Black to Business Special BIJ Anniversary Issue
Youth on the Move
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Black to Business
Table of Contents Youth on the Move
Summer 2010 â€“ Issue 46 Special BIJ Anniversary Issue
Messages of Congratulations
Message from the Board of Directors
Message from the Chief Executive Officer
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.
BIJ Rising Stars
For Advertising Information, Rates, Submitting Stories, Notices or Community Events, or for more Information, call: 902-426-2224
BIJ Where Are They Now?
The Black Business Initiative
Nate The Great
Ask the BBI
Organizations for Youth
Past Youth Coordinators
BIJ Youth Day Camps
BIJ History: The Story
BIJ History: BIJ Historic Leadership
Fundraising Strategies for BIJ
BIJ Youth Summits
BIJ Community Garden
Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Phone: 902-426-2224 Fax: 902-426-8699 Toll Free: 1-888-664-9333 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: www.bbi.ca Published by: The Black Business Initiative Editor in Chief: Rustum Southwell Art Direction: Design North Production by: Mirabliss Media Productions The Black Business Initiative is funded by:
Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687
Special BIJ Anniversary Issue Black to Business
Messages of Congratulations Congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on the tenth anniversary of the Business is Jammin’ Program. Over the years, “Role Models on the Road” has been an important component of the Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Program at Ridgecliff Middle School. We wish you all the best and many more years of providing role models and mentors for students in Nova Scotia schools. Janice Graham-Migel, PhD Guidance Counsellor-Ridgecliff Middle School Halifax Regional School Board
Congratulations BBI on your 10th Anniversary. My daughters have had the privilege to participate in your BIJ programs over the years and have many fond memories of the fun they had while learning. I want to personally say thank you for an organization such as yours investing in Youth to help to create a positive outlook. Mona Yakimchuck Sydney, NS
Congratulations to the Business is Jammin’ team for a decade of helping Black youth in Nova Scotia reach their potential through business and entrepreneurship. Eleanor Beaton, Author and Principle Eleanor Beaton & Company Communications Ltd.
I want to congratulate Business is Jammin’ (BIJ) on celebrating its 10th anniversary. There has been great success with various programs, like Role Models on the Road, Youth Summits, Summer Entrepreneurship programs and working with other community partners supporting community garden projects. These programs, along with many others, are encouraging our youth to stay in school and to see entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. Robert Browning Regional Sales Manager – Atlantic, Bell Aliant
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary BIJ! This program provides both knowledge and resources which allow youth to succeed not only in business but in all aspects of life. Your involvement has definitely enhanced the black community within Nova Scotia. Keisha Jefferies BIJ Youth Coordinator
Congratulations and thanks to BIJ for partnering with ANSEC not only did BIJ provide summer employment for members in our community. BIJ provided young people with the tools necessary to start and maintained their own business. Because of BIJ one such individual started a lawn mowing business at age 11 and at 16 continues to run a very successful operation every summer. In the winter he does snow removal and he states “I love having responsibility and being my own boss, and having financial independence. Karen Green MacIver Executive Director, ANSEC 2 Black to Business Special BIJ Anniversary Issue
Message from the Board of Directors
t’s hard to believe that Business is Jammin’ is celebrating ten years of active participation in the African Nova Scotian community. What started out as one BBI youth program has evolved into a distinct charitable entity. I am very proud of the progress of BIJ. We now have the building blocks in place to ensure that African Nova Scotian youth have a place to grow their ideas and talents. Ten years in, we’re seeing the impact of Business is Jammin’ as more new businesses emerge -some started by young men and women who first had a taste of entrepreneurship through BIJ. Many youth have come to view entrepreneurship as an option that’s open to them. For several years we’ve had a youth component at the annual Black Business Summit, and this year we’ll have a few young and very successful entrepreneurs from the U.S. present to share their stories. We want our youth to believe, “I could do that right here.” BIJ continues to explore ways to provide the best possible services for our youth. This year we will again offer summer programs throughout the province. Two years ago we assisted with the Community Garden Project in Halifax and this year we are helping other communities around the
province to start their own gardens. It’s a project with a huge impact on the youth in a community: not only do they learn about healthy eating, they take ownership of something in their community and begin to see the business opportunities as well. None of this would be possible without the ability to raise money. We have been successful in the past securing funding from government, but our strategy is to sustain ourselves by growing the BIJ charity and through donations from corporations and private contributors. To date we have had several corporations come on board, including the Royal Bank and Enterprise Car Rental. Last year BIJ held its first major fundraising activity, a golf tournament held at Grandview Golf and Country Club. The event was a success and we plan to continue holding this event annually. This year it will be held again at Grandview Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, June 23 to kick off the BBI Business Summit.
BIJ Board Chair
What I see is endless possibility: there is no limit to the potential of what we can do together. Our ultimate goal is to reach out to every
Business is Jammin’ has grown considerably over ten years, but there’s room for so much more growth as more sponsors and communities lend their support. What I see is endless possibility: there is no limit to the potential of what we can do together. Our ultimate goal is to reach out to every African Nova Scotian youth and help them grasp that the sky is truly the limit.
