1221 For additional information: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/ alegria/intro/intro.htm June

2009 V-Day Halifax -Violence Stops

Halifax (HRM) Contact: utvs2009@yahoo.ca

June 15th

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Nova Scotia Co-operative Council 60th Annual Banquet

World Trade & Convention Centre, Halifax Tickets $75 for members, $100 for non-members Contact andrea@nsco-opcouncil.ca; (902) 893-8966

June 19th BBI 13th AGM and Gala

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, Halifax

July 1st-8th Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Halifax Metro Centre T: 451-1221 W: www.nstattoo.ca

July 16th-20th Tall Ships 2009 Call for Volunteers

The Waterfront Development Corporation Limited Visit: www.tallshipsnovascotia.com Volunteers: 902-405-7700

July 30th - August 3rd Africville Reunion Festival July & August Summer School of the Arts

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Classes for Children Ages 3 to teen Contact: 902-424-7542

September 23rd - 27th Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers International Conference Ramada Park Place Hotel, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Theme: “Linking Borders” Contact: Veronica Marsman, nsabsw@gmail.com

13 AGM and Gala 09 th

You are cordially invited to the Black Business Initiative’s (BBI’s) 13th Annual General Meeting and Gala on Friday, June 19th, 2009 at Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Luncheon and “Biz Show” Panel Presentation with Biz Show Host, Mr. Robert Upshaw Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Nova Scotia D Room 1919 Upper Water St 12:00pm – 2:00pm Admission in free traceythomas@ns.sympatico.ca

AGM Gala Dinner & Dance

For a $600 corporate table you will receive: x x x x

Signage on the table (company/organization name) Company acknowledgement in the event program Reserved seating at the Gala A complimentary business-card sized ad in the 43rd or 44th issue of the Black to Business magazine traceythomas@ns.sympatico.ca

For more information, please contact:

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Nova Scotia A Room 1919 Upper Water St 6:30pm – 1:00am TICKETS are $50.00 each Corporate Tables are $600 www.ticketatlantic.com/en/home/otherevents/blackbusinessinitiative.aspx

Tracey Thomas, Event Planner 902.477.0723 traceythomas@ns.sympatico.ca Purchase tickets online at: www.ticketatlantic.com/en/home/otherevents/blackbusinessinitiative.aspx For in-person ticket purchases go to any Atlantic Superstore ticket outlet.

Helping Black Business Succeed

For more information about the BBI, please visit www.bbi.ns.ca

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


numéro de convention

0040026687 0040026687

Profile for Metro Guide Publishing

Black to Business – Issue 42 – Spring 2009  

Black to Business – Issue 42 – Spring 2009