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S P R I N G 2 0 17

Also in this issue:  Black Business Summit  Women Making Moves  Successful Entrepreneurs

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

Black 2 Business

Issue 64 • Spring 2017

is the official periodical of The Black Business Initiative

Message from the BBI Chair


Its goal is to support the BBI as it fosters a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia Business Community.

Message from the BBI Interim CEO


Cover Story: Viola Desmond - Business Woman


TRAILBLAZERS - Women Making Moves


GEEK SPEAK - Instagram Marketing


Under the Bridge Digital Media


Meet the BBI Board - Two of our Directors


BBI Strategic Framework


Mental Health Advocate - Tyler Simmonds


Sector Partners - Provincial Culture Action Plan


CNC Auto Parts - Cornell Marsman


BBI Training Schedule and Report


Entrepreneur Toolkit




Meet the BBI Staff - Rodger Smith


Step Above Stigma - Ampai Thammachack


Meet the BBI Staff - Amber Grosse


Community & Business Events


For Advertising Information, Rates, Submitting Story Ideas, Notices or Community Events, and for more Information, call: 902-426-8683 Publisher: The Black Business Initiative Editor in Chief: Rustum Southwell, BBI Creative Director: Dan O'Brien, Design North - Halifax Coordinator / Managing Editor: Angela Johnson Mirabliss Media Productions Cover Art: Dan O'Brien

The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Phone: 902.426.8683 Fax: 902.426.8699 Toll Free: 1.888.664.9333 E-mail: bbi@bbi.ns.ca

w w w. b b i . ca


On the cover: Viola Desmond - Business Woman, see her story on page 3.

Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687





The Black Business Initiative 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 focuses on supporting business starts, growth and business attraction to Nova Scotia. The BBI also places priority on supporting Black owned firms to improve productivity, invest in strategic innovations and enhance regional and global competitiveness.


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. The BBI and its broad scope of economic development activities is currently funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), project funding, corporate donations, fundraising and commercial activity initiated across BBI's composite group of companies. 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 Black-owned businesses.

The Black Business Initiative Cynthia Dorrington, Chair, BBI


n Langston Hughes’s

p o e m “ H a r l e m” he asks;

"What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?... Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?” Following your dreams is meant to be frightening, it’s why it’s called a leap of faith. Following your dreams requires making a list of pro’s and con’s and jumping, after that careful consideration. A lot can happen in that jump before your feet touch ground again: your mind can swirl with self-doubt; you can worry that the ground in which you hope to land upon will be unstable; the time in the air may seem endless before your feet, once again, rest softly on the ground.

No change can be made without risk, but the Black Business Initiative is there for our clients, and for the community, to see it through. The BBI teaches clients to identify the risk, focus on the opportunity and offers tools on how to mitigate any roadblocks. More importantly, the BBI encourages clients to articulate their dreams and propel them forward, for your successes leave a lasting footprint on this province and enhances the legacy our community leaves behind. Respectfully,

Cynthia Dorrington BBI, Board Chair

For the past 20 years, the Black Business Initiative has been coaching and mentoring African Nova Scotian men and women to successfully leap, and in turn, grow the economy of the province and increase prosperity in our communities. We’ve supported young entrepreneurs and provided them with the acumen and skills required to nurture their dream into a business. We’ve worked with established businesses as they moved from local to global, and we’ve helped many men and women shift from having a job to a lasting career. But change does not exist in a vacuum, it’s achieved through opportunities and strategic partnerships. For example, the BBI program Constructing the Future saw an opportunity for African Nova Scotian growth in skilled trades. We formed alliances with key groups in this sector, like the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), so that clients with the right tools could build capacity and open a window to a new world. And we’ll continue to work for the next 20 years to make connections like these to leverage opportunities for our community. A leap, regardless of its size, can change lives, and the ripple effect of one small change can be felt as near as

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our partners as well as the far-reaching corners of Nova Scotia. The impact of the Black Business Initiative can be seen in how a family grows, through a shift in working conditions, to an increase in income – we’re proud to be continually broadening the sphere of impact and influence of Black Nova Scotians in this province and around the world.

Black Business Initiative

“Changing Lives by Enabling Economic Independence”

The Black Business Initiative S.I. Rustum Southwell, Interim CEO, BBI


t was fifteen months ago that I

was asked to return on an interim basis to run the Black Business Initiative. I retired in 2012 but had been at the helm as the founding CEO from its inception twenty years ago. Yes, twenty years ago. During the early days, we were asked to climb mountains, many times in our bare feet, and still we persisted.

Therefore, I expected my second time around in this leadership role to be less complex and easier to manage, but within a few days back in the fold, it became obvious that we were still in the middle of a long uphill march to inclusion. All the initial issues identified in the 1995 ‘Taskforce’ report were still present, albeit at varying levels, along with some new challenges. We were continuing the fight to overcome them and doing it with much less resources. Our primary goal is still to build a dynamic and vibrant Black business community; we’re refreshing our objectives to adapt to an ever changing and challenging economic reality. We are strengthening the processes that hold us accountable to stakeholders and help us to stay focused on our core business – changing lives by enabling economic independence – and this we do, in part, by helping Black entrepreneurs develop the tools and skills they need to achieve excellence. As the premier Black business development organization in Canada, the BBI, since inception, has been tirelessly working toward closing the gap between aspiring and existing African Nova Scotian entrepreneurs who are working to create prosperity within their community and the mainstream business sector. Although conditions over the past year have tested our confidence, we have created a roadmap to sustainability and prosperity in our new three-year strategic plan. In this plan, we present new ways to engage entrepreneurs, and have them included in the supply chain and markets that are sometimes difficult for them to enter. While we are aware that we represent small firms in a small market, our position is that we have capable entrepreneurs and businesses with the right ideas and products to supply a global market as well. It is therefore very important that we remain entrepreneurial and not purely administrative in focus, and continue to develop progressive programs and strategies to create and grow strong, prosperous companies.

change the way we do business, and adapt to remain relevant and thrive; in essence, disrupting our business model. We are building a world-class business development model that connects people to entrepreneurship opportunities and enables the next generation to build successful businesses. We intend to engage them early; taking them on our shoulders and lifting them to success. The essence of BBI’s existence is to serve as a facilitator. Our connection with both private and public sector partners and our expertise in business management and government relations, allows our agency to be a catalyst for small business growth. History compels us to be entrepreneurial and hardworking just to survive. Our current economic environment requires that we drastically change the way we do business, and the time is RIGHT NOW! Our business owners are the motivated ‘risk-takers’, the ‘doers’ and the ‘makers of things’ who come to us in search of the roadmap to business and personal success. By engaging them through an enhanced portfolio of training, education, networking, counseling, coaching and advisory programs and services, we are raising the quality of the Black business owners in Nova Scotia. Our aim is to leave people feeling inspired, empowered and supported. And we choose to do it RIGHT and to do it NOW!!! Respectfully,

S.I. Rustum Southwell BBI, Interim CEO

Black Business Initiative

Now is the time for us to embrace the idea that our sustainability and growing impact requires that we rethink how we work and who we serve. The business environment necessitates that we continually

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Cover Story by: Michael Lightstone

Activist, Trailblazer &



iola Desmond

will likely always be remembered as a forward-looking civil rights pioneer during Nova Scotia’s backward, racial segregation era. Viola Desmond, in her studio, circa 1938.