African Nova Scotian youth and help them grasp that the sky is truly the limit.
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he Black Business Initiative was only two years in existence when the training committee of the BBI Board suddenly charged the staff with a new priority. “In order to make a significant change and impact for the Black Business Culture in Nova Scotia we have to pay more attention to our youth.” And if you know Dr. Rudolf Ffrench and Minister Percy Paris you know that was an order to act. On reflection 10 years later it is clear we did not expect it to go in this direction this quickly. Despite all appearances it was a challenging road not without some disappointment along the way. The authors of the original plan, Mike Wyse and Tracey Thomas believed that their job was over when the strategy was written and completed. However, the original BBI Taskforce report did not include a budget for a strong youth strategy and the BBI Board wanted us to find resources to fund the program. Yes, we were turned down by many agencies of the public sector and some private sector companies as well. However, we persevered because this was too important not to accomplish. And so in 1999, the BIJ was launched at 2101 Gottingen Street with funding support from Community Business Development Corporation (via ACOA), Service Canada and the BBI. Over the years the business model and programming has kept pace with the economic and technological ups and downs. We have created partnerships with schools, youth and community organizations for the modification and expansion of our services and programs. And we have made some inroads into the corporate sector with partners such as, Bell Aliant, Enterprise, Encana, Downeast Mobility and RBC.
RBC has been much more than our banker they are one of our closest partners. It is also not widely known that it was senior management of RBC who realized that the “Business is Jammin’” (BIJ) is an important strategy and encouraged us to become a charity. As a result in 2006 the BIJ charity society was formed and this year they sponsored us to be part of the 2010 winter Olympic Relay, thank you RBC. There is an untold story here of the resilience of our youth and their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. If you have the chance to see the bright eyes of the young ones who attend the business camps, community garden or participate at the BBI summit, you cannot help but to see the twinkle in their eyes and understand the hope, confidence and business culture being developed. Even the summer youth coordinators themselves and BIJ staff team are so engaging that participation rate of about 500 youth attending camps and events in 2009, will be surpassed easily this year. The youth coordinators themselves, mostly university and college students are delivering on the underlying objective of bringing out the abilities to be more engaged in, business math and sciences. The BIJ Charity is still the collaboration of many people, Board, staff and community even the way the name was selected is an engaging story. Staff had recommended a name to the Board for this new youth program, when Lynn Crawford, a Board member at the time, said that is not “hip” enough and she came up with the name. That was over ten years ago and we are still Jammin’ because Business is Jammin’
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Message from the Chief Executive Officer
S.I. Rustum Southwell, Chief Executive Officer, Black Business Initiative
“In order to make a significant change and impact for the Black Business Culture in Nova Scotia we have to pay more attention to our youth.”
RISING STARS Shalyn Williams
Carol Dobson and Shauntay Grant
This year is one of great contrasts for Dartmouth’s Shalyn Williams. She started the year having recently concluded her electrical engineering studies at Dalhousie – her formal graduation comes in June. She had a job lined up with Lockheed Martin working on the refit of the Canadian Navy’s Patrol Frigates and decided to spend some time travelling. So, on January 1, she left Nova Scotia.
Shalyn Williams in Oofakor, Ghana
Her destination – the community of Oofakor, Ghana, located about an hour from the capital of Accra. She was there for three months. There was no running water and the availability of electricity was sporadic but the warmth of the people made it a memorable experience.
“I wanted to go to Africa (versus other beautiful, warm places), because being a Loyalist descendant, I wanted to see if I looked like the people there,” Williams says, “And although Africa is a vast continent with many different nations, I found it easy to see that this is where we came from, with similarities too obvious to ignore. On top of this, I knew I’d be missing out if I stayed on a resort, which is why I decided to volunteer, to see, learn and give more. “I paid for my plane ticket and fund-raised in the community to pay the fee to volunteer. They also supported me here at Lockheed Martin. I’d worked for them on work terms and they held a spot for me for when I came back.” Williams found an opportunity to do volunteer work at an orphanage in Ookafor and combined teaching math and English to eight- to 12-year-olds with travelling around the countryside. One of the greatest rewards was being able to spend time cuddling the babies in the orphanage. “They needed some extra love and it was amazing to see how they reacted to you.” “I don’t have kids myself but I had a big stack of kids’ books that I took with me to give to the kids. They were so happy to get them and I was happy to help them learn to read. If I was able to assist even one child to read then I accomplished something. I left the books with the children and they were so glad to have them.” Now she’s back in Canada working on a major defence contract. “I’m working on requirements documentation right now. It’s slow work and I’m more of a hardwarebased person and I can’t wait to get my hands on that kind of work. It’s coming!”
