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Glynis Simms

Just Right Child Care

Also in this Issue:  BBI 2010/11 AGM  Culturally Based Businesses

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

Black 2 Business is the official periodical of The Black Business Initiative and is published quarterly - spring, summer, fall, and winter.


Its goal is to support the BBI as it fosters a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia Business Community. For Advertising Information, Rates, Submitting Story Ideas, Notices or Community Events, and for more Information, call: 902-426-2224

COVER STORY Glynis Simms Just Right Child Care

Published by: The Black Business Initiative Editor in Chief: Rustum Southwell Design & Layout: Design North Production by: Mirabliss Media Productions


2 Message

from the CEO

Cover Photograph: Shakara Russell / BBI

5 Deep Down Cleaning Services Ltd. Kenny Ruck

The Black Business Initiative 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: bbi@bbi.ns.ca Web Site: www.bbi.ca

1 Message from the Board

7 Cook Fabrications


Limited Dennis Cook

9 TAKE 5

Harvey Millar


Culturally Themed Businesses

Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687

C O NTENTS 20 BIJ Report

Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver

26 Central Report

Shakara Russell

28 Business Development Report Gordon Doe

30 Northern Report Njabulo Nkala

15 BBI 2011 Annual


General Meeting

19 The Law

and Your Business

21 Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design Sharon Parker

23 People & Business on the Move


27 OUT & ABOUT with the BBI

29 Geek Speak

Ross Simmonds

31 Community & Business Events

The Black Business Initiative (BBI) is a Province-wide business development initiative committed to fostering the growth of businesses owned by members of the Nova Scotia Black Community. The BBI places priority on educating Black business owners in the operation of their business - from marketing to budgeting to securing funding. The BBI is committed to growing the Black presence in a diverse range of business sectors including high-tech, manufacturing, tourism, and the cultural sector. In 1996, the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia set up the BBI to address the unique needs confronting the Black business community in Nova Scotia. For the first five years of its existence, BBI was funded under the COOPERATION Agreement for Economic Diversification, a joint agreement between the Federal and Provincial Governments. The BBI is currently funded by the federally administered Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Provincial Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. BBI Vision A dynamic and vibrant black presence within the Nova Scotia business community. BBI Mission To positively influence the Nova Scotia business culture by promoting and assisting in the development of Nova Scotia 2 Black-owned businesses....

Message from the Board of Directors


Peter Marsman

s the summer progressed and we were enjoying the great weather in July, we could not help keeping an eye on the uncertainty brought about by the inability of the U.S. government to come to a conclusion on the debt ceiling issue.

Greg Browning Chair, Black Business Initiative

It was interesting, from a Canadian perspective, to be watching from the sidelines. The crisis has been created by different approaches on how to deal with the deficit. The two sides – Republican and Democrat – showed an inability to work together. As a result, the implications of this inability to compromise and cooperate are creating a great deal of uncertainty throughout the world. It shows what can happen when an organization does not work together. It can create havoc, cause additional costs, and often will have implications for your neighbour(s) as well as for the organization itself. The same thing often occurs with organizations and businesses where they have a common goal but different opinions on how to tackle issues to achieve that goal. These differences are a strength because having a variety of perspectives usually will lead to better solutions for most challenges an organization will face. Difficulties come when the individual parts do not keep the common goal in the forefront and instead the common goal is not met, so all parts will suffer as a result. At the Black Business Initiative (BBI), we believe in working together as demonstrated by our strong relationships with our funding

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partners and by maintaining open two-way communications with their representatives. Best results are found most often when you have collaborated with others. Recently at our annual general meeting, we celebrated the formal execution of our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the BBI composite group of companies. We have now begun the process of updating all of the individual member organizations’ policies and procedures to ensure they align with the stated goals of the MOU, which is the next step toward ensuring the implementation of a strong governance model. The process is taking time as we strive to be collaborative, with the objective of ensuring all the parts work together. Another way we work together is by trying to be open with other groups. At our last board retreat, the BBI invited a number of other organizations to participate. As a result, the BBI benefited from hearing additional points of view and insights. The groups that were invited to participate could also understand the goals and challenges the BBI faces and gain an additional perspective through observing another organization working through its challenges. In turn, the BBI benefited from having a broader, input that assisted in developing its goals and strategies. All organizations must work with others to be successful. As a business owner how would you describe your relationships with your partners, suppliers, customers, and service providers? Do you keep open lines of communication with your suppliers, employees and customers? Do you have advisors or mentors with whom you can discuss problems? continued on page 6

Peter Marsman

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

S.I. Rustum Southwell CEO, Black Business Initiative


he way forward for the Black entrepreneur in Canada may mean reinventing the wheel. An impossible task, you think? In this day and age nothing is impossible or off the table. You only need to look at the pace of change in technology over the past 15 years to understand how quickly things change. From a cordless home phone to a wireless cell phone may have taken decades, from a cell phone to the BlackBerry a mere couple of years, from wireless emails to online video conferencing a few months. Sixty percent of the Internet and cell phone technology did not exist a short four years ago. Digital camera technology from camera to laptops took mere months to go to market. The future belongs to those who are quick and effective in implementing plans and keeping up with the rapid pace of business advancement. Innovative entrepreneurs with business savvy, who are not afraid to use technology, will become the future business leaders. Companies who are lagging will be left further behind unless they keep pace with these changes. How are we doing? Well, although the economy is still somewhat on life support, we are pleased to report that many of our companies are still holding their own. With the shift to an economy driven mostly by technology and less by manufacturing, reinventing how we do and operate business is essential for survival and to thrive for success. I can say we are holding our own because, since Valentine’s Day in February, I have been travelling the province visiting

Black-owned companies. I did not go incognito like “Undercover Boss” but more like “CEO Uncovered,” as I tagged along as part of the entourage of Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis. We visited 18 business owners from micro to mega enterprises. They had many things in common: they were proud to welcome the Lieutenant Governor to their businesses and the chance for her to meet their staff; and they were proud to showcase their establishments and thankful for the recognition. We visited an impressive list of companies currently doing business in the province. The quality of the business operations was even more obvious when we carried out the selection process for the Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY). It came down to the last jury member’s vote to decide the order of the top three businesses. It was that close. Four years ago, we changed and revamped our recognition awards program for both the Hector Jacques Award of Excellence and the EOY award from size of operations to performancebased criteria. We did not think it would become this competitive this quickly. Congratulations to all the participants. During 2010-11, we celebrated the end of the first decade of the century with renewed hope for our entrepreneurial future and, more importantly, our transition as an organization from teenager to early adolescence now at 15 years. The Black Business Initiative (BBI) continues its commitment to growing the Black presence in a diverse range of business sectors – including highcontinued on page 26

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Cover Story

Glynis receives the BBI Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis visiting Just Right Child Care

Just Right Child Care Glynis Simms , Owner, Just Right Child Care

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Shakara Russell / BBI


hen Glynis Simms opened Just Right Child Care centre in 2007 the Greenwood-based facility was licensed to accommodate 15 children and operated under the direction of just two staff members (Simms included). Now, four years later, Simms oversees seven trained early childhood educators caring for 30 children between 18 months and school-age. She’s also increased the centre’s curriculum.