(Wanda Robson Collection, Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University)

But before her principled stand against a discriminatory seating arrangement in a New Glasgow movie theatre, the businesswoman was a busy entrepreneur focusing on growing her commercial cosmetics and hair-care enterprises. Desmond received her ‘beauty’ training outside the province and upon her return she sold her own line of hair and skin products across Nova Scotia, and later ran a beauty school and beauty parlour in Halifax. She was a successful beautician, hairstylist and mentor to many young Black women seeking to emulate her business savvy. Entrepreneur Tracey L. Crawley says Desmond’s business legacy is one that “set such a high standard” for those who followed in her footsteps. “The beauty of it all is that she shared her knowledge and skills with young Black women, training them up, which expanded her business and offered opportunities of employment and entrepreneurship for these ladies,” says Crawley, owner of Crowning Glory Hair Studio Plus in Dartmouth. “She broke boundaries and empowered women of all ages, while persevering in the challenging times of that period in history.” Prior to the now-famous incident inside the theatre in 1946, which happened during a business trip derailed by car trouble, Desmond showed entrepreneurial leadership that, according to the Nova Scotia Archives, inspired other Black women in the province.

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“At a time when few women owned and operated independent businesses, she was admired as outstanding for her time,” an online entry from the archives says. “Her eager graduates began their own careers and joined the distribution network for Viola Desmond’s brand of beauty products.”

Tracey Crawley, Crowing Glory Hair Studio Plus. (photo: Paul Adams)

Graduates of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture were given the opportunity to acquire marketable skills they couldn’t learn elsewhere: Black women were denied access back then to whites-only training schools that provided similar instruction to their students. (Desmond had to get her own career training in Montreal, Atlantic City, N.J., and New York.)

Robson said Desmond decided to show other women in the community interested in business that “they can do this, even if it isn’t in beauty culture. It could be something else, but they could do it.” Entrepreneurship was her strong suit and her cosmetology business prospered. A small newspaper advertisement from 1947 shows Desmond prudently used a key customer-service tool of the day. “MAIL ORDERS PROMPTLY FILLED!,” it says.

Crawley says Desmond not only possessed business acumen, she was a visionary. “Clearly, she was strategic in planning her achievements,” Crawley says. “How do you know when you arrive at your destination, if you don’t know where you’re going?” Wanda Robson, who remembers her late sister as polite and dignified, feels Desmond was a trailblazer not only in the field of human rights, but in the business world, too. The hard-working woman was ahead of her time, Robson has told reporters over the years. “She was a successful businesswoman,” Robson told a TV interviewer in Halifax in 2010. “She bought a car, made her own products,” sold them and ran her beauty salon. Seventy years ago, it was rare for a Black woman to own her own vehicle, Robson has said. She said during the television broadcast that Black women in Halifax in the 1940s “had no place to go for (face) powder, for hair – even getting their hair done. There was no place except Viola’s.” Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond's sister. (©Cape Breton Post)

Desmond didn’t start out as a business operator, Robson recalls in the 2016 book, Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land. She earned her teacher’s certificate and taught at a segregated school in Upper Hammonds Plains, outside Halifax. “At about this same time, Viola read an article about Madam C.J. Walker who was a pioneer (in the United States) in developing beauty products for Black women,” Robson says in the book, co-authored by Graham Reynolds, a professor emeritus from Cape Breton University. “The success of Madam Walker inspired Viola, and Madam C.J. Walker (in the 1930s) she began (A’Lelia Bundles/Madam Walker saving her teaching salary Family Archives) so she could pay for the training she needed to become a beautician,” she says. Later, Desmond’s clients included Truro-born Portia White, an international opera singer, and Gwen Jenkins, who was the first Black nurse in Nova Scotia, Robson, a North Sydney resident, says in the book. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana in 1867, had parents and siblings who’d been slaves in the U.S. South. She became a self-made millionaire. continued >

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Viola Desmond, continued from page 4

And the Rest is History...

Desmond modelled herself after Walker, who died in 1919, and was determined to cover similar ground north of the border. She envisioned a beauty business empire stretching across Canada. “She said: ‘That’s what I want to do. That’s who I want to be,’” Robson told a CBS-TV presenter, in a nationally-televised broadcast that aired on Feb. 28, about Walker’s influence on her sister. “This lady was way before (Desmond’s) time,” Robson added. At a public appearance in January in Montreal, where decades earlier Desmond had studied at Field Beauty Culture School, Robson said her sister was “always driven for her goal."

Desmond died in 1965 at age 50. Her brave opposition to racist seating rules in the Roseland Theatre in post-war New Glasgow, and subsequent unjust legal trouble, went unrecognized for many years (after initially garnering public attention), but have now reached iconic status in Canada. Among other things, she was given a posthumous pardon by the province of Nova Scotia and issued a public apology.

Consultant Ann Divine, founder and chief executive officer of Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services in Halifax, said Desmond’s ability as a businesswoman was superior on several levels.

Desmond’s image graces a Canadian postage stamp, a Halifax Transit ferry is named in her honour, she’s among six bigotry fighters profiled in a National

She said Desmond would have to

Ann Divine, founder and chief executive have been an excellent researcher, officer of Ashanti Leadership and Professional networker, and negotiator and a Development Services.

scientist, as well. Also, like many entrepreneurs, she was a risk-taker.

Divine, who provides leadership development and other professional skills advice to clients, called Desmond “one of those rare gems” who carried a lot of weight with succeeding generations. “Viola Desmond broke the mold. She shattered the glass ceiling,” she said. “So, therefore, she will always be prominently featured in my training sessions from now on.”

Viola Desmond speaking at graduation, circa 1945. (Wanda Robson Collection, Beaton Institute)

Divine said the Black Business Initiative and RBC Centre for Women in Business, at Mount Saint Vincent University, should join forces “and have some kind of award in honour of Viola Desmond, that you pass on to women. Because there isn’t anything that recognizes African-Canadian women who are doing business.”

An example of determination and perseverance, Desmond grew up in a large, middle-class family in which the father was black and her mother was white. She “developed a strong independent character,” Reynolds notes in the nonfiction book he worked on with Robson. Her future, he says in the book, lay outside the conventional employment opportunities for women during that period.