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As for the $56 he made last summer – that was spent on a brand new video game! He’s only 12 years old, but already Noah Levering is pretty sure his future lies in creating fine art. The Truro area budding artist attended a Business is Jammin’ camp late last summer. He obtained a micro-loan and used the financing and the skills he learned during the camp to make the princely sum of $56 selling the artwork he created. Noah Levering at the drawing table
“I’ve been drawing my whole life,” the owner of Noodlehead Creations says. “I mostly like to draw superheroes.” Currently his preferred media to create his drawings are coloured pencils and markers – he finds pastels too messy and that more sticks to his hand than the paper. He’s also proficient in using LEGO™ to create animations. He says he wishes he had thought of attending the camp a little earlier, so he could have had a few more sales. As it was, he attended the camp at the end of the summer, just before the beginning of the school year. However he did discover the old maxim – location, location, location – rang true. His ‘Business for a Day’ was set up near the Acadian Lines bus station in Truro and he believes that led to some sales. “I set up near Power Point and Sam’s Pizza. Most of my friends’ parents bought pictures from me and I sold pictures when the busses came in,” he says. “They would give me $5 or $10 bills for my pictures. My mom told me I should have thought of it earlier – I would have made more money.”
“I set up near Power Point and Sam’s Pizza. Most of my friends’ parents bought pictures from me and I sold pictures when the busses came in,” he says. “They would give me $5 or $10 bills for my pictures. My mom told me I should have thought of it earlier – I would
He has already decided that art will be a part of his life as he grows up, saying he wants to make his living as a full-time artist, doing what he loves to do.
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have made more money.”
Cory Katz, Cape Breton
What started with playing around with his father’s camera has led to a successful career and the beginnings of an entrepreneurial career for Cape Breton’s Corey Katz. His work has been exhibited at Pierscape in Sydney and Cape Breton University’s Gallery 2, and the provincial Art Bank has just purchased three of his photographs – one of Louisbourg, one of South Bar (just outside of Sydney), and an old motel in Calgary, Alberta – a prestigious honour for someone in their early twenties.
“I’m of mixed race and I moved to Cape Breton from Toronto when I was 12. I got into photography about four years ago,” he says. “I also helped build up a youth group, the Coastal Arts Initiative, in New Waterford and we’ve been able to exhibit about 500 pieces of art by 50 young artists at the Carmel Centre in New Waterford, Pierscape, and at CBU.” The Initiative’s mission is to help highlight the works of young emerging artists in New Waterford and surrounding areas. Work by this group can be seen online at www.coastalarts.ca. “I really like fine arts photography,” he says. “But I also do weddings, portraits and corporate photography.” He originally started taking pictures with his father’s film camera but now shoots using a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and has his eye on a professional Nikon as part of his future plans. So far, he’s been largely self-taught, working with local professional photographers to learn his craft. It’s been paying off – he’s been accepted as a professional craft producer at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. “I have three photos on display in their gallery right now,” he says. “I’ve had work in 11 or 12 exhibitions across Cape Breton in the past two years.” (His photography, in both black and white and colour, is available for viewing at his website www.coreykatzphotography.com.)
“I’m of mixed race and I moved to Cape Breton from Toronto when I was 12. I got into photography about four years ago,” he says. “I also helped build up a youth group, the Coastal Arts Initiative, in New Waterford and we’ve been able to exhibit about 500 pieces of art by 50 young artists at the Carmel Centre in New Waterford, Pierscape, and at CBU.”
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At just 22 years old, St. Mary’s University Bachelor of Commerce graduate Ross Simmonds has made a lasting impression in the corporate world.
After graduation, Simmonds took up a six-week internship with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). His task: to develop a digital marketing plan for three Atlantic provinces.
Ross Simmonds, www.reachdontpreach.com
“They didn’t really have a presence on social networking sites,” remembers Simmonds of his first days on the job. “So I was able to train reporters, journalists, executives, [and] the marketing team in general [to] show them how to connect with their fan base on social networking sites.”
When his internship was finished Simmonds accepted a full-time, five-month contract with CBC to implement his networking strategy. He worked with CBC offices in Halifax, Moncton and Charlottetown to increase their online presence through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. “I helped them connect with more than 6,000 fans all across the Atlantic region,” says Simmonds. “And it’s still growing.” Even still, Simmonds’ professional aspirations were outside of the corporate world. He credits his family with inspiring his passion for entrepreneurship. “I grew up around entrepreneurs,” says the East Preston native. “My grandfather ran his own paving company, my uncles ran a paving company... I even started up a small little business when I was young selling do-rags out of my [school] locker.” And it’s that person-to-person relationship that Simmonds wants to help small- to medium-sized businesses develop with Altego Marketing Solutions, a company he started in 2009 with fellow SMU grad Dave Jerrett. “We’re looking to help the mom and pop shops who don’t really understand digital marketing, and just show them how to use it to increase their profits. “It’s going back to the days when you would go to the barber shop because you had a relationship with the barber, rather than because the barber put up a billboard [to advertise his services],” says Simmonds. “It’s about building a relationship with your consumer [that] lasts over time.”
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Isaac Adams “Dents and scrapes on the exterior… out of tune… the stool is kind of unstable…” Eighteen-year-old pianist Isaac Adams laughs gently when describing his instrument. “My first piano teacher gave it to me because she was buying a new piano,” says Adams. “At the time she said it wasn’t in good condition. [But] I’m still playing on it today, and it’s kind of amazing that it’s managed to get me through.” An emerging concert pianist, Adams is starting on the road to earning his Bachelor of Music degree. He’ll begin studies at Mount Allison University in the fall.