“Our preschool program is modeled after a grade primary curriculum – we do reading, math, science, French…” Add to that a range of activities that encourage sharing, responsibility, social and oratory skills. “Some children don’t learn those skills until they enter into public school, but they’re learning them here,” says Simms. She adds that many parents are recognizing the benefits of daycare versus private care. “I just received a phone call this morning from parents who had taken their children out [because] they felt that it was too costly to keep them in daycare full-time,” says Simms. “[They] called this morning and said, ‘We made a mistake – can we bring them back?’” The rate for childcare at Simms’ facility ranges from $30 to $32 per day (including lunch and two snacks) depending on the age of the child. “We’re finding sometimes people say, ‘I don’t want to pay that much money

because I can get it cheaper,’” says Simms. “But then they realize that the quality of programming that they’re missing out on is something that they feel is worth it for their children.” Sheena McCallum is a mother of two, and one of several parents waiting for a spot to open up at Just Right Child Care. “When I was on maternity leave I had my [eldest child] there part time, and then they were both going to daycare,” she says. “I had them there for a year, and then I switched them to private care because it was getting pretty costly.” But McCallum says she prefers Just Right Child Care to the private care arrangement. “The biggest thing I noticed is my fouryear-old used to learn a lot of different stuff [at daycare]. She used to come home and count in French. She learned her alphabet and numbers. And I find now with the girl that we’re at, where there’s another baby with them, she probably doesn’t have time to sit with [my children]. I just find it more beneficial for them to be at a daycare because they learn more,” adds McCallum. But getting the kids back into daycare is easier said than done. McCallum is one of several parents on Just Right Child Care’s ever-growing waiting list, a testament to the success of Simms’ business. “Things are going quite well,” says Simms, who received the Black Business Initiative’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2010–2011. “When I received the entrepreneur of the year, I made it known that I didn’t

by: Shauntay Grant

do this all by myself.” Simms credits her daughter with giving her the idea to open up a childcare centre. But the credits don’t stop there. “I had a ton of support along the way,” she says. “From my children, to my husband … my mentor Kerry Johnson … my mom … the Black Business Initiative… Community Development Corporation…” And of course, the parents and children who make her work possible. “And our Heavenly Father,” adds Simms. “He has given me the insight to be able to do this. So I never take all of this as something that I’m doing – I know I could not do this without all of those people that I just mentioned.” Committed to the development of her business, Simms is eager to take further studies in early childhood education in an effort to expand the range of services that the centre offers. “We’re trying to become an inclusive centre, which means that we want to be accepting children no matter their abilities, no matter their beliefs – being an inclusive facility you have to be aware of what programs will help children who are disabled, for example, so that they can be fully integrated into the program. “Those kinds of things are important to me to be able to offer,” adds Simms. “So I figure if I keep myself educated and keep on top of things, we’ll never become stale – we’ll always be trying to improve.” Just Right Child Care, Glynis Simms 902-242-3080 justrightchildcare.com 4 ...

Deep Down Cleaning Services Ltd. Kenny Ruck, Owner, Deep Down Cleaning Services Ltd.

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Peter Marsman


stablished in 1996, Deep Down Cleaning Services Ltd. boasts “fast and reliable” service for commercial and residential properties in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville. “We have 24- hour service for some of our buildings that are run by property management teams,” states coowner Kenny Ruck. The company’s round-the-clock availability is a key factor in its success and sets them apart from other cleaning companies in the area. “We’re always there. We’re very reliable. No matter what time you call us, someone will answer the phone,” Ruck says assuredly. Deep Down Cleaning’s website states that customers regularly associate with them with the word “yes”. Deep Down Cleaning, located on the corner of Chebucto Road and Oxford Street in Halifax, provides standard cleaning services such as carpet and upholstery cleaning, floor stripping and waxing, and pressure washing. They also deal with mini-disasters. “Sometimes in the buildings they'll have stuff that goes on after hours, like a flood or broken glass that can't wait until the next day; it has to be taken care of as soon as possible,” explains Ruck. Being able to help people and give people work is one of the best parts of the business for Ruck. He and his two partners provide work for about 60 employees who, according to Ruck, make an effective team. “My partners are great. Everyone has their different roles.” He adds that from taking care of the paperwork to carrying out the work, everyone’s effort is required to make sure the job gets done and done right. “The main thing is if you have good people it makes the business run more smoothly. That's the key.” A self-described handson guy, Ruck deals with human resources, oversees some jobs, and tackles some of the cleaning as well.

by: Abena Amoako-Tuffour

Aside from the mini-emergencies that occasionally arise in the middle of the night, most days on the job are consistent for Ruck. However, when the company was starting out 15 years ago, things weren’t so smooth. Ruck and his team had to make do with little and hope for the stability they experience now. “You know, when you start your own business you're not making a lot of money at first, so you have to learn to survive,” he recalls. With the growth of the business over the years, Ruck has gained experience and further learned the value of certain traits such as honesty and confidence.

“You know, when you start your own business you're not making a lot of money at first, so you have to learn to survive,” - Kenny Ruck

“Honesty helps build relationships with people you work for and employees “he says. And he thinks that as a business owner, “You have to have a level of confidence just to believe in your company in order to take it further.” He stresses the need for determination coupled with positive thinking, saying, “You'll have some rough days or years [but you have to think positively] or you won't be around for too long.”

Deep Down Cleaning Services Ltd. 2590 Oxford Street, Halifax Kenny Ruck (902) 425-5619

Message from the BOD continued from page 1

You are not in business alone. During its 15 years, the BBI, in support of community development, has provided 60 investments totaling $300,000 to assist community groups in achieving their goals.The BBI also has access to resources and contacts that can help you address problems and access information. Please do not wait for your manager to call. Keeping your lines of communication open is important often our managers discover the most important things informally rather than formally. At BBI, we want you to be successful as you can so we can all accomplish our goal of improving the position and opportunities of African Nova Scotians in business. Our AGMs are times of celebration and this year was no exception. It was our fifteenth annual general meeting, a prelude to our fifteenth anniversary, which we will be celebrating later this year. It gave us the opportunity to recognize the one person who has been with the organization since its inception. On behalf of the board, again I would like to thank Rustum Southwell for his time, commitment, and dedication to BBI over the past 15 years. We also had the opportunity to thank our Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) resource representative, Mike Hayes, who is retiring. We wish Mike all the best in his future endeavours. The theme for our AGM this year was “The Way Forward”. With the progress towards governance, the strides made with the Cultural Tourism Project, another jobs skill project underway, the Community Economic Development Investment Fund surpassing $500,000 in funds raised and over $1,000,000 in loan and investments made, BBI is definitely making progress on ‘The Way Forward” and is committed to continue to do so in the future.

Greg Browning, Chair 6 ...

Cook Fabrications Limited Dennis Cook , Owner, Cook Fabrications Ltd.

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Shakara Russell / BBI




owner of Cook Fabrications Ltd.,

has been working on cars for as long as he can remember. The

78-year-old Amherst, Nova Scotia, native has a knack for repairing

But the car business isn’t just about fixing carburetors and engines; being a people person definitely goes a long way as well. Although he recently retired, he says he has a lot to share with young people interested in owning their own business. “You have to be 100 percent gentleman,” he says. Much of Cook’s work involved consulting people and helping them make decisions about their cars.

motor vehicles: taking them apart, carefully examining and fixing the pieces, and then reassembling the different parts. Cook inherited this gift from his father, who also worked on cars for a living. At eight years old, Cook took apart and repaired his first car, with the help of his father. He and his father ended up making $600 from that car and it was then that Cook knew he could do this for the rest of his life. He credits his father for helping him. “I learned a lot about the business from him. I learned a lot from listening,” Cook says. In 1958, Cook started Cook Fabrications, where he worked on motor vehicles and manufactured machinery. His dayto-day tasks involved everything from replacing engines to body work for damaged vehicles. Cook says one of the best parts of being a car salesperson is the versatility of the role.

Over the past 50-plus years, Cook has become a fixture in the car repair and selling business in Nova Scotia and is an example of someone who clearly loved his work.

by: Sunjay Mathuria

“Putting the paint on the car was one of my favourite things to do. You had to make the customer happy and it’s always nice for them to see a nice shiny car,” he says. Over the past 50-plus years, Cook has become a fixture in the car repair and selling business in Nova Scotia and is an example of someone who clearly loved his work. For prospective car salespeople, Cook offers some advice: “Make sure you have some money behind you before you start. If you really want something, you have to get up and do it.” He reiterates the importance of serving clients: “Always be good to people and help them out in any way you can.”

People can be very protective and particular when it comes to their cars. And when car repair and maintenance are involved, things can get a bit tricky. That’s why Cook made sure to maintain exceptional customer service skills.

“Each morning when I got out of bed, I never knew what my day would bring,” he says with a laugh.

“A lot of people would come in and not know what they wanted, so I would walk them through what needed to be done,” he says.

Cook and his workers kept busy serving clients from Amherst and the surrounding areas. With a constant traffic of cars and trucks in and out of the Cook garage, they were always ready to take any new challenge that came their way.

Cook would sit down with his clients, go over their options, and help them save money on the repairs. The work was satisfying though, especially when he saw the looks on the satisfied customers’ faces when their cars were finished.