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Film Board documentary and the federal government announced last year the $10 bill featuring Desmond is to make its debut in 2018. She’ll become the first Canadian woman to be feted on the face of this country’s currency. In February 2015, Desmond was the inaugural honouree marking Nova Scotia Heritage Day, a holiday that takes place during African Heritage Month. n

8 Annual th

Business Is Jammin’ Golf Tournament

FRIDAY, September 22, 2017 Grandview Golf & Country Club

for more information:

Paul.Rukidi@bbi.ns.ca 902-478-6476


Making Moves

IIngrid Waldron,

by: Nicole de Gier

n this issue of Black 2 Business we are featuring two women who are blazing trails in the tradition of Viola Desmond.

Ph. D • Tackling Forces Stronger Than Nature Paul Adams

her to environmental racism and changed the course of her career.


“I was hesitant at first. The topic was foreign to me and it could have a steep learning curve,” she said, “but I also saw a new challenge. It was different and I wanted something different.” That chance meeting led to the development of the ENRICH project of which Waldron is the director. ENRICH is an acronym for Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health. Environmental racism is the disproportionate location of industrial polluters such as landfills, trash incinerators, coal plants, toxic waste facilities and other hazardous activities near communities of colour and working poor. In the past few years, the ENRICH Project has gained support from university students, local environmental activists and politicians. Yet, despite the movement forward, Waldron is constantly aware that the burden of the Project’s success lay on her shoulders. “As a Black woman, there are certain expectations,” she explains. “White people do not perceive me a leader, so I must be more consistent, more responsive – I hold myself to a high standard. I need to preserve, or the Project will lose all meaning.”


rofessor Ingrid Waldron is a force. With a Ph. D in Sociology and Equity Studies that focused on the sociology of health and inequality of Black women in mental health, she is intelligent, kind and earnest.

Waldron explains that every year she sets new milestones and expects new achievements. In 2015, with the support of Member of the Legislative Assembly Lenore Zann, the ENRICH Project introduced Bill 111, An Act to Address Environmental Racism. It didn’t reach legislation, but it was the first Bill of its type in Canada.

Waldron had been praying for a change – to continue her career in a quieter place outside of Toronto – when she saw a job advertisement for a sociologist at Dalhousie University in 2008.

Next on the agenda is developing an environmental bill of rights, with race as the main pillar. And in addition to working on legislation to enable change, the ENRICH Project is grassroots and facilitates community empowerment.

“It was a third-party Bill, I didn’t expect it to pass, but it was a start and I want to resurrect it and do more,” said Waldron.

She was happily settled in her new life in Halifax when a “We’re building capacity in the community, but we’re also chance meeting with a local activist in 2012 introduced giving hope.” n

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Juanita Peters •

Bard of the African Nova Scotian Experience “People may not think about how a similar event in their life may have played out in the African Nova Scotian community,” she said. “The fact that our ancestors might not have diaries because they were punished for trying to read or write has not stopped us from telling our stories.” As an example, she shares that before the turn of the twentieth century, her great-great uncle was jailed for selling water at the July 1 fair in Weymouth. “He was charged with selling something that was already ‘free,’ ” said Peters. “Years later, corporations are making millions by selling that same commodity, and even worse...they brand it as though it could truly be theirs.” Much more than shedding light on life in the African Nova Scotian community, Peters also enjoys adding the nuance of gender to the stories she shares by exploring the differences in everyday experiences of women versus Black women. “As a woman, there is still so much to weigh in on. The limitless ways in which women have created, carved, molded and protected the futures of men and women has never been fully acknowledged,” she said. “Now let's make those same women Black and see how the stories differ.” But the intricacy in Peters’ storytelling technique lay in her modest approach; she pens carefully and thoughtfully, allowing the words and characters to transform for the audience. “I love it when I hear someone say, ‘I never thought of that,’” said Peters. n


uanita Peters is a multi-hyphenate: actor-playwright-film director-communications consultant. Her talent with words and language, coupled with her inquisitive nature, were realized at a young age. “I was given a cassette recorder for my ninth birthday and that became one of the most important instruments in shaping my life and career,” she said. “My mom would get embarrassed that I would ask so many questions, and often to people I may not have known.” By age 12, Peters had moved on from interviewing family members and creating characters to using her cassette recorder as a tool to gather information. She explains, “I never really looked at it as creative work, it was just something I was interested in and compelled to do.” Peters’ role in African Nova Scotian storytelling is a place she arrived at gradually as she evolved her craft. Her goal was to tell universal stories, with an African Nova Scotian lens applied.


N /19 ORY U NO 2018IRECT




Update Your Listing or Get Listed! Contact us today to get listed:

Phone: 902-426-8683 Email: bbi@bbi.ns.ca Deadline: Friday, June 30, 2017

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How to Market on


t the beginning of 2017,

Instagram has more than 600 million monthly active users and 400 million daily active users. The growth that Instagram has made over the last few years is an indication that this is a channel that is filled with potential and marketing opportunities for brands. 1. Optimize Your Instagram Account. The best brand Instagram accounts have a compelling bio, memorable profile picture and a connected website that drives to their homepage. It’s one of the first things you have to set up for your account but it’s also one of the first things people look at before deciding to follow you or not. Make your bio descriptive, compelling and don’t be afraid to use emojis. 2. Follow Industry Relevant Accounts. Think about the types of brands, media companies or people in your industry that are already using Instagram and go find them. Follow their accounts and interact with their last few posts by pressing like or leaving a comment. These accounts might follow you back and help you get started with your initial audience.

Ross Simmonds Hustle and Grind hustleandgrind.co www. rosssimmonds.com


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3. Find Popular Hashtags in Your Industry. “Many people on Instagram use hashtags as a way of finding new photos and new people to follow.” said Jason Quey in a recent piece on Instagram Marketing. Each day, thousands of hashtags are shared on Instagram. At first glance it might seem overwhelming but Jason offers some great advice on the topic: “Look through the pictures posted by influencers in your niche. What hashtags do they use? Write these down as potential hashtags to use.”