“At university they have top of the line pianos,” gushes Adams. “So I’m excited for that.” Adams started teaching himself piano at age 11. He later began formal training through the Royal Conservatory of Music program. Six months into his piano lessons, Adams knew he wanted to pursue piano as a career.
Isaac Adams at his piano
”At that age it’s hard for others to take you seriously,” says Adams. “But [the desire to study piano] never really left me. Which surprised me – I thought I was going to get bored with it!” With so many interests, “bored” is not a word you’d easily associate with Adams. As a writer he has contributed stories to Teens Now Talk magazine. He was also a finalist in the 2009 Canada Wide Science Fair. “I have a lot of interests, but [piano] always made its way to the top of my interests,” he says. Adams credits his supportive family in encouraging him to achieve his career goals of being a performer, composer and educator. “It’s a reoccurring statement that [being a musician] is a difficult career,” says Adams. “I’ve seen some really high-profile kids [whose] parents actually won’t let them go into music due to the fact that they don’t want them to struggle and they want them to make lots of money. But for me, it’s a passion. “I wouldn’t say I know for sure it’s going to work out for me,” adds Adams. “[But] I’ve never just given up on anything without a fight.”
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hese two young men were featured as ‘Youths on the Move’ in an issue of Black to Business several years ago. For this special anniversary issue, we thought we would check in with them to see what they were up to now.
The cousins decided to start A & J Lawn Boyz, offering services such as lawn mowing and yard maintenance to the residents of Sydney.
Need help with lawn maintenance in Sydney this summer? Andrew Green has got you covered. Not a summer goes by without his lawn maintenance services. Andrew Green was just 12 years old when he first started out his lawn care business. Five years later, his business is still going strong. Green originally got into lawn care with his cousin, Jordan. “We wanted to make some extra money and we had the extra lawn equipment,” says Green, now a high school student in Sydney.
While Jordan has since pursued other endeavours, Green wanted to continue in the lawn care business. With a new name – Andrew Green Lawn Mowing Services – Green hopes to serve even more residents all over Sydney. As for his favourite part of the job, Green enjoys the independence and flexibility.
But even with running his own business, the 16-year-old doesn’t find it difficult to balance school and work. And now that he’s of age, Green hopes to get his driver’s licence soon and maybe expand his services to include snow removal. After high school, he wants to keep the business going. Not only does Green plan on going to university to get a business degree, but he also wants to pick up a trade in heavy duty machinery. It’s no wonder Green has a knack for business – it runs in the family. Green’s father also runs his own business in Sydney. “My father is like my role model. He’s always there for me,” says Green.
“I like being my own boss. I know what I like to do and what I want to do,” he says. “I can run it the way
“I like being my own boss. I know what I like to do and what I want to do,” he says. “I can run it the way I want to run it.”
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I want to run it.”
Marven Nelligen “I’m just honing my skills and I’m at that point where I want to start pushing it and promoting
But he somehow always knew his life would be like this. “It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do since I was really young. I kind of always figured I would be doing this for a living,” he says. Back in 2005, Nelligan started up his first business, Marven Art and Design, with the help of BBI’s Business in Jammin’ program. Through his very first business, Nelligan provided a variety of services: graphic design, drawings, paintings, air brushings, and much more. “Marven Art and Design was a combination of all these skills and mediums. Basically, whatever people needed to get done, I was able to do it,” he says. More recently, Nelligan has been focusing on his air brushing skills.
“I would like to try my own stories or be involved in some aspect of it. I’m not sure right now, but I’m definitely keeping that open,” he says.
Whether he’s designing websites for different companies or beautifying our city with splashes of his murals, Nelligan helps people express themselves.
that part of myself,” he says.
“That’s kind of the main point for any designer or artist. It’s our job to bring out that creativity,” he says.
Between painting murals, drawing portraits, dabbling in computer graphics, and running youth workshops, local artist Marven Nelligan doesn’t have much free time.
While Nelligan might be focusing on his air brushing skills right now, he still hasn’t forgotten about his childhood dream of being involved with animation.
Nelligan also just completed running a seven-week mural painting program at an elementary school in Dartmouth. His next stop is an animation workshop at a youth centre in Halifax. Although the self-taught artist admits things can get a bit hectic at times, he says he enjoys the challenge. “My favourite part is the learning and problem solving of the different challenges that come my way,” Nelligan says. “Every challenge that came my way or any job that somebody wanted done, I was able to get it done basically by learning how to do it on my own. No matter what it was, if there was a job to be done, I’d get it done.” Nelligan’s love for learning is clearly evident -- he hopes to enrol in NSCAD for Graphic Design in the near future.
To other young entrepreneurs, Nelligan offers this bit of advice: “Stick with whatever it is you enjoy doing most and learn about how to make it profitable because that’s what’s going to give you the most enjoyable success.” You can check out Nelligan’s work at: http://www.marvenart.com
“Every challenge that came my way or any job that somebody wanted done, I was able to get it done basically by learning how to do it on my own...”