Cook Fabrications Limited Dennis Cook 465 Willow St Amherst, NS, (902) 667-2228

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Let’s Take The A Train:

How Jazz Can Help You Transform Your Organizational Culture I am writing this article while I listen to the indescribable genius of Wes Montgomery. I am also dreaming about the St. Lucia jazz festival a few days away, as well as the Atlantic Jazz Festival which takes place in July. While jazz lovers flock to these festivals to enjoy the music as art, many may be unaware that jazz embodies powerful lessons for business and public organizations.

Take 5

In a world of uncertainty, increased global competition, declining disposable incomes, information saturation, shortened life cycles, rapid technological change and the like, companies are literally struggling to figure out how to navigate this complex and uncertain environment. These challenges confront leaders who are not well prepared, leaders who run hierarchical organizations predicated on structures that reinforce control, lack of creativity, fear of failure, disempowerment of employees, and lack of learning.

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innovation should seriously examine what jazz has to offer. I recently stumbled upon a set of articles that examined how jazz can be used as a metaphor to enable organizational learning, innovation, and change. As a jazz musician who strongly believes that the cultural aesthetic in leadership practice of African Canadian businesses and organizations is in dire need of a makeover, jazz offers a powerful model. Invented by African Americans, Jazz is an African cultural art form and as such embodies African cultural traits. Also it is a viable model for exploring uncertainty, for risk taking, and for spurring creativity and innovation – essential ingredients for surviving in today’s business climate.

To survive in the twenty-first century you need to be nimble, creative, experimental, dynamic and engaging. Unfortunately, the existing hierarchical leadership models that reflect a European classical orchestra with a conductor, composer, and players whose goal is to flawlessly reproduce what is written, will not assure survival in the future.

Jazz has several attributes that, if understood clearly and modelled in organizational behaviour, can bring about astonishing results. In an article by Michael Gold and Steve Hirshfeld, (The behaviors of jazz as a catalyst for strategic renewal and growth", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26 Iss: 5, pp.40 – 47), the authors identified five important attributes of jazz that can empower organizations in new ways: autonomy, passion, risk taking, improvisation, and listening. They refer to them as the APRIL attributes.

Jazz as an art form provides a very powerful metaphor for the kind of organizational leadership, innovation, and learning needed to survive in the twenty-first century. As such, leaders looking for models that will allow them to combat inertia and propel their organizations to another level of

I am not aware of any great jazz band where passion among the players was absent. Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jarreau, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, are great artists because they are/ were passionate. The need to create, recreate, and adapt constantly requires drive and drive requires passion.

There is no great jazz performance without active, engaged and empathetic listening. I am reminded of the frequent affirmations and amens one would hear in an African American Baptist service. Call and response, characteristic of African culture and jazz, is indicative of engaged listening. In the jazz ensemble, the rhythm section supports the soloist (comping). When the intensity builds, the rhythm section builds. When the soloist drops volume to create dynamics, so does the rhythm section. Hence listening must be interactive, non-judgemental, and supportive. Effective organizations listen dynamically and constantly. For creativity to thrive in organizations, leaders and employees alike must learn the art of active listening in order to provide the support necessary for ideas to germinate and eventually take root. Autonomy in jazz is the freedom to experiment and create within a minimal structure. As each player takes a solo, they are empowered to direct the ensemble. They can create and change the mood by the choice of notes they play. They can temporarily change the tempo, the groove, etc. The soloist is in command. As the soloist forges this instant collaboration, there is implicit and explicit trust that the rest of the group will follow and support the soloist. Organizations must resist the temptation to always have the boss direct the show. The boss is not always the one with the best ideas. Allowing others to lead while others support can open up great opportunities for a company. Think of the motivational value to an employee who was in charge of leading a new product development initiative. Improvisation distinguishes jazz from all other forms of music. Players are

provided with a basic form upon which they must create instantly. While to the uninitiated, improvisation may seem easy or to some just a set of random notes, great improvisation requires years of study and practice, a profound understanding of the rules and how breaking the rules creates and induces certain emotions among the players as well as the audience. John Coltrane was well known for practicing in excess of 12 hours per day. Improvisation requires acceptance of new ideas, active listening, temporary suspension of critical judgement, a willingness to take chances, reframing situations to explore creative possibilities, and understanding that there are no absolutes – right or wrong. In improvising, one uses the knowledge built up through practicing to explore and exploit uncharted ideas. Organizations that hold on firmly to the hierarchy embedded in structure and roles will find it difficult to improvise. An ensemble can have bass, piano, drums, guitar, horns, etc. Each person has a role, but during improvisation, hierarchy becomes lateral not vertical. Improvisation in organizations requires devolved decision-making and leading. In so doing, these organizations empower employees to take initiative and to make decisions. Correspondingly, such organizations must be willing to accept mistakes as learning opportunities. Finally, a jazz performance in which there is no risk taking will more often than not lack excitement. Because jazz requires instant composition, a suspension of rules, and a collaborative process in the face of uncertainty, players must take risks. Miles Davis was known to show up to a recording session with the songs rewritten in keys different from what was learnt. There was no time for rehearsal and the performance had to go straight to tape. Talk about creating discomfort

as a catalyst for creativity and the need for risk taking in such situations. The landmark Kind of Blue was one such recording where Miles showed up with songs that the group had never seen. In addition, he experimented with nonstandard forms. For example, he wrote some songs using 10-bar forms instead of the standard 8- or 12-bar forms. Organizations attempting to navigate complex business environments marred by uncertainly must develop a comfort level with risk taking. Risk taking must not be punished, but rather encouraged. Failure to take risks will perpetuate inertia and keep organizations stuck in out-dated models of practice. For risk taking to have a reasonable chance at producing meaningful outcomes, employees must be knowledgeable and must have a strong sense of the roles and capacities of fellow employees. Recognizing jazz performance as a profound creative process, organizations wishing to spur creativity and innovation among its employees can look to the art form as an effective culturally appropriate model with the promise of great potential. African Nova Scotian businesses looking to build an African cultural aesthetic in their organizations can use jazz as a model. Other organizations simply looking to spur creativity and innovation can also leverage the power jazz improvisation holds within it. contributed

Organizations without passion cannot create, cannot learn, cannot be nimble, cannot be flexible, and cannot grow.

Harvey Millar is full professor in the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, the Vice President and a senior management consultant/ trainer with Logix Consultants Limited, and the leader of the jazz outfit bSharp. He can be reached at Harvey.H.Millar@ gmail.com.

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Culturally Themed Businesses

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Clutch Culture Mo Handahu , Owner, Clutch Culture

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n this issue we bring you two businesses that highlight, if not base, their businesses on their culture and heritage.

Peter Marsman


ibrant, powerful, striking.

All words that seem suitable to describe Clutch

Culture, its creator, Musemo Handahu,

and the products she creates. The idea for Clutch Culture was born in July of 2009. From passion and creativity; it

“I was out of a job and I needed something to do. I remember going to the fabric store and I said to myself, let me make a dress, just something to keep me going while I look for a job,” says Handahu. “While I was there this idea came to me of making a purse.” Handahu had never made a purse before but she found a pattern. “Automatically I gravitated toward clutches, ’cause I love clutches,” Handahu says. Soon she wanted to go beyond the pattern, “to figure out ways to make [her clutch] better,” says Handahu, “to make it something that I’ve always wanted to see but I couldn’t really find on the streets.” A couple of months later she was featured in a new fashion magazine and had her first runway show at the magazine’s launch. Since then, she’s been at Atlantic Fashion Week and the Fashion and Design Festival. She will be debuting her first clothing collection at this year’s Fashion and Design Festival, as well as her new branding – Musemo – which will encompass Clutch Culture, her blog for curvy women, her clothing line, photography, styling work, and everything else she tackles. Clutch culture “was my big passion, but now it’s grown into so much more,” says Handahu.

by: Charlene Davis

Handahu earned a Business degree from Acadia University in 2006. She’s putting it to good use. “I have such a passion for the industry,” she says. And since embarking on this journey, “I’ve never looked back.” Peter Marsman

grew to where it is today.