Geek Speak

Grow Your Account by: Ross Simmonds

4. Get Shout Outs From Others. Nathan Chan who co-founded an online magazine for entrepreneurs called Foundr suggests that brands leverage the power of influencers to grow their account. Nathan was able to grow his account from 0 to 110k followers in five months by building relationships with bigger accounts and having them promote his page on theirs. Chan suggests that you “research the popular accounts that are relevant in your field, reach out to them to see if they’ll be willing to do an Instagram shoutout for you, and how much that will cost.” As you conduct this outreach, build a spreadsheet that highlights the different accounts you’ve reached out to, their follower count and the price they’re looking to charge. 5. Share Your Posts on Instagram Regularly. Johnathan Long of Domination Media makes a great point when talking about Instagram on Entrepreneur stating “you want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant” while also warning, “you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they unfollow your account.” One of the most frequently asked questions about Instagram is how frequently a brand should post. While many brands try to put a number on it, the reality is that what works best for one brand doesn’t always work for the next. Run your own experiments and determine the best frequency for your audience. 6. Use Hashtags in the Comment Section. One of the most underrated tricks in the book for Instagram market is the usage of hashtags in the comments instead of main post. Rather than stuffing your posts caption with a handful

of hashtags and giving the perception of reach desperation – comment with the hashtags after pressing share. The impact is the same except your caption doesn’t look as bad! 7. Run Instagram Contests. “A good contest can hands down be one of the best ways to drive new followers & activity on your Instagram account.” says Stuart McKeown one of the co-founders of Gleam. io. “Instagram has the flexibility to allow you to just run your contest on your feed, the advantage of this is that it’s easy to setup & encourages participation via Instagram.” The downside to contests on Instagram is that it can be quite challenging to test. That’s why Stuart also suggests you use the link your bio as a place to send your followers and have them enter another contest. Sites like Gleam.io offer an easy to build contest form that will serve all your needs for a random draw with a social sharing component. 8. Tell Your Followers to Like Your Content. “Tell People to Double Tap If They Agree,” is the recommendation I gave when sharing a few Instagram Tips on Jay Baer‘s Convince & Convert blog. It’s a simple idea that asks your followers to tap a photo twice which results in a post like. That means the post will be shown to more people because of the Instagram Algorithm and show in the activity feed. 9. Build Relationships with Other Influential Accounts. The fastest way to grow an Instagram account is by engaging accounts with a larger following than you and having them promote your account. If you’re already creating great content, you might not have to pay them to give you a shout out. You might be able to

get organic shout outs simply by building a quality relationship with an influencer. 10. Comment on Photos From Other Accounts. When talking about his own Instagram Experiment, Neil Patel shared an assumption proved false. “I thought it would be enough just to like other people’s pictures in order for them to follow me and like my photos. As it turned out, I got way more interaction when I commented on other users’ photos then when I merely liked them.” As Instagram has grown in popularity, people have become less surprised and flattered by likes. As a result, brands who are looking to truly stand out will need to take it a step further by leaving comments. 11. Use Instagram Stories on the Regular. There are plenty of great ways to promote your brand with Instagram Stories. If you’re not familiar with Instagram Stories, it’s a section on Instagram where you can share temporary video clips or

images that all of your followers can see but the content disappears within 24 hours. The approach is a direct spin-off of Snapchat Stories. When using Instagram stories, consider mixing static content that you may find on your camera roll with content happening in the moment. Don’t forget to also use strategies like collaborating with other Instagram accounts and taking over their stories to reach an even broader audience. 12. Use Both Images & Video Content. Dara Fontein of Hootsuite suggests that both video and photos when sharing content on Instagram is an important content marketing mix. Dara shared that “Instagram videos see twice the engagement rate of photos” showing that video content is a great investment for brands looking to catch the attention of their audience. When thinking about your Instagram video content, she also suggests that you “create clear,

fun, and engaging videos that people are going to want to tag their friends in.” Creating images or videos that inspire people to tag their friends is a great way to drive virality for your account. As friends tag other friends, the content officially starts to spread like wildfire and take on a life of its own! 13. Run Instagram Ads. One of the best parts of Instagram is the fact that it shares data with Facebook. As a result, you have the ability to use the advanced psychographic & demographic targeting offered on Facebook with Instagram as well. If you want to target people who live in a specific country and follow a specific band, you can do exactly that using Facebook Ads Manager. Instagram advertising offers photo based advertising in a square or vertical format and video ads in a square or landscape format. Most recently, Instagram also launched a carousel feature which offers an even more dynamic advertising experience on Instagram. Conclusion As Instagram continues to grow as a significant player in the marketing world, brands are beginning to take notice. If you have yet to begin leveraging Instagram, there’s never been a better time to start. Take these 13 tips on How To Market On Instagram as a starting point and use them to stand out in your industry. n


BBI and the Black Business Summit on your 20th Anniversary!

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Under the Bridge Digital Media

by: Abena Green Paul Adams

There are bridges in Halifax, New York, San Francisco, and all over the world. It made sense because it didn’t just tie us to one city or one place.” Since launching in 2015, the team has had the opportunity to work with clients across the province in retail, property management and radio stations. Most recently, they won a contract with Atlantic University Sports ( AUS). Burgesson says that it’s a good feeling, albeit surreal, to work with the clients they’ve had, and to have them return and recommend UTB to others. These, he says, are the types of clients he envisioned working with when he started the business.

Alfred Burgesson Under the Bridge Digital Media info@utbdigital.com

902-302-9952 utbdigital.com



lfred Brugesson is co-founder and CEO of Under the Bridge Media, a new Halifax-based company that provides marketing strategy, campaigns and content and for businesses and brands. Along with offering quality services, the company’s goals are to give millennials the opportunity to work in this field. “You’re not really trusted in this industry unless you have tons of years of experience but in this case, we have

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very talented people who are great strategists and content producers.” Burgesson, along with Jeremy Macavoy, started the business in 2015. In considering how he could make an income while attending university, he thought back to his experience in Halifax Grammar’s junior achievement program. “I was vice president of marketing and that gave me the first taste of being in structured organization, working on a year-round project with my classmates. I enjoyed that. Marketing was the first thing that came to mind.” He reached out to Macavoy to be his partner and Macavoy agreed, bringing along video production skills as well as the idea for the business name. “When I first met Jeremy, he lived on shore road in Dartmouth. His front yard view was of the water and of the bridge. We played around with a few names and he always had this slogan UTB and said ‘I think we should call it that.’

“Having a vision of where you want to go is a must. You can’t start something without some sort of path in mind. And the vision isn’t the end point. You can always level up. Your vision can grow as you move along.” Two of Burgesson’s influences are Ross Simmonds- digital strategist, marketing consultant, author and speaker; and Garry Vanderchuck- investor and a business builder and owner of Vander Media. “The main thing I get from both of them is just to do it. I know sometimes in this industry some people look down on you, especially when you are starting out. You have to gain that respect. So [I’ve learned you have to] do more of what you like to do and network with as many people as possible. See everyone you meet as a client. See what they are doing, how they are doing it and if you can help them do it better” Burgesson is also grateful to BBI’s Emmanuel Itiveh for his guidance and advice and pleased with what his team has been able to accomplish thus far. “We’re proving ourselves and our work is speaking for itself. It’s generating results for our clients and this is why we love what we do.” n

Meet the BBI Board Two of our Directors Barbara Manning

Ross Simmonds

Board Member

Board Member Barbara is an accomplished Business Leader and Entrepreneur. She is the founder of MillerManning, a consulting firm focusing on Business Growth and Strategy. She is a strong proponent of Businesses reinventing themselves by creating innovative Business Models. Barbara is the past CEO and President of GenieKnows Inc, an international online marketing and software development firm and Vice President of the Beckfoot Group, an international business consulting firm. Barbara received her Bachelor of Arts and Education degrees from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1991, she concluded a teaching career of 11 years to obtain an MBA with a focus on International Marketing.