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Nate the Great, or James Nate Dixon, has been dancing for the Rainmen for three seasons now. “First, I start off by getting people to clap and then I start dancing,” says the 10-year-old. And his energy is infectious. Within seconds of hitting the floor, the crowd begins cheering and applauding. “It’s pretty cool. Everyone notices when I get on the dance floor.” This season, Nate usually dances between the third and fourth quarters of the game. Nate still remembers the first time he ever danced for the Rainmen. Nate and his mother Dorothy were leaving a hockey game one night, when they noticed a sign that said the Rainmen were coming to the Metro Centre the next day. Luckily, they got the last two floor seats for the game. It was then when Nate began to dance for the Rainmen. “Every time the music came on, I danced,” says the Grade 4 student. “Andre and the usual dancer saw me and wanted me to dance near the end of the game, so I did. And I’ve been there ever since.”
Starting at the age of four, Nate found dance to be a great way of expressing himself.
“I want to keep dancing until I’m elderly,” he says, with a laugh.
“I started out dancing by listening to hip hop music,” he says. Nate also says he gets inspiration from break dancing movies. “My mom always wanted me to dance,” he says. When he was seven, Nate competed in his first dance competition at DanceOff. He went on to win first place, two years in a row for the 4 to 12 age group. Nate also has a little sister who has started to follow in his footsteps. “I’m a role model for my little sister,” he says. Nate says she takes ballet and has also competed in local dance competitions. “She also does it for fun,” he says. To prepare for a game, Nate says he usually practices for one or two days and gets a routine down. And his dance moves are all self-taught. “My favourite part is just the fun of it. I have fun making up my own routines,” he says. While he has mastered the art of break dancing, Nate says he would like learn different types of dance in the future. Nate is constantly on the move. When he’s not busting a move on the dance floor, he’s usually playing tennis, basketball or soccer. But he says he will always have the time to dance.
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f you’ve been to a Rainmen basketball game, you might recognize this talented, young Haligonian. And you’ll also know that he might look small, but he’s got a lot of energy, especially on the dance floor.
What are social enterprises?
Featured Expert: James Williams, Management Intern
A social enterprise is defined as a business venture operated by a non-profit organization, regardless of whether the organization is a society, charity or cooperative. These businesses sell various goods or provide a variety of services in the marketplace for the purpose of creating a blended return on investment, both financial and social. The profits that arise from the social enterprise are then returned to the business or to a social purpose, rather than maximizing profits for shareholders. There are many different definitions of a social enterprise and others choose to use a broader definition that includes privately owned business ventures that have an even stronger blended financial and socially responsible return on investment. For non-profits and charities, operating an enterprise is nothing new to them. Museums and art galleries have operated gift shops as a way to generate revenue to support their exhibits and promote art.
There are a number of other types of organizations that function according to the same ideologies, all with the same focus in mind, to generate income to support their cause. Service organizations such as the YMCA and YWCA have used fee-based programs to support their charitable activities, and many non-profit, social service, or relief agencies have operated thrift stores as a means of generating revenue for their activities, to enhance programs and services, or to provide low-cost goods to their clients. There are many reasons why nonprofits consider starting a social enterprise. These reasons range from purely financial to purely missionbased. More often than not, they are some type of combination of the two. There are three primary reasons to develop and operate a social enterprise: to fill a need that the market will never be able to fill on its own; to provide an opportunity to advance a mission, particularly in areas of cultural and environmental activities; or to enhance the organizationâ€™s financial sustainability through the generation of profits that are used for a social purpose. Often, a social enterprise will have components of all three of these reasons but will identify one core purpose. A social enterprise has the ability to create a variety of products ranging from planter boxes to patio furniture to packing cartons. In terms of services, a social enterprise can deliver anything from consulting services to recycling, building management, courier and voice mailbox services, to
lawn maintenance and cafes. From a fiscal perspective a social enterprise can generate anywhere from 5 to 100 percent of a programâ€™s or organizationâ€™s costs. Finally, from an outcomes perspective a social enterprise can provide preemployment services for youth, supply food or dental services for lowincome children, improve watershed management and increase fish stocks, or support the employment of mental health consumers or people with developmental disabilities.
These are just some of the methods and focus of energy that is derived from social enterprises, far and wide. There are many benefits to a social enterprise, so take the time to learn about them and find out how they can help you and your community in the short and long term. There are many reasons why nonprofits consider starting a social enterprise. These reasons range from purely financial to purely mission-based. More often than not, they are some type of combination of the two.
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hether you’re dreaming about starting a business, looking to add skills and experience to your résumé or simply hoping to network and connect with other like-minded young people, there are plenty of organizations out there providing support and opportunities for youth. The Black Business Initiative (BBI) has partnered with some of these organizations and recognizes their desire to empower youth for the future.