Her most difficult struggles in getting to where she is today were learning how to figure out her vision for her clutches and “make that image become reality,” and to conquer low self-esteem in order to get out there, network, and really show her personality. “I’m a curvy girl. I have natural hair,” says Handahu, and it’s been hard “to break out into an industry that has a certain perception of how a person should look … there’s been times that I’ve felt really intimidated.” But now that she’s gotten out of her comfort zone, she says, “people see me for who I really am.” Handahu wants to be a beacon for the black community in the fashion industry. She wants to “be a role model to young black girls” and hopes to contribute to BBI’s Business is Jammin’ program. “So many girls are on the wrong path, and I’d love to be able to talk to some of them and show them the steps that I took and the choices that I made to be where I am today.” Handahu likes to help people come out of their shell and see past their perceived flaws, to help them build their self- esteem. The models for her photo shoots are all just regular girls – her friends and people who she’s met on the street. “I really have this passion for letting people see the beauty that they have,” says Handahu. Passion is also essential to staying relevant. “The fashion industry is forever evolving. If you don’t change, if you don’t adapt, you’re going to be left behind and you’re not going to go anywhere,” says Handahu. She constantly re-evaluates her work and keeps abreast of the changing industry to know what will set her apart.

Clutch Culture Mo Handahu 405-7943 info@clutchculture.com http://clutchculture.com/ continued on page 13

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Trailblazers Culturally Themed Businesses

continued from page 12

Passage to the Caribbean Arisa & Jason Jackson, Owners, Passage to the Caribbean

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Paul Adams

ason Jackson has a vision. That vision is for him and his wife, Arisa, to one day own a group of companies: the Jackson Group. Passage to the Caribbean, the restaurant owned by the energetic entrepreneurs, is the second step on the path to fulfilling that vision. “The idea came from the need for it,” says Arisa. “All of the other ethnicities have restaurants represented here. There’s Lebanese, Chinese, whomever, and we’ve been supporting those businesses for years . . . so we thought why not bring our food here and bring it in the form of Caribbean food.”

The restaurant opened March 4, “at 4 o clock,” adds Jason. “We’re really happy with the success we’ve had so far,” says Arisa. “People have been coming in since the day we opened.” Both the community and people in the area have been really supportive and excited about this type of food being brought to the neighbourhood. The restaurant is located at 760 Main Street, near the African Nova Scotian communities of Cherry Brook and North and East Preston. Both Jason and Arisa agree that they hope people view their restaurant and the food they serve as a way into the Caribbean, “a passage into the

Jason and Arisa feel their visions for Passage to the Caribbean are pretty much the same but they sometimes struggle with getting the rest of their team on the same page: “To have the same drive, the same motivation, putting the same energy into customer service – that is a challenge,” says Arisa. The Jacksons have to really work with and train their staff “to make sure they have the right skill set,” says Arisa.

The Jacksons credit some of their business

Charlene Davis

Jason has a full time job at the Department of National Defence and Arisa manages Arm Candy (the couple’s first business together) and Passage to the Caribbean full time. It’s busy for both of them, but “it’s all about time management . . . it’s how you prioritize your day,” says Jason. “We like the work hard, play hard theory,” interrupts Arisa with a laugh. “It’s worthwhile at the end of the day,” Jason continues. “It’s not work because we enjoy it.” The Jacksons credit some of their business savvy to courses and support both of them have had from the Black Business Initiative over the years. Jason took part in Business is Jammin’ as a youth and, says Arisa, “we utilized anything that they had to offer.” Paul Adams

With the number of people in Nova Scotia with Caribbean roots and so many people travelling to the Caribbean and getting a chance to try that type of food, the Jacksons wanted to provide a place where people could enjoy Caribbean food close to home. Jason says he wanted to create a place “where we can go and eat every day and love the food.” “It’s not greasy food or fattening,” says Arisa. “It’s a home cooked meal,” continues Jason.

Caribbean,” adds Jason. “We want it to be just like going to the Caribbean,” says, Arisa.

savvy to courses and support both of them have had from the Black Business Initiative over the years.

A lot of their employees are family members. “For example,” says Jason, “with my mom, I’m not just her son, I’m her boss.” Arisa’s brother also works at the restaurant. “At the same time,” adds Arisa, “that’s one of the great positive aspects, because it’s family-run there’s a lot of love and passion put in everything that everybody does. I know if my brother’s on the front, he’s going to work to the best of his ability.” Not all of their staff members are relatives, but Jason says, “Once you’re here, you’re family . . . that’s what we want our team to feel.”

Arisa and Jason hope to expand Passage to the Caribbean to a second (and perhaps third) location in the next few months.

Passage to the Caribbean Jason and Arisa Jackson 760 Main St., Dartmouth 902-405-8999 www.passagetothecaribbean.ca

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The Way Forward

Annual General Meeting 2010-11

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by: Carol Dobson Photos: Paul Adams

On June 16 and 17, the Black Business Initiative (BBI) held a significant event – its

fifteenth anniversary. The theme of this year’s AGM – The Way Forward – is most fitting as the BBI prepares to celebrate its actual anniversary in December. During the Gala on Friday night, Halifax’s Jaden Dixon performed a spoken word anthem, “The Way Forward” inspired by the writings of Laurence Gonzales, the author of Everyday Survival. Her words will be divided into three sections – each one accompanying a segment of the BBI’s AGM: Look upon me closely for I am the way of the future. See me as I am now for I am a successor of your hard work in the past. Our dream together of converting mud huts into palaces is now possible because you have taught me the correct path to travel and shown me the way. You did what you promised you would do. Now I will help you lead the way forward. I will lift us out of the dim misty valleys of slavery, suffering, doubt and despair to that promise of a bright tomorrow in a cool, green, peaceful, sunlit place. I will be the master builder, the chief innovator of an economy so strong many may wonder, who is this amazing businesswoman? CEDIF MEETING It began with a gathering on Thursday night centred on one of the pillars of the BBI – the Black Business Community Investment Fund – a fund sponsored by the BBI to assist in building “a strong, diverse, and healthy Nova Scotia Black business community by providing investment capital to qualifying companies”. Since its inception, the BBI has raised $555,500 from its 99-member investor base. When figures are adjusted for redemptions, the capital base for the CEDIF is $534,000, with 93 investors.

In the last year, the BBI invested $245,000 in three companies. The total amount that has been invested since its inception is $1.02 million – 13 investments in seven different companies. The companies involved are The Bin Doctor (which returned a $5,000 cheque to the fund in 2010 as a dividend for its equity investment), C.A. Wilkins Construction, the Stone

Gallery, 31165433 Nova Scotia Ltd., ADEPA Management, Truce Films, and Hoops Innovations, which is receiving international attention from its Shotloc product. I will be ethical in my dealings. I will lead those who are ready and willing to take my helping hand as we travel together on this new journey of economic and business success. But, what is the way forward? I know what it isn’t. It’s not, as we once believed, plenty to eat and a fancy home with all the modern conveniences. It’s not the latest HipHop fashion or flashing weapons inside the coolest Beemer. It is not the latest cell phone, Blackberry, iPod, or the fastest computer. It’s not perfume, ‘creamy crack’, or the latest Jimmy Choos... According to Laurence Gonzales, the author of “Everyday Survival,” “The way forward is found on a path through the wilderness of the head and heart – reason and emotion. Thinking, knowing, understanding”

ANNUAL MEETING The next segment of the AGM was held on Friday. In the past 15 years, the AGM has grown from a small gathering to a major event, including the luncheon on Friday at noon with approximately 100 people in attendance. This year’s luncheon was marked by a significant event – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among the BBI group of companies, which will see them operating under consistent policies and practices under the BBI’s strategy of “One Brand, One Vision, One Organization,” something Rustum Southwell says is a tremendous opportunity for the BBI as it pursues the way forward. “Organizations like ours have had a tendency to come and go,” Southwell says. “Back in 1996, we had a fiveyear life cycle. Our challenge has been in meeting our business targets, so that we could make it to that five years.” continued on page 17

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“This year is a year of significant events including the fiftieth edition of this magazine and our fifteenth anniversary in December. When you look at Black to Business, we’ve printed approximately 150,000 copies and on average, each magazine passes through 10 and 20 hands. That means that 3 to 5 million people have seen our magazine.”

BBE Board Chair, Cassandra Dorrington signs the Memorandum of Understanding

However, success breeds success, and the BBI is now guaranteed, under its current contract to make it to 2014 – 18 years, and as Southwell says, the BBI will continue to move the edge so that it will exist for 20 years ... and beyond. “When you look at technology when we started. Cordless phones were just coming in as were cellular phones. The wireless technology we use today was not around and the Internet was taking its baby steps. Look at how fast things are moving today. Like technology, we’re trying to keep ahead of the pack because if you stay stationary, the world will pass you by.”