Barbara currently serves as a Director of the Halifax Convention Centre and as a Director of the Black Business Consulting Board. Barbara is a past Director of the Greater Halifax Partnership, past Chairperson of the Black Business Initiative, a past member of Revenue Canada’s Small Business Advisory Committee on both the Atlantic and National levels, and a past member of the Nova Scotia Law Foundation. Barbara was the Honorary Consul for Barbados in Halifax and is a member of the Women President’s Organization, an international organization whose mission is to improve business conditions for female entrepreneurs. Barbara is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Over the last few years, Ross Simmonds has been committed to helping businesses and brands achieve meaningful results through content marketing. Getting his first taste of digital marketing while running online businesses in University, Ross took this passion and turned it into his career. As a digital marketing strategist, Ross has worked closely with some of the fastest growing startups and some of the most recognizable brands on the Fortune 500 list of businesses.  In addition to working with brands through his consulting & content marketing business, Ross is the co-founder of two startups: Crate, which is a content curation tool for marketers and, Hustle & Grind, an e-commerce brand for entrepreneurs.  With a passion for execution, Ross strives to practice what he preaches by constantly experimenting with new channels and sharing his findings. In 2016, he was named one of the Top Snapchat Marketers to follow by Mashable and his work on Slideshare has been viewed nearly 2 million times. Ross regularly speaks at marketing conferences around the world and has been published in Forbes, VentureBeat, CBC, Social Media Examiner, HuffPo and more. n

Barbara has been involved in several international trade missions. She was a member of the first Canadian business delegation accompanying the Governor General to China in 1994, and in 1998 served as a member of an Information Technology mission to Washington, DC. She participated in the first joint US and Canadian Women’s Conference on Entrepreneurship being held at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. and was selected to accompany a World Trade READY TO START YOUR BUSINESS? Mission out of Montreal to Washington, DC WE HELP CANADIANS AGED 18-39 LAUNCH THEIR OWN BUSINESSES. whose objective was to determine ways in which Canadian companies could access a greater share of contracts with the World Bank. Barbara is a recipient of the Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence, Progress Women of Excellence, YMCA of Halifax Outstanding Volunteer and an Initiative Award from the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association as well as being an Honorary Recipient of a diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College (IT campus). n




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Black Business Initiative

Strategic Framework | 2017-20 BBI serves as an effective accelerator for the inclusion and growth of Black-owned businesses in the Nova Scotian economy, serving the community in ways that no one else can. Entrepreneurship is at the heart of our mission. We build prosperous communities by creating a shift in the economic culture and reality for minority businesses, thereby changing lives by enabling economic independence and investing in growth for the future. Our entrepreneurs are the motivated “risk-takers”, the “doers” and the “makers of things” who come to us in search of the roadmap to business and personal success. By engaging them through an enhanced portfolio of training, educational, networking, counselling, coaching and advisory programs and services, we are raising the quality of the Black business owners in Nova Scotia. Our aim is to leave people feeling inspired, empowered and supported. We want to be known for creating dynamic communities through connections.

Our Purpose Changing Lives by Enabling Economic Independence.

Our Vision A dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia business community. 13 ...

Our qualified staff team is connected to the community, the business sector and stakeholders, providing strategic input and direction and fostering economic growth.

Our Mission To positively influence the Nova Scotia business culture by promoting and assisting in the development of Nova Scotia Black owned businesses.

Innovative Opportunities

Over the next three years, BBI’s commitment to serving the Black community will not waiver. However, in striving to be a world-class organization, opportunities to expand the communities we serve and the scope of our focus will be explored. We intend to build prosperous communities by creating a shift in the economic culture and reality for minority businesses. Finding new ways of doing things means breaking the mould and disrupting our business model. Innovation will be woven into the DNA of how we operate. We will effectively use different technologies and design better programs and services for our clients. We will move boundaries and seek new frontiers in order to give our clients access to new markets, as well as non-traditional sectors and additional resources.

What if...? • Every entrepreneur could get their own Angel? • Black businesses could create and grow other Black businesses? • We could invest in and grow minority businesses?

The Opportunities Include: • Robust mentorship program • Direct access to venture capital • Emphasis on entrepreneurial development and business impact • New partnerships and Pan-Atlantic Canada focus • New immigrant businesses • Online crowdsourcing platform • Modern Merchant Bank • Investing in growth for the future 14 ...

Mental Health Advocate Tyler Simmonds

by: Michael Lightstone Paul Adams

10 years ago, and the 27-year-old Dartmouth resident is dealing with various life-affirming activities at the same time. Simmonds said h e ’s e m p l oye d part-time as a peer suppor t worker for young people with mental health issues, is working on a film documentary about masculinity and regularly does public speaking that promotes mental health awareness. In March, he was scheduled to be a speaker at an event at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax covering such topics as youth employment, student bullying and the importance of science and math.


yler Simmonds

Tyler Simmonds www. tylersimmonds .com


is a man who’s quite used to jug-

gling his work, creative projects, motivational speaking and mental health advocacy. Toss in management of his anxiety and depression, which were diagnosed

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Needless to say, time management is a crucial component of this stage of Simmonds’s life. “It is a challenge,” he said in an interview in late February. Simmonds said he provides peer support at Laing House in Halifax, to teenagers and people in their 20s living with emotional problems. He acknowledged it’s an element of his routine about which he’s passionate. “This is something that I can literally do all day, and that’s not healthy – to do it 24/7,” Simmonds said. “But it’s my character. I’m really just someone who loves to give peer support, I’m

someone that loves to inspire people. Even if this wasn’t a job, I would love to do it for free, really.” One of the creative outlets Simmonds has tapped into is documentary moviemaking. A project occupying some of his time is a film about “the effects of growing up in a hyper-masculine society, (and) what that does to our mental health.” He’s also written and directed a video series, available online, that deals with subjects like fear, self-confidence and the importance of meditation. Years ago, Simmonds as a young entrepreneur launched a videography and photography business. He said he opened it with the help of the Black Business Initiative. “They gave me a loan for the start-up costs of that,” Simmonds said. His website says he discovered his creative talent at an early age, and uses “creative expression to help him cope with his obstacles.” Simmonds and his two brothers were raised by their parents in North Preston. He said he graduated from Cole Harbour District High School and then attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish for one year. During his final year in high school, Simmonds recalled he was diagnosed with psychological disorders and that experience led him to the path of mental health advocacy. “When I was going through everything that I was going through,” said Simmonds, “I felt like I didn’t have anyone and I felt like I was the only one that felt that way.” The main reason why Simmonds speaks publicly about his mental health history is “so I can let people know that they’re not alone.” n

The Search Is On Nominate Someone Today!

Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence Awarded by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business excellence of a company or individual within the Nova Scotia Black Business Community. A true leader in the business community that exhibits social and business responsibility. Award Eligibility • any established business (minimum 3 years in business) in Nova Scotia • at least 30% Black ownership • has demonstrated a strong business acumen and support for the community. • the award may also be made to an individual business owner. • the individual/business has created a shift in their industry through mindset & business activities • the recipient strives for Innovation, one that has shown creativity and innovation in adopting, developing or utilizing new technology to advance their business • they foster a culture of growth and learning

Entrepreneur of the Year Award Awarded by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business success of an entrepreneur within the Nova Scotia Black business community. Award Eligibility • any established entrepreneur (minimum 2 years in operation) in Nova Scotia • at least 30% Black ownership • has demonstrated a strong business acumen (through good business planning and a consistent growth and development pattern) and support for the community • Community impact

Criteria for Consideration for Both Awards I. II. III. IV.



Product or Service: Description of what makes your product or service outstanding Financial performance: Revenue growth over the past three years (as a percentage) Workplace excellence Community involvement

Akira McQuay, Training Manager Telephone: (902) 426-1625 • Email: mcquay.akira@bbi.ns.ca


Sector Partners

Provincial Culture Action Plan is Launched


n February 22, 2017, the Province of Nova Scotia launched its first ever strategy around culture, entitled the Culture Action Plan. CAP, as it

is commonly known, provides a blueprint for developing the province’s cultural sector, creative economy and diverse communities.

The Plan focuses on six themes that will help inform Government’s priorities and actions to support the development of culture in Nova Scotia. They are:

Premier Stephen McNeil & Tony Ince, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, on stage with the always popular Maritime Bhangra Group.

• Promote Mi’kmaw culture • Promote creativity and innovation • Strengthen education • Partnerships and understanding • Advance cultural diversity • Excellence in cultural stewardship • Drive awareness and economic growth of the culture sector  Premier Stephen McNeil led the launch held at launched at Pier 21 in Halifax, which was attended by community groups and special interest and arts organizations, students, and business and private sector partners. Entertainment included performances by OluGbenga Akintokun, the Samqwan Boys, and the Maritime Bhangra Group.

The Samqwan Boys perform at Pier 21 in Halifax for the launch.

Culture contributes $949 million to Nova Scotia’s economy and provides almost 14,000 jobs, representing 2.7 per cent of the provincial gross domestic product and three per cent of all jobs in Nova Scotia. Tony Ince, Minister of Communities and Culture and Heritage, said, “Culture can play an even greater role in economic growth and prosperity in every corner of the province.” In developing the plan, Government connected with thousands of Nova Scotians and 188 culture organizations around the province. To better understand the different facets of culture, Communities, Culture and Heritage is now conducting a social impact research project that will explore the nature of culture through Nova Scotians’ own experiences. You are invited to share your stories using a specialized online tool called Sensemaker. To take part, please visit the Culture Stories website at cch.novascotia.ca/stories/shareyour-culture-story . You may share your story in any language you wish and you are invited to share as many stories as you like. ◆

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Musician OluGbenga Akintokun also performed at the launch.

For more information on the Culture Action Plan and to see the document, visit www.novascotia.ca/culture .

CNC Auto Parts Cornell Marsman


ornell Marsman is the proud owner of CNC Auto Parts located in Hammonds Plains. He is a licensed mechanic and service technician and, along with his staff, sells used and new parts at his shop. By age twelve, Marsman could unhook an engine from a car. By high school he was working every weekend with his father in the shop. He recalls his excitement about getting a part-time summer job at the dairy while in university. “I assumed that was great because I would have time to party. My father looked at me and said ‘Good, you can work here Friday and Saturday and maybe even Sunday’”. And that is what happened.

Cornel Marsman, CNC Auto Parts 902-835-2621

It wasn’t long before Marsman left university to join his father in the auto parts business.

by: Abena Green

“I figured you were better off to be your own boss instead of working for someone else, he says.

as I can’t do it. If the bolt breaks off, you have to cut it or burn it off.” He reflects on the differences between the generations- He’s had to rely on critical thinking and trial and error to find answers; he didn’t always have access to find answers on Google.

After his father passed away in 2008, Marsman took over the business and expanded from selling used parts to selling new parts and offering mechanical services. He also began dealing in real estate.

Marsman uses the internet now that it is available, but he appreciates the way he had to learn. It built in him the discipline and determination necessary to reach his goals.

Marsman credits his parents for setting the example of hard work and discipline. “Back then I thought the old man was just tough. It didn’t make sense to me but it kept you out of trouble.”

“You have to think years in advance. If you want to buy something, whether it be a house, or any type of business venture, you need money. You’re not going to have it instantly.”

Of his mother he says, “My mother works tirelessly for the business.” Since retiring ten years ago, she has been handling paperwork and selling new parts.

He bought his first house at 24 years old. “I investigated it so much and could answer everything to my lawyer off the top of my head. He cut my fee in half. You have to study everything.”

Working on cars has taught Marsman life skills. “If something doesn’t work you have to figure it out. There is no such thing Paul Adams

Marsman is trying to instill these values into his ten-year-old son by bringing him along to pay bills and collect rent. His philosophy is the earlier you can learn about the business of life, the better. “You have to be willing to work long hours sometimes when you’re not going to see the financial gratification. When I first started out at this business, I didn’t make a lot of money the first day. I had to keep working at it before the money came.” Now he has one full-time and two parttime staff at CNC Auto. He is proud to be living and working in Hammonds Plains and would like to see more people stay in the community. “When we look at the Black communities now, there’s not one that is growing in population. We are declining. So for the future generations, I would say own your own home and businesses and live in your communities.” n

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Workshops will be rolled out throughout the year, April 2017-March 2018. Here are the tentative initial workshop topics that will be presented between now and summer: • • • • •

Entrepreneur Checklist for Success Think Export Financial Planning Business Succession Planning Reducing Taxes for your Business

Training Courses

Training courses will take place during the fall and winter periods. Here are the tentative training course topics: 1. The Business of Music 2. Best Practices in Business Ethics 3. Business Leadership 4. Entrepreneurship: Foundations for Success 5. Small Business Management 6. Fundamentals of Human Resource 7. Legal Essentials for Business 8. Business Cohort Women’s Leadership 9. WordPress 10. Coding & Mobile App Development 11. Financial Management & Accounting for Small Business 12. Social Networking & Viral Marketing