Ever dreamed of owning a business? If you’re a high-school student, Junior Achievement gives you a chance to test-drive the entire process. In Junior Achievement’s Company Program, students come together to form a business from scratch. Over the 18-week program, they choose a name and a product to sell, appoint a board of directors, issue shares, create a business and marketing plan—the whole nine yards. “You can’t get more hands-on than this,” says Jana Brown, Junior Achievement’s program manager for Halifax Regional Municipality. In each program, four volunteer advisors — usually entrepreneurs themselves — help students walk through the steps of starting up, tracking financial information, and dissolving the company at the end of the program.
Offered at high schools around the province, the program is free, and can even be profitable. “If you make a profit, you get to keep it,” Brown says, “though students sometimes choose to donate part of it back to the community.” The program concludes with an awards night, where trophies are handed out for honours such as Company of the Year. Students can also win scholarships toward the next step in their education. Even if you don’t plan to run a business, Junior Achievement is still a great opportunity, says Brown. “We’re not necessarily trying to change the path you’re on,” Brown says. “We had one student who wanted to go into pharmacy, and now she wants to own her own pharmacy. You can put entrepreneurship into almost any equation.”
For more on Junior Achievement, visit www.janovascotia.org 14 Black to Business Special BIJ Anniversary Issue
Fusion Halifax – Lots of people look at Halifax and think it could be a better place, especially for the young. Fusion Halifax wants to make change happen, and they’re looking for action-oriented people who feel the same way. Fusion was started by a group of young professionals, “out of the recognition that there was no organization in the city for young workers, (run) by young workers,” says vice-chairman Level Chan. The group launched in October 2007, gathering 300 people and asking them to answer one question on a “dream wall” – what does your Halifax look like? But while there have been plenty of studies and reports on how to improve the city, Fusion Halifax wants to move past the talking stage. They don’t have committees; they have “action teams,” with a focus in six areas: sustainability, the “people factor” (employment), urban development, arts and culture, immigration and diversity, and health and wellness. “Our vision is to think and act differently to make Halifax the most vibrant city in Canada,” Chan says. “Our focus is on the 20 to 40 demographic.” This summer, Fusion Halifax plans to launch an online volunteer listing, aimed at pairing its members and other interested people with volunteer opportunities around the city. The more people are active and engaged, Chan says, the more change will happen. “We’re hoping to encourage people to go out and get involved,” he says. “What we’ve tried to do is focus on action and contributing to the community.”
For more on Fusion Halifax, visit www.fusionhalifax.ca
Community YMCA – Mention the YMCA and the first thing people might think is “sports,” but there’s a whole lot more going on at the Community Y on Gottingen Street. From female mentorship to life lessons to cooking classes, the YMCA offers a range of programs to help youth develop new skills and leadership qualities that will serve them in the classroom, the boardroom and beyond. In the Healthy Kids program, which runs five days a week for youth aged 13 and up, students learn everything from proper eating habits to how to be a leader. And there’s plenty of adventure along the way. “Sometimes we get them out whitewater rafting, or up to Palooka’s Gym,” says Terry Dixon, the YMCA’s program director.
Kids in the Kitchen teaches how to prepare meals, while the summer day camp program has a junior leadership component where students aged 13 and up can train to become counsellors. “It’s a good program because we get to watch them grow, teach them how to handle certain situations,” Dixon says. “We’ve found some kids who are really keen and have the skills to be really good youth counsellors.” The YMCA started a female mentorship program for the first time this year, pairing teen and pre-teen girls with mentors who help them deal with everyday stresses and situations. The first session is just wrapping up and Dixon says it’s been a big hit. He hopes to offer it again and add a session for young men in the future.
Learn more about YMCA programs at www.communityymca.ca
Y2E Project – When the Greater Halifax Partnership surveyed 1,900 businesses and more than half said one of their biggest challenges is finding qualified employees, the GHP set out to do something about it. Launched in October 2008, the Y2E Project is designed to connect employers with “priority youth” – young people who face barriers in their search for employment. The project began with extensive consultations with communities and organizations who work with youth, including the BBI. “We sat down with people and asked, What are your challenges?” says Krista Hall, the communications coordinator for the Y2E Project. “The whole thing is community-based. We were the listeners and just went back and set it on paper.”
Out of that came the Y2E Framework. One of the key pieces will be an online database where youth, businesses and community organizations can all connect. There will also be support, training and follow-up available for youth. “This isn’t just about getting jobs,” Hall says. “It’s about taking youth and employers from Point A to the point where it’s a successful match.” The project is currently in a holding pattern as organizers line up funding and support, but Hall is confident it will launch soon. “We have gotten a lot of promises and a lot of support for the project,” she says. “People are really psyched. We’ve built something that people can get behind. We really feel [Y2E] has a lot of promise because it came from the community.”
Find out more about the Y2E Project at www.greaterhalifax.com. continued > Special BIJ Anniversary Issue Black to Business 15
Organizations for Youth
continued from page 15
Past BIJ Youth Coordinators CEED – If you’ve ever taken part in Business is Jammin’, chances are you’ve already felt the influence of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development (CEED). The people at CEED have worked with the BBI on everything from planning Break into Business Camps to helping young entrepreneurs secure loans. They also offer two youth programs of their own. The Second Chance program helps youth who’ve been in conflict with the law gain skills and opportunities to turn things around, whether through entrepreneurship or going on to community college or university. And the Youth Employability Program works with the provincial Department of Community Services to equip “at-risk” youth between 15 and 21 with the abilities they need to be successful.