AGM Board Meeting 2011 17 ...

One of the highlights of the AGM was the Biz Show starring Robert Upshaw. As always, the stage was transformed into a talk-show set – with Upshaw at the desk asking questions of a number of guests called up from the audience. It was a parade of personalities including Rustum Southwell, Greg Browning and Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, sharing jokes and words of wisdom with the guests.

The Biz Show with Robert Upshaw

“This is the second time that we’ve done this at the AGM,” Southwell says. “It’s something we generally do at the Summits. It’s designed to be not stuffy yet it allows a varied number of guests to speak to issues concerning the business community. For all of us the way forward must reflect the path of our history. From the Black Loyalists, Maroons, and refugees, to Africville, the Prestons, Whitney Pier, Vale Road, Amherst, and Weymouth.

It IS a road that includes all of us in the African Diaspora, because together we are stronger, we are better. I will not settle for anything less. I will expect hurdles but will NOT give in to them. I will not stop at my first victory, I will continue to the end.

DINNER, GALA & DANCE On Friday evening, guests reconvened for the Gala and Dance. It was a night that mixed moments of celebration with fine food and music, and a few surprises. It was a night for awards recognizing contributions through the years. This year’s Heroes in our Midst award was given, posthumously, to Viola Desmond for her business acumen as a pioneering female entrepreneur. She opened the door for Black women to learn hairdressing skills at the Desmond School of Beauty Culture and through her work creating her own line of cosmetics and wigs. Because this is not a Summit year, the Hector Jacques Award was not presented. However, there was a healthy competition for the Entrepreneur of the Year award. “It was hard to make a choice from the 15 to 20 entries,” Southwell said. “Then we had to winnow them down to five. When the jury came in, there were three businesses tied for first, so the

Glynis Simms receives the BBI Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis

person who has been with the BBI for most of its existence, on his retirement from ACOA and the BBI Board. Then there was a very special award – to Rustum Southwell, which he admits caught him completely off guard.


“It was a big surprise and it was very humbling,” he says. Paul Adams of Adams Photography was a Finalist for the BBI Entrepreneur of the Year Award

decision came down to the very last vote. Glynis Simms, of Just Right Child Care in Kingston, was the winner. She was also one of the businesses visited by Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis when she toured small businesses around the province.”

Gordon Doe receives his 10 year Medal from BBI CEO, Rustum Southwell

The evening was jam packed with sights and sounds – showcasing the vignettes and public service pieces the BBI has produced on Global TV, as well as highlighting past staff and board members. As the evening concluded, everyone left knowing that the BBI is following along with the words Jaden Dixon spoke, laying out the theme for the night and the way forward.... This is my anthem. This is my passion. This is my destiny. I will look forward to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life. Look on me closely. Take my hand. Show me the way forward and release me into the future. I am Jaden Dixon.

There were other presentations – to Gordon Doe on his 10 years with the BBI, to Dr. Andrews Oppong, on his retirement from Dalhousie University, and to Michael Hayes, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency resource Robert, Geraldine and Greg Browning (BBI Chair) at the BBI Gala

Rustum Southwell receives his 15 year Medal from BBI Chair, Greg Browing Enjoying the After Party

The voice of the future spoke eloquently about the Way Forward at the BBI’s Gala. Jaden Dixon, who’s going into Grade 10 in the fall, gave voice to the words. “They were written by Mr. Rustum,” she said. “But I changed some of them so that they sounded more like they were coming from me. I put things in that people my age would understand.” She said she was a bit nervous performing the anthem in front of the audience but says that she has had prior experience acting, including performing with Anthony Sherwood last year. Jaden is a young woman with a strong sense of direction... including some goals that weren’t voiced in the anthem. “I’m working as a junior councillor at the Community YMCA,” she says. “I really enjoy working with kids and I want to be a teacher when I grow up. This job is a really great experience for when I become a teacher.” 18 ...

To minimize the potential for personal liability, directors and officers must act responsibly and follow best practices when carrying out their responsibilities on behalf of companies.

The Limits of Limited Liability

The Law & Your Business

In the inaugural column of “The Law and Your Business” I provided a brief overview of the three most common vehicles used to carry on business in Canada, one of which is a limited company or corporation. Shareholders own the company, while directors manage or supervise the management of the company and may appoint officers to run the company’s daily business operations. In small companies, one individual may be the shareholder, director and officer. Large, public companies may have an unlimited number of shareholders, and numerous officers and directors. In law, a company is a legal person separate from its shareholders and is therefore responsible for its debts and obligations, which limits the liability of the shareholders to the amount of the shareholders’ investment if the company is dissolved and the investment is not returned. This concept of “limited liability” is one of the key attributes of incorporating a limited company to carry on business. Importantly, however, the limitation of liability is not absolute. In certain circumstances, shareholders, directors and officers of a limited company may be personally liable for the company’s debts and obligations.

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Shareholders of private companies who are also directors and officers and who run the business may lose the protection afforded by limited liability if they are required to give personal guarantees and security in connection with loans made to the company. If the business fails and the 19 ...

company is unable to repay the loan, the lender can sue the shareholders for payment or seize and sell their assets to recover the amounts owed by the company. Shareholders (and directors) may also be found personally liable for the obligations of a company where there has been corporate wrongdoing and the court determines that the shareholders’ or directors’ actions warrant the court ignoring the company’s existence or “piercing the corporate veil.” Directors and officers owe a fiduciary duty to act with honesty and in good faith in furtherance of the best interests of the company, generally with a view to maximizing the profits of the company. In the post-Enron era, in some instances courts have found this duty of loyalty to extend to others such as a company’s shareholders, creditors, etc. Directors and officers must be diligent and exercise skill and care when carrying out their duties on behalf of a company. They are not permitted to put their personal interests above the interests of the company and must avoid conflicts of interest. Directors and officers also have statutory obligations under a number of federal and provincial statutes. A breach of the fiduciary and/or statutory duties owed by directors and officers may result in claims in a variety of contexts, including corporate, employment, environmental, privacy, anti-spam, securities, and tax laws. For example, directors are personally liable under federal tax legislation for their

company’s failure to remit goods and services tax, harmonized sales tax, and payroll source deductions such as employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan premiums. My previous columns on Canada’s privacy and anti-spamming laws touched on the statutory provisions that make directors and officers personally liable for corporate breaches. A due diligence defence may be available in some cases. To minimize the potential for personal liability, directors and officers must act responsibly and follow best practices when carrying out their responsibilities on behalf of companies. Before becoming a director or officer, obtain an indemnity agreement from the company to protect against expenses and losses, and ensure that the company maintains appropriate director and officer liability insurance. Directors should also be aware of the company’s policies and practices, including those respecting remittance procedures for taxes and source deductions, and should require regular reports from the company’s officers confirming that such policies and procedures are being followed.

BUSINES IS JAMMIN’ REPORT Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver “Where innovative ideas meet potential for successful Black youth development” It’s been another busy summer for Business is Jammin’ programming. Through a partnership with Service Canada we have been able to place six Summer Youth Coordinators across the province who have been engaging youth in entrepreneurial activities including presentations, workshops, and the ever popular business camps. Coordinators are based in Yarmouth, Kentville, Halifax, Dartmouth, New Glasgow, and Glace Bay but have been providing programming in the surrounding communities as well.

Business is Jammin’ also continues to provide growth and development activities to the three community gardens we have sponsored. The North End Community Garden had 30 youth participate in a business camp to further their skills in expanding their garden business and the same has been done at the Yarmouth Community Garden and the Nelson Mandela Garden in Glace Bay of which the youth launched their company during Marcus Garvey Days Celebration in August. Get involved with Business is Jammin’ today. Become a Charter or Event partner today and we will provide you with a unique opportunity to reach youth while helping them to understand what makes a business like yours special and successful.

Contact our Business is Jammin’ Youth Coordinator Mahogany Lucas by email: lucas.mahogany@bbi.ns.ca; by phone 902-426-8688 or join us on Facebook: BIJ Page



The information presented above is for informative purposes only. All information provided is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice and does not address the circumstances of any particular person or business.

Candace L. Thomas, Partner, Corporate Group, Stewart McKelvey, Barristers, Solicitors & Trademark Agents

For information on business opportunities with Encana’s Deep Panuke natural gas project in Nova Scotia’s offshore, visit the Deep Panuke pages on the Encana website at www.encana.com/deeppanuke/business

For information on career opportunities at Deep Panuke, visit the Careers section on Encana’s website or the Career Beacon website at www.careerbeacon.com

www.encana.com twitter.com/encanacorp



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Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design Sharon Parker, Owner, Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design

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Shakara Russell / BBI


black girl growing up in a white family, Sharon Parker had a lot to learn about styling black hair. Now, after owning Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design for 22 years, you could say she’s made up for her initial lack of knowledge. From her cozy salon located in the basement of her New Minas home, she offers a range of services including shampooing and blow drying, styling, cutting, coloring, highlighting, and doing relaxers, dreads, cornrows, and extensions. Parker admits her methods for some styles may be different than others. “I taught myself how to do ethnic hair,” she explains. “I approached people who let me work on them for free for a while to get practice.” Parker worked in retail for two years after college before recognizing the benefits of another path. “I thought, why am I making money for someone else when I could be making money for myself?’” She left retail in 1989 and opened her salon in Wolfville, where she catered mainly to students attending Acadia University. In the university town there was always “hustle and bustle with turnover of university students” and it was fairly easy for Parker to build clientele. There were also few, if any, black hairdressers in the area. “A lot of hair salons knew who I was … they would refer people to me,” she says, adding that many referrals came from hairdressers who had attempted to do black hair without success. In 1996 after having her third child, Parker moved her salon to the basement of her home in New Minas. There, her client base stretches from Digby to Windsor. Parker describes the salon

as being “warm and inviting.” Several mirrors adorn the walls, as do photos of the hairstyles Parker has done over the years. She says her clients, who range from students to professional women, enjoy being able to come talk and feel comfortable there.

“I taught myself how to do ethnic hair,” she explains. “I approached people who let me work on them for

by: Abena Amoako-Tuffour

of took the fun out of doing hair.” She says that though she wasn’t ready to be a boss then, she would try it again now. “You have to be motivated and put yourself out there” Parker says. To enhance her skills, she received training from a hair product line called Mazone and attended community college classes to learn relaxing and styling methods. Parker enjoys both the artistic element of her job and being able to impact people’s moods. “Someone comes in having a crappy day, you do their hair then they feel better.” Clients can book appointments with Parker from Tuesday to Saturday.

free for a while to get practice.”

Many have watched her three children grow over the years. A year and a half ago, Parker was in a bad accident with her daughter and didn’t work for nine months. “I lost a lot of clients after that,” she says. But they are coming back. Good old word-of-mouth has been the best advertising for Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design. “Most new people saw someone in the mall or got a recommendation from friend of a friend,” Parker says. As a mother, business-owner and wife, wearing three caps isn’t easy. “It can get hectic,” Parker says. “But it’s nice to be home-based because of the hours.” She is currently the sole hairdresser at her salon. She had two staff while in Wolfville for her first four years, but realized she preferred doing hair over being a boss. She has worked solo ever since. “I had three small children too, trying to parent them and ‘parent’ staff was hard. It kind

Sharon Lynn’s Hair Design Sharon Parker 1009 Maple Drive, New Minas 902-681-2270

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People & Business on the Move

On Friday, July 29, there was a ceremony at the site of Africville to formally return the original name of the community to the area that has, for the last 30 years, been known as Seaview Park. It was one of many events planned for the annual Africville Reunion. On the same (partly rainy) weekend, the annual Black Musicians showcase and Gospel Festival took place as part of Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day. Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis was present at a special ceremony at the Deportation Cross – the site of the original Acadian deportation, on July 28 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the deportation order. Joining her were Planter descendants, representatives of the Acadian community, members of the Intercultural Heritage Association from Moncton, including children from the Africamani Choir, representatives from the Black Loyalist Heritage Society of Shelburne County, the The Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia, the, and the Valley African Nova Scotia Development Association. Congratulations to the congregation of the St. Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tweahedo Church in Hammonds Plains. The congregation has turned a former Anglican church into its own sanctuary. The church was consecrated on Sunday, July 31. The Hockey Hall of Fame has taken over two floors of the Haliburton House in Windsor as a temporary home. There is a dedicated section for Black Hockey in NS. Senator Donald Oliver has been named as the Honourary Chair of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail conference, which will be held in Halifax in September.

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Constable Anthony Thomas, of the New Glasgow Police Department saved a young disabled man from drowning when the man’s wheelchair fell off the Sampson Trail in New Glasgow in early July. Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis picked a nice sunny July afternoon to visit the children at Warrington Park in Halifax’s North End. Her honour toured the gardens the children use to grow the produce for their “Hope Blooms’ dressings and sauces and was presented with the first bottle of dressing from this year’s production season. During the last few months of her term of office, Her Honour toured a number of small businesses around the province including several which are BBI clients. Dalhousie architecture students have built an outdoor kitchen and classroom for the North End Community Garden project. It’s the first outdoor teaching kitchen in Canada and will be used for teaching about the products grown in the garden. Marko Simmonds kicked off this year’s season of “Tunes at Noon” at the Grand Parade on July 13. This is a series of free, one-hour concerts held every summer in the downtown. Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard was honoured by the Association of Black Social Workers at a gala reception marking the end of her term as the Director of the School of Social Work in Dartmouth in late May. Linda Carvery, Cyndi Cain, Reenie Smith and Jeri Brown were among a number of fabulous female singers involved in the Ladies in Blue series held on Fridays at the Atlantica Hotel in May.

A ‘Taste of East Preston’ was held on June 10. It was a day featuring great food, activities for children, a cake walk, and book table. Congratulations to Sherri Borden Colley on being a runner up for a Canadian Association of Journalists Award in the print category for her 2010 feature on Viola Desmond titled ‘Unintentional Activist’. David Woods’ “Black Journey”, a portrayal of journeys from Africa to Nova Scotia was presented by the Voices Black Theatre Ensemble and the Youth of Today at Auburn High at Horton High School in early May. Among the performers were Dominique Oliver-Dares, Yasmin Hanna, and Michael Earle. The Shelburne Black Loyalist Heritage Society held its fourth annual Cheesecake Festival on Mother’s Day. The BBI was presented with a Leadership Award by the Construction Safety Association for the work being done in the Constructing the Future program. The presentation took place at the Construction Safety Association Annual General Meeting on May 19. Congratulations to Gordon Doe, Gordon Tynes, Joel Marsman, and the CTF participants. The Cumberland African Nova Scotian Society held its 11th annual Annual General Meeting in Amherst on June 27 with Brian Skabar, the local MLA as the guest speaker. The Rev. Helen Aigbe-Joseph has published a book entitled "Beyond Bereavement: The Ministry and Power of the Widow in the Church". It was formally launched at the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church on July 24.

Congratulations to Dr. Kirumira of BioMedica Diagnostics– he is one of the finalists in the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The provincial finalist will be announced at a dinner on October 13 and will represent the region at the national EoY banquet in November. Cecil Wright and Chad Lucas are two of the Chronicle Herald’s new columnists. Wright’s column will appear bi-weekly in the Community Herald while Lucas will be writing a weekly column about his life as a dad to four young children, all under the age of seven. Mohamed Ibraham told his riveting story of his life, from Somalia to Nova Scotia, when he delivered the valedictory address at his high school graduation from Sir John A. Macdonald High School in June. The theme of his address was “Take a Chance”. Members of the RCMP held a football camp at Graham Creighton Jr. High for youth in the Preston area on July 21-2. The same week, the Halifax Police Department also held a summer program for youth in Dartmouth where the children could play games and get to know officers on a personal basis. Author Kevin Lowther discussed his book “The African-American Odyssey of John Kizell” at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on July 26. The book contains several chapters relating to the history of white and black loyalists who settled in Nova Scotia. Lowther is a writer, former journalist and African development specialist and served as a Peace Corps teacher in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and subsequently on

the Peace Corps headquarters staff in Washington. Hoops Innovation’s Shotloc training aid for basketball was a popular purchase at a major youth basketball tournament in Florida this July. According to a story in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, “Hoops Innovation has orders from retailers for more than 100,000 of the devices, which are worn on the hand to improve shooting accuracy. The Nova Scotia business is in the process of piecing together an official fall launch and publicity campaign that will focus on the U.S. market.” The company, with Robert Ffrench as its CEO, has plans to establish a manufacturing facility in Cornwallis. To date, more than 3000 Shotlocs have been sold in 40 countries around the world. Good luck to the Nova Scotia Under 15 Boys Basketball team as they head to the nationals in Toronto in early August. Shawn Mantley is an assistant coach while Augy Jones is the head coach. An African Festival of Arts and Culture enjoyed great weather during the weekend of July 22-23. The Festival took place at Halifax’s Sackville Landing, including music, dance, storytelling, fashion shows, as well as a market with vendors selling an assortment of goods. The performers included David Woods, Toria Adoo, The Sanctified Boys, Reeny Smith, Carson Downey, and the Maritime Center for African Dance. Amherst’s Highland AME Church held a special Family and Friends day on July 24. The special guest speaker was the Rev. Rhonda Britton from the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church in Halifax.

continued on page 25

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People & Business on the Move continued from page 28

Distinguished educator and leader Marva Collins was in Halifax for a number of events in July under the auspices of the Africentric Leadership and Management Institute for Educators. The first event was held at the North Preston Community Recreation Centre on July 11. The second was a panel discussion with a number of community leaders on the topic of the 20th anniversary of the downtown Halifax uprising of 1991. The Black Loyalist Heritage Society has embarked on a quilting project, which began in the spring and will continue until October of this year. The Birchtown Quilting Group meets twice

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monthly to work on a special quilt that will tell the story of Black Loyalists, tracing their journey ‘from slavery to freedom’. When it’s completed it will be part of the permanent display at the museum in Birchtown. CKDU Community Radio in Halifax hosted a round table discussion on July 19th to mark 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, and to alert Nova Scotians to a series of upcoming town halls. The discussion featured guest panellists Dr. Rocky Jones and Denise Allen. The first town hall took place in Africville Park on July 30th during the Annual Africville Reunion. Other town halls are planned for Cape Breton, Lincolnville and New Glasgow.

“Brown Girl in the Ring”, a play written and performed by Valerie MasonJohn was presented at the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal on July 29 and was scheduled to be performed later in August at the Osprey Centre in Shelburne. Former Halifax/Dartmouth resident Tab Borden, the Canadian Trade Commissioner (USA West Coast) was in attendance at the July 19 signing of an agreement between the Nova Scotia Government and Cisco in California, USA.

Message from the CEO continued from page 2

tech, manufacturing, tourism, and the cultural sector – and to position itself as a conduit for community economic development in the Black communities across the province. We realize that our work is successful only because of the private and public sector partnerships and support we have enjoyed over the years. We thank our partners for their continued support in moving us forward through the years. ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism have been our backbone partners since we set out on this path 15 years ago. Consequently, it is the strategic change to a composite group of companies that will be a best practice model that can compete and succeed nationally and internationally. It will be the benchmark that BBI will continue to be known for in the way forward. Many of the goals and objectives we set out to accomplish are happening quickly now. The warning of Dr. Rudy Ffrench and Percy Paris back in 1998 – “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” – is now beginning to bear fruit. On reflection, years later it is clear we did not expect to go in this direction this quickly. With the Business is Jammin’ program now a full-fledged charity, coupled with the amazing results achieved by the three cohorts of participants in the “Contracting the Future” program, and more recently the cultural tourism strategy that will promote Nova Scotia tourism potential, our future is now. We remain focused on our direction, despite the many transitions and succession planning in the organization. Given that focus, we will continue to

Regional Report Central Shakara Russell Yarmouth Community Garden Congratulations to Chuck Smith and the youth gardeners of the Yarmouth Youth Community Garden on the launch of their 2011 garden. This year they have partnered with the TriCounty Women’s Center (TCWC), an organization that offers services to women and girls living in Yarmouth, Digby and Shelburne counties and the garden is located on the SHYFT (Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team) house property in the South End of Yarmouth. The garden will bring youth together to plan the community garden, practice sustainable growing, share in the harvest and celebrate ensure that BBI remains relevant to and supports Black Nova Scotia entrepreneurship across its generational spectrum and within its communities in this twenty-first century. Recently, an internal team (Emma, Mahogany and Keisha) were challenged to search for dynamic leaders to spearhead the way forward. They were given the freedom to be innovative without limiting their thinking. The only condition was it must be excellent and it must be delivered. I can tell you, the three young people (Kenny Duncan, a banker with Scotiabank; Darrin Talbot, Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers; and Monica Njoku, a marketing specialist), they recruited to lead this team are dynamic.

community. The organizers hope to incorporate several African Principles in the running of the garden, e.g. Collective Work, Self -Determination and Co-operative Economics.

Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) With a dozen successful businesses nominated, selecting this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year was difficult. It was exciting to see how companies are thriving with such innovative strategies. As we begin looking to EOY 2012, I thank our 2011 nominees for their contributions to growing the Nova Scotian economy. If you have comments, questions, suggestions, please feel free to contact me at (902) 426-6692 or email Russell. Shakara@bbi.ns.ca . These movers and shakers will form the leadership of the founding Board of the Progressive Roots Network, an initiative to forge a new thinking for business, skilled and innovative types to share ideas and resources. Just maybe the wheel will be invented here. This is the way forward. In the words of Laurence Gonzales author of Everyday Survival: “The way forward is found on a path through the wilderness of the head and heart----reason and emotion. Thinking, knowing, understanding”

S.I. Rustum Southwell, CEO 26 ...

Out with &theAbout BBI

Calgary's first Black Mens Conference

Members of the African Caribbean Coalition of Calgary. ( l to r) Eunice Mahama, Cynthia Lokko, Angela Renwick

Josephine Mazonde and Bayo Ogunbote of AIDS Calgary

(l to r) Tony Lambert, Ian Minnifee, and Andrew Apedoe

Panel of inspiring black men (l to r) Michael Watts, Andrew Apedoe, Chima Nkemdirim (keynote), Ryan Perez

ANSMA Freedom Fest 2011

Members of the New Beginnings Ministry Choir perform

Members of the Africamani Choir perform

Lieutenant Governor’s Site Visits

Rustum Southwell with Jessie Jollymore and Children of the North End Community Garden 27 ...

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis with some participants of the North End Community Garden

Business Development Report Gordon Doe

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis with Mike Duck

CEDIF: Invest in Nova Scotia

Constructing The Future

On the June 16th the Black Business Community Investment Fund held its 8th Annual General Meeting.

Participants in the “Constructing The Future” phase III program have just completed their work placement and are in the final three-week transition phase.

The board saw one of its founding members Lynn Jones resign after eight years of active and positive participation. Lynn was chair of the subsequent offering subcommittee and was very instrumental in bringing new investors to the fund.

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis with Lyndon Hibbert of Caribbean Twist

We also welcomed two new board members Robinah Kakembo and Sylvia Parris. Finally, the board declared its first ever dividend payment of 1.5%. The dividend will be paid by the Fund to the Fund’s shareholders from its net earnings.

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis with Milton Williams of M & A Wood Fuel Services

In March, the fund made an equity investment in a promising NS business called Hoops Innovation. Hoops Innovation owns the rights to their basketball training device called Shotloc. The device is the first of its kind to obtain an NBA license and has received rave endorsements from top players. Visit www.shotloc.com information.

Lieutenant Governor Mayann E. Francis with Randy Fells and Bruce Johnson



This phase ensures that each participant continues to be actively and profitably engaged in the construction sector after the program. At this point, there are 13 participants in the program. They are expected to either enrol in a trade school, start their own small business, or continue working for employers, hopefully as apprentices. Composite Structure Project At this year’s BBI 15th AGM luncheon session, the different BBI affiliated entities signed an MOU under the umbrella of Black Business Enterprises. This concludes seven years of work to design an efficient structure to support the BBI’s sustainability strategy. It is satisfying to me as I have been involved in the project from the start. One pillar of this structure, ADEPA Management, has the mandate to engage the Black Construction Sector through joint partnerships in profitable construction projects.

Phase III Constructing the Future Graduates Gordon Tynes with some of the graduatess w/ Gordon Doe, Joel Marsman & Gordon Tynes 28 ...

Geek Speak with Ross Simmonds

Today we can find hundreds of websites offering business solutions to make things better. Ranging from invoicing to customer relationship management, there aren't many things you could ask for that don’t already exist. Below you will find five websites that are changing the way professionals do business. If you've never heard of or used these sites, they are sure to change your business for the better.

Five Websites That Will Bring New Life to Your Business LinkedIn


More "Likes" and "Pokes" on Facebook will happen by the time you read this sentence than you could imagine. The power of social media has left human interaction on the keys of a laptop and the screen of the desktop. A space that was once considered a place for university students and young people has evolved into a place where business deals can be made and relationships nurtured. Of all the networks, LinkedIn is the primary and most effective place online for professionals to connect. This is the network where the movers and shakers come to play with users’ average income hovering over $87,000 a year.

In a hyper-social world, it isn’t hard to get bogged down with the all the different social networking sites. Ranging from Linkedin to Twitter and Facebook to Flickr – it can all quickly become overwhelming and lead to what I call ‘social media burnout’. A Vancouver-based company has a way to prevent this - it's called Hootsuite, a tool that allows you to manage all of your social media accounts at once.

If you're not on LinkedIn, give it a shot. There are no pictures of guys standing in the mirror with a cell phone. There are no silly invites for games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. LinkedIn simply gives you an opportunity to connect with some of the brightest and most influential figures in business. Whether you're looking to build your professional network or advance your career, this is not the site to miss.

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The application provides you with deep analytics, along with an easy to use interface that will save you hours. You can even schedule your updates and let them go out while you manage other situations in your business. It is the ultimate tool for managing your social networks efficiently and effectively online.

Shopify.com More and more businesses are starting to understand the power and effectiveness of using e-commerce. That is the act of allowing your customers to make a transaction with the click of their mouse through a website. Shopify is an easy to use and very cost-

UnBounce.com This is one of the most intelligent web applications I have come across in a long time. Unbounce is a website that allows you to better optimize your businesses landing page (home page) to test what is most important to your visitors. Landing pages have become extremely important in e-commerce because they are the first page your customers will see. If your landing page is not optimized for business objectives you're missing out on a key opportunity. This service provides you with the tools you need to create a landing page without knowing anything about code or programming. Once you create the page you can use this site to run simple tests that will allow you to better optimize for higher conversion rates. It's essentially a business owner’s dream as your customer acquisition costs will decrease and your revenue will increase.

Grooveshark In the movie The Social Network you will constantly see programmers and computer engineers focused on their work with headphones on. For most professionals, we are the most

effective and efficient when we have little to no distractions. The best way that I've found to limit distractions is the act of being "wired-in". In other words, getting in the zone, focusing on your work and enjoying some tunes. The music I listen to just so happens to come from a free website called Grooveshark. Grooveshark acts similar to iTunes but in the cloud (cyberspace). Not only can you create your own playlists with everything from Barry White to Lil Wayne, you can do it all for free. There is a paid version that you can download to your desktop and smart phone. But for me, the web version is sufficient. The site is easy to use and you are able to search by album, artist or song. All in all, this is most certainly one of the apps that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys music and getting things done. If you’re stumped by a newfangled device or have a query about something you heard or read about, please email bbi@bbi.ns.ca and your question may be answered in an upcoming issue.

Ross Simmonds Rosssimmonds.com Ross Simmonds holds degrees in Marketing and Human Resources/ Industrial Relations from Saint Mary's University. The East Preston native also owns his own digital marketing company targeting small to medium sized businesses and is part of the digital marketing team at Halifax advertising agency, Colour.


efficient way for anyone to start a digital storefront within minutes. The site is very intuitive and has all the bells and whistles that you need to run an effective digital store. Unlike many websites that offers this service, Shopify is one that will give business owners a very professional e-commerce website with little or no programming experience.

Regional Report Northern

Njabulo Nkala I would like to start by bringing your attention to this year’s Marcus Garvey Days Festival started this year on August 19th at the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A) Cultural Museum in Glace Bay. The historic festival is a funfilled four day event celebrating the life of Marcus Garvey, the founder of the movement. I also want to highlight two new businesses that opened in the last few months. Angela Cromwell opened Ansena Hair Salon and Extensions adjacent the Pictou County Co-op store on 451A Merigomish Road in New Glasgow. Through hard work, sacrifice and refusal to take no for an answer, Ms Cromwell accomplished her long-term dream of owning her own salon. In Dartmouth, Jason and Arisa Jackson opened The Passage to the Caribbean Restaurant on 760 Main Street, serving tasty Caribbean cuisine in a delightful tropical setting (read more about them in this issue). I urge everyone to support these and other Black businesses as their success belongs to us all. For more information or to schedule a regional visit, you can reach me at (902) 426-4281 or via email: nkala.njabulo@bbi.ns.ca 30 ...

Community & Business Events

September 2011

Africentric Research and Policy -New Masters Cohort in Studies in Lifelong Learning

Mount Saint Vincent University www.msvu.ca/site/media/msvu/afriinfo.pdf September 22 - 24

2011 African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference and Associated Events

For info/registration: http://adht2011.com / 424-5555 / ansa_newsletter@gov.ns.ca September 22-25

International African Bazaar

Sackville Landing, Halifax Free and open to the public - 30 booths For info: jkanyamunyu@gmail.com; 446-2890 Thursday, September 22 12 Noon Reopening of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia 10 Cherry Brook R, Cherry Brook, NS 6:30 pm - Welcome Reception Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax Waterfront Friday, September 23 8:30 am Welcome Opening, Parade of Flags - WTCC 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Conference Sessions

6:30 pm - Telling African Canadian Stories Lawrence Hill, George Elliott Clarke and Anthony Sherwood World Trade and Convention Centre, Halifax Open to the public

9:00pm - Concert in the Festival Tent Halifax Waterfront Saturday, September 24 8:30 am – 4:00 pm Conference Sessions 6:30 pm Closing Gala – WTCC September 24

Word on the Street

Halifax Waterfront 11 am – 5 pm For info: www.thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/halifax September 25

Africville Seaview Church Museum Grand Opening Details: TBD www.africville.ca

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October 16 – 22

Small Business Week - Power Up Your Business. Invest. Innovate. Grow.

For info/events: 1 877 BDC-BANX (232-2269) October 20

Business to Business Expo

World Trade & Convention Centre 10 am – 5 pm Free to attend For info: www.halifaxchamber.com October 22 – 23

35th Anniversary - Lake Loon Cherry Brook

Seniors Dinner: October 22 – 5:30 at the Saint John Anglican Church Hall - $20.00 Church Service: October 23 – 3:00 at the Cherry Brook Baptist Church For info: Alma Johnston, 434-1829 October 25

Halifax Chamber of Commerce - Annual Fall Dinner

World Trade & Convention Centre 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS 5:00pm-9:30pm For info: 902-481-1234; kristen@halifaxchamber.com November 18-20

Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council Christmas Show Cunard Centre, Halifax Waterfront Info: http://www.nsdcc.ns.ca/main/Christmas_ market.html December 1

Black Business Initiative’s 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel 1919 Upper Water Street, Halifax For info: 495-6190; dynamicresults@ymail.com January 26, 2012

Halifax Business Awards

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Reception: 5:00– 10:00pm For info: 481-1234; kristen@halifaxchamber.com

To Submit items for Community & Business Events, please Contact: Beverley Parker: (902) 426-8683; Fax: 426-8699 or email bbi@bbi.ns.ca

The Way Forward

The Black Business Initiative’s

15th Anniversary

Gala Dinner Thursday, December 1st, 2011 Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, 1919 Upper Water Street, Halifax


For More Information, Please Contact: Dynamic Results Event Management 495-6190 or via email: dynamicresults@ymail.com

The Way Forward 2010 -11 BBI Annual General Meeting & Gala

Thank You to our Sponsors

Canadian Youth Business Foundation S&J Consulting Encana Nova Scotia Community College

Black Educators Association RBC Halifax Regional School Board Design North

If undeliverable return to: The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Publications Mail Agreement No.


numĂŠro de convention

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Profile for Metro Guide Publishing

Black to Business – Issue 51 – Summer 2011  

Black to Business – Issue 51 – Summer 2011