For information, please contact: Akira McQuay, Training Manager • (902) 426-1625 • mcquay.akira@bbi.ns.ca

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BBI Training Report


he Black Business Initiative these businesses continues to continues to work with be an exciting endeavour for our organization, and we encourage all Labour and Advanced interested businesses or if you’re Education (LAE) to provide sea- curious about exporting, to look sonal in-class training programs for our upcoming export training initiatives. to better equip and enhance busiWe continue to encourage anyone nesses within the community. interested in receiving business We would like to congratulate our advice, financial assistance with most recent graduates for com- starting or growing their busipleting training during these fall ness, or general information about programs: Business Growth and Profitability; Project Management Business Training; WordPress and Business Logo Design Tools.

the Black Business Initiative to attend our weekly Intake Sessions. This session provides information on who we work with and how we can assist you. Intake sessions are held every Thursday at 2pm at the BBI office free of charge, located at 1660 Hollis Street, suite 1201. If you are unable to attend the session, we can provide alternate options for you to receive the information from the session. n Information about the BBI and our training programs are available through our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Black Business Initiative hosted a number of workshops within the past few months. We partnered with the YWCA and offered the following topics: Entrepreneurial Tools and Assistance; Working and Leadership Values in the Graduates of the Business Writing training course Workplace; Making the Most of your Money; and the Beauty and Potential of Women. To kick off African Heritage month in February, the BBI, along with The Redeemed Christian Church Youth Ministry and the Halifax Public Central Library, hosted a seminar on Managing Your Money and Entrepreneurship. Lastly, the training department collaborated with Graduates of the Financial Management training course the United Nations Association in Canada to conduct an entrepreneurship workshop for inspiring entrepreneurs. The number of businesses interested in export has also been on the rise, and the BBI has held export information sessions for those interested, as well as those who are currently in exporting. Assisting Graduates of the Online & Social Media training course

Business Writing training course

Financial Management training course

Online & Social Media training course

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Nova Scotia Business Inc.

Credit Union Atlantic



Nova Scotia Business Inc., in

Established in 1948, CUA is a local, community-based, co-opera-

partnership with the Nova Scotia

tive banking institution with seven branch locations, a Commercial

Association of CBDCs, presents

Centre, and a Wealth Management Services division in Halifax.

Entrepreneur Toolkit

Export Development Education.

21 ...

This program was developed to

At CUA, your financial well-being is our top priority. We take an

provide Nova Scotia companies

active role in the area of financial literacy education to ensure that

with direct access to export edu-

our members and community are empowered with the knowledge

cation and resources throughout

and tools they need to lead financially healthy lives. Contact us

the province and to encourage

today to arrange a financial literacy session for you or your business.

companies – whether they are curious about exporting, new exporters, or looking to expand their business into new markets – to explore a plan to move forward. The goal of Export Development Education is to raise awareness about the benefits of exporting and promote the business support available to the business community in the province.

For more information contact: 902.492.6500 info@cua.com www.cua.com


CBDC Blue Water CBDC Blue Water provides financial assistance, skills training, counseling services and other developmental help for small to medium-sized businesses in rural HRM (Halifax County). Our loan and financial assistance programs include Youth, First-Time Entrepreneur, Innovation, Micro Business, Social Enterprise, General Business and Line of Credit Guarantee. CBDC Blue Water services rural HRM (areas between Hubbards and Ecum Secum) including communities such as Tantallon, Timberlea, Sackville, Beaverbank, Eastern Passage, Preston, Porters Lake, Sheet

For more information contact: Karen Williams Export Development Executive 902 424 3976 kwilliams@nsbi.ca www.novascotiabusiness.com


Harbour, and Middle Musquodoboit.

For more information contact: Alayne Jackson Senior Development Officer 902.827-5564 ext . 204 alayne.jackson@cbdc.ca www.cbdc.ca


Halifax Partnership The Halifax Partnership is Halifax’s economic development organization. We help keep, grow and get business, talent and investment in Halifax. We do this through leadership on economic issues, our core programs, our partnerships across all sectors, and by marketing Halifax to the world. The Halifax Partnership also leads the development and execution of Halifax’s economic strategy to create the conditions and environment for business growth and economic prosperity. Whether you’re a small start-up looking to make connections and access resources or a large business looking to develop a product or service, the Partnership can help your business grow and succeed. As a public-private partnership, we are uniquely positioned to connect you with the right people and enable you to leverage the knowledge of our 30 SmartBusiness Action Team members. Our experts will help you take advantage of government programs, access financing, talent, new markets and more – quickly and at no charge.




For more information contact: Minder Singh, Account Executive Business Retention and Expansion 902.490.2451 msingh@halifaxpartnership.com HalifaxPartnership.com

Camps Available*: Ages: Time: Locations: Registration Deadline: Contact:

Weekly, July 3, 2017–August 28, 2017 8-15 9am - 4pm, Mon - Fri posted online June 16, 2017 Contact: Amber or Akira 902-476-9764 *Dates may be subject to change

At the end of every week, campers will get to run their own Business for a Day! DETAILS AND REGISTRATION ONLINE


22 ...

Q. How do I register my business? Answer: You can register your business at any one of the Access Nova Scotia offices in metro or by on-line registration. (novascotia.ca/sns/access/)

Meet the BBI Staff

Q. What services does the BBI offer? Answer: We offer Business development, training, counselling, coaching, networking opportunities and financial assistance.

Ask The BBI

Q. Where can I access financial assistance for a small business? Answer: BBI offers financial assistance up to $25,000 and can support you by leveraging additional funds from our partners if necessary. Q. As a young person, what kind of business should I start? Answer: • A business that you are passionate about and doesn’t take a “million” dollars to fund/start up. • Has the potential to grow into something big in a reasonable time frame. • You have some experience in or understanding. • You would enjoy doing (don’t build a business that you will dread going to everyday). • One that may cause meaningful improvement in users’ lives. Q. Does BBI service only Metro Halifax and Dartmouth? Answer: No, BBI services all regions in Nova Scotia. Q. Does the BBI give grants? Answer: The BBI does not give grants but offers financing through business loans. Q. I would like to volunteer with the BBI. How do I go about doing that, and what are the volunteer opportunities? Answer: The BBI has a number of events and activities throughout the year that require volunteers. Our youth organization accepts volunteers as well. If you are interested in volunteering, please leave your name and contact information on our website (bbi.ca) or call our main office at (902) 426-8683.