“The goal is helping youth find employment and connect to education programs,” says YEP manager Denise Young. “We even have funds to help with clothes for an interview, or work boots for a job site, all those sorts of things. Anything that helps them move closer to self-sufficiency.”
Tyrone Williams • 1998-1999
Program workers, called Navigators, work with as many as 200 youth per year in a one-on-one setting. The YEP also helps put on community workshops covering things such as leadership skills, teamwork and personal development. “We’re always open to working with other groups,” Young says. “The more we work together, the better it is for everyone involved.”
Stanleigh Mitchell • 1999-2002
More info about CEED’s programs is available online at www.ceed.ca, or contact the office at 421-2333.
Terry Wright • 2002-2004
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 website at www.encana.com/deeppanuke/business
For information on employment opportunities at Deep Panuke, visit the Careers section on Encana’s website at www.encana.com or the Career Beacon website at www.careerbeacon.com
Jill Provoe • 2004- 2006
Melanie Clarke • 2006
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Youth Day Camps
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BIJ History: The Story
ith the signs of spring all around us, it’s easy to compare the Business is Jammin’ program to a garden. It’s designed to plant seeds in the minds of young Nova Scotians – the seeds of entrepreneurship and much, much more. “BIJ started out of the original strategy for the Black Business Initiative,” Rustum Southwell, the chief executive officer of the BBI, says. “It was a way to jumpstart the business culture. If you started as young as possible, with young persons aged 6, 9, 12, in 10 years they’d be in their twenties and they would already have experiences with business strategies. “Our training committee of the board at the time – Dr. Rudolph Ffrench, Percy Paris, and Mike Wyse – asked how can we engage black youth on a very limited budget?” At the beginning, he says the board looked at programs that were offered by various organizations in the province to assist entrepreneurial youth, such as Junior Achievement, the Seed Capital program, and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development (CEED), and used appropriate elements as building blocks for BIJ. Then it made arrangements with organizations like Service Canada, the Community Business Development Corporations and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to put the micro-financing piece in place. Today, the program is set up so that it can reach young people in three age groups – 8 to 15, 16 to 20, and 21 to 30. “Mike Wyse and Tracey Thomas designed the program and got it set up,” he says. “Tyrone Williams was our first coordinator.” Through the years the feeling of “Yes I can” that comes when young participants go through the process of setting up their own small company, obtain financing, sell their product, pay back the loan, and use the profit to purchase something they have their eye on, has been a staple of the program. But, it’s also led to youth deciding to stay in school to further their education and to the creation of jobs, in fields such as lawn care and snow removal to help finance that education. Southwell says that other aspects of the program, such as opportunities to meet business leaders in lunch and learn sessions or at the youth component of the Summit, are also ways to inspire youth and help them build confidence. Last year, the BIJ summer coordinators organized about 36 camps, workshops, presentations, and events across the province for approximately 500 young Nova Scotians, planting seeds that will grow as BIJ enter its second decade. Beyond teaching business skills to youth, a valuable exercise in community development has been taking place in Halifax’s north end as a group of youth got involved in the neighbourhood community garden, grew produce for sale, added value by creating salad dressings, and sold their products in the neighbourhood and at the farmers’ market. It was such a success last year that the youth will be back this year, successfully harvesting the seeds of entrepreneurship sown by BIJ.
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BIJ History: BIJ Historic Leadership Carol Dobson
Tracey Thomas One thing that sticks in Tracey Thomas’ mind when she thinks about the Business is Jammin’ program is the “aha!” moment the participants often have. “What they love is money,” she says. “So, when they realize that they can borrow money to buy the ingredients to make cookies, sell the cookies to pay back what they borrowed and keep the rest, they are happy!” One of the strengths of the program is that it introduces the idea of having your own business at a young age and does so in a fun and interactive way. Thomas was one of the initial developers of the BIJ program and for seven years, part of her responsibilities included supervising the BIJ coordinators. When it comes to participants, she remembers two sisters from the Weymouth area, who set up a very successful lemonade stand during a homecoming weekend. “They made enough to purchase a trampoline,” she says. “But it was more than that. They were able to realize the opportunities that were available, so the next time there was a community event, they looked at other products, like candy kabobs, that they could make and sell.” It’s stories like that, that show how kids can quickly grasp the spirit of entrepreneurship and run with it, that keep coming back with each year BIJ is in operation.
In Mike Wyse’s opinion, Business is Jammin’ is much more than just entrepreneurial training – the skills participants learn are skills that will be with them for life. In fact, he draws parallels with sports training in terms of the life skills they develop.
Two young participants in the Business is Jammin’ program stand out in Jill Provoe’s mind from her days as a training officer with the BBI five years ago. Two sisters, KaSteva and Kyiasha Benton, took the information they learned in a BIJ camp to organize a fundraising spaghetti dinner.
“In basketball, you know that not every player is going to end up in the NBA,” he says. “But playing it builds skills in motivation, in setting goals, and in how to get to the next level. “ Continuing the sports analogy, he likens successful local entrepreneurs like Michael Duck, Larry Gibson and Hector Jacques as the entrepreneurial equivalents of sports heroes for young Nova Scotians. “Just as you can’t expect to be in the NBA after your first day, Business is Jammin’ also teaches you that you can’t be a Mike Duck in a day, but you have the tools you need to start the journey at a young age. “One of the biggest realizations is the sense of independence the participants develop – they learn that they have the ability to produce goods or services that will lead to earning their own money, to creating their own summer job, and potentially down the road, a business that’s an important economic generator in the community. It’s much more than making enough from selling lemonade so that you don’t have to ask Mom or Dad for cash when you want something – you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it all by yourself.”
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She was impressed that they used their skills towards a good cause, not solely for their own purposes. That’s just one of the benefits she sees of the program. “I like the focus on youth and the way it pushes an entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “It gets people thinking about entrepreneurial opportunities at a young age. Here in Nova Scotia we’ve not done a good job talking about entrepreneurship through the years, but with the BIJ program, you’ve got kids in Grades 6-7-8, if not younger, selling things as part of the Business for a Day program. It’s quite enlightening for them and they realize that it’s not as easy as they think, but they also learn that they don’t have to wait until after they’ve finished college or university to start their own businesses.” Provoe thinks that sparking the entrepreneurial spirit bodes well for the future of the business community. “I still see the Bentons and they are always saying that they’re always looking for business opportunities,” she says. “Those skills have been instilled for life... and that’s powerful.”
Fundraising Strategies for BIJ
ARE YOU JAMMIN’?
hen delivering a comprehensive enterprise and entrepreneurship learning strategy that teaches business skills offering long-term benefits to young people there are many aspects to consider. But the biggest issue constantly in the forefront is funding: How does an organization continue to deliver effective, quality programs to develop our Black youth? How does Business Is Jammin’ (BIJ) remain a place, “where innovative ideas meet potential for successful Black Youth development?” Since its inception in 1999 the BIJ has strived to develop and institutionalize many programs and outreach activities. These activities have been largely supported by the Black Business Initiative (BBI) and, more recently, by a few corporate sponsors. Over the years BIJ has reached almost 3,000 youth and this steady growth in programs and outreach has demanded the need for parallel increases in financial contributions from donors. In 2005, BIJ gained charitable status and can now seek charitable donations to go towards the development and implementation of its programs. The Board is now resolved to include fundraising and resource mobilization as a core program. It has also recognized that BIJ cannot solely depend upon the BBI indefinitely, and that its sustainability depends upon its ability to raise the required resources. A fundraising strategy is of absolute necessity, and fundraising is not a oneperson endeavor but a team effort. Over the next year the BIJ Board and Staff will be working diligently to implement a plan with the objective to increase BIJ’s funding base for long-term capacity building and programming. This
activity is central to BIJ’s ability to become self-sustaining in the long term. The plan is designed to provide a framework that will guide management of fundraising activity, growth and development. BIJ will commence its fundraising operations through a three-year plan setting out the priority areas of fundraising. It is the intent to set up a systematic growth plan, which will provide stage-by-stage management of the structures and resources that should accommodate each growth phase. The first You Jammin’ Annual BIJ Charity Golf Tournament was very successful and brought 100 golfers together from the business world and the general community in support of BIJ and its programs. Also, on a grass roots level, BIJ has held a few smaller fundraising events, such as raffles and movie premiere nights, also with much success and the notion that every little bit helps. BIJ is looking for support to come from all avenues – corporate and private. Supporting BIJ with donations and sponsorships is giving back to your community and certainly makes a strong case for corporate social responsibility.
Your support for Business is Jammin’ ensures that: •
BIJ provides a framework upon which the youth of our community can start to build their future in the field of business.
BIJ offers a bridge of understanding between the mainstream business community and the needs and aspirations of African Nova Scotian Youth.
BIJ is driven by a holistic approach to facilitating capacity building in the area of entrepreneurship and business among African Nova Scotian Youth.
BIJ is led and managed by African Nova Scotians with an advantage of hands-on knowledge of the targeted community needs.
• BIJ will continue to build on its track record for well-run and innovative programs. •
BIJ is one of the few, wellestablished and professionally run organizations in its area of operation.
For more information on how you can donate contact Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver at 426-8685 or by email Gormantolliver.email@example.com. To donate online, visit www.canadahelps.org
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Business Is Jamminâ€™ is about to roll out its Summer Program across Nova Scotia. Keep an eye open for the BIJ activities coming soon to an area near you! Join us for fun & exciting entrepreneurship activities including our popular Break Into Business Camps
All FREE of charge Locations: Halifax Dartmouth Kentville Yarmouth Truro Glace Bay For more information about the Youth Coordinator for your area contact : Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver at 426-8685.
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Youth on the Move
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If undeliverable return to: The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7
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