Q. Do you have a question for "Ask The BBI"? Email any questions you may have about Business or Financial matters to info@bbi.ns.ca. n

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Rodger Smith

Regional Business Development Manager (RBDM) Metro and Cape Breton (North) Rodger Smith joined the Black Business Initiative’s team in November 2013 as a Regional Business Development Manager. Rodger was born and raised in the community of North Preston. He has more than 37 years of experience with the Royal Bank Financial Group as Branch Manager (Gottingen Street and Lady Hammond Road), Senior Account Manager, and Account Manager. Rodger has served on many boards and committees; a few include: The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children; National Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association; St. Thomas Baptist Church in North Preston and East Preston Baptist Church Prison Ministry; Metro United Way; Gottingen Street Merchants Association; YMCA’s Job Creation; and Junior Achievement. Rodger was also featured on the CBC television show, “The Leading Edge”, featuring his involvement with Junior Achievement. He is very spiritual and has a strong Baptist faith. For recreation he enjoys downhill skiing, tennis and racquetball. n

Step Above Stigma Ampai Thammachack

by: Abena Green


mpai Thammachack, is in her first year of Kinesiology at Queens University. Originally from Halifax, she is adjusting to her first year at university, the challenges in being in a new city, and in running Step Above Stigma- a charity that raises funds to support mental health services through the sale of socks. The socks are green to represent health, energy and renewal. The charity’s symbol is a semicolon with a heart instead of a dot.

“Where the semi-colon represents a place where the writer could have stopped telling their story but continued their sentence, the heart in place of the dot represents a place where someone could have ended their life but continued on.” Thammachak explains. The motivation to start Step Above Stigma began after many of Thammachak’s friends started confiding in her about issues that were bothering them. “They were always the friends who had a smile on their face. I never suspected anything could be wrong unless they talked to me. It was things like that that scared me because you wouldn’t know.”

Ampai Thammachack Step Above Stigma Paipai41@me.com 902-718-7177 www.tilt.com/tilts/ step-above-stigmasocks


The second catalyst came during Thammachaks’ final year in high school when a schoolmate with whom she had once been friends, took her own life. “When this happened in my high school it was scary for me and other people. She was always vibrant and making jokes. She was a wonderful girl.” Thammachak describes her schoolmate’s suicide as a, “huge awakening” for herself and many other students.

She says the stories and rumors on social media only worsened the situation. “It was hard and I don’t think anyone knew how to handle it.” Moved to respond in some way, Thammachack began brainstorming how to raise funds to support mental health services- services she believes her schoolmate could have benefited from. “One of the most important things that she didn’t have was more access to counselling and professional help when she needed it. I don’t think there are enough doctors in the system that are available to help.” Thammachack believes that people are lost as they wait sometimes for months for medical attention. After brainstorming, she decided on selling socks- an item that people of all ages, demographics and around the world wear. From there, the slogan - Step Above Stigma - fell into place. Since forming the idea for the charity in June 2016, Thammachuck has been busy finding a sock supplier, consulting with school counsellors, the Black Business Initiative and others with relevant experience. Most recently, she assembled a team. “I posted about it on social media and I had about 40 people message me saying they were interested. Now we have 30 volunteers and 10 executives.” By early March, they had made their first $500 in sales after a social media post. The plan is for all the money raised is to go to mental health organizations around campus and eventually around Canada to such as jack.org and the Peer Support Centre on the Queen’s University Campus. The overall goal of Step Above Stigma is to increase the capacity of small-scale mental health service providers. Thammachack wants to become a doctor and help improve the mental health system when she gets older. “I feel like if I can do as much as I can with the resources I have and knowledge I have, when I do have my degree I can really make a difference on the ground level.” n

www.tilt.com/tilts/step-above-stigma-socks www.facebook.com/StepAboveStigma/?pnref=story

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Meet the BBI Staff

Amber Grosse Youth Coordinator, Business is Jammin’ (BIJ)

Amber hails from the community of East Preston and is currently completing her Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Management at Mount Saint Vincent University. Amber has been a part of the BBI team for over a year as the youth coordinator for Business Is Jammin’. This role has provided her an opportunity to network and connect with youth groups including Mulgrave Park Caring & Learning; Future Roots; Dartmouth North Community Centre; and East Preston Girl Guides, to name a few. Amber also has several years of experience in event planning and developing student educational programs. She has a strong work ethic, a high level of professionalism and friendly personality. Her goals for BIJ include: Going above and beyond to encourage youth to think about entrepreneurship as a career choice and meeting the needs of our Black students where they live. Continuing to build a stronger relationship with the youth in regions. One of Amber’s favourite sayings is that she expects greatness from the youth. There is always a time to give back and the time is now. n

25 ...

SHOP ON SPRING GARDEN CALL FOR EXHIBITORS This is your opportunity to grow your business, through the sale/ promotion of your products/services. Join our community of Black Businesses in this 2nd annual cultural event!

Event Date: August 12, 2017 Location: Victoria Park (opposite Public Gardens) Time: 11am - 4pm LIMITED SPACE: Register or call 902.426.7973 before July 21, 2017



Community & Business Events

June 3 - 4

Doors Open Halifax

The Doors Open Halifax Heritage Society is happy to present a roster of over 30 venues for this year’s 5th Anniversary event. Buildings in Halifax and area will open their doors to the public for free and invite them to view interiors not usually accessible.


June 8 - 11

Halifax Greek Fest

$5 day / $8 weekend pass Free for seniors 65 and up and kids under 10 Free Admission on Thursday!


June 10

Halifax Public Gardens 150th Birthday Party www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca

June 22 – 23

Black Business Initiative (BBI) 20th Anniversary AGM/Summit "Expanding Your Reach" Waterfront Marriot Hotel

June 30 - July 3

Halifax Ribfest

We are part of Rotary International, an organization of 1.2 million members. With more than 34, 000 clubs worldwide, you’ll find members volunteering in communities at home and abroad to support education and job training, provide clean water, combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, and eradicate polio.

Various locations in HRM ribfesthalifax.ca

July 1

Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation across the country. From local and community events to national celebrations, there are plenty of ways to get involved and celebrate all that makes us who we are as a country.


July 1

Taste of East Preston East Preston Recreation Centre, Brooks Drive, East Preston

Taste Of East Preston is an event to enjoy great food with friends & family. Come out and enjoy the festivities! Free admission!



June 29 - July 6

July 12 - 16

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

31st Annual TD Halifax Jazz Festival

Pipes, drums, bands, gymnasts, dancers, acrobats, choirs, Various locations in HRM The TD Halifax Jazz Festival is the oldest jazz military traditions, modern music, trampoline routines. festival and largest summer festival in the Atlantic www.nstattoo.ca region.


July 15

10th Annual North Preston Day Celebration 2017

Parade through the community barbecue, lots of bouncy castles, prizes, games and entertainment.

> 26 ...

July 15 - 16

August 4 - 7

Celebration 150 – Journey Back to Birchtown

Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day Celebrations

The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, 119 Old Birchtown Road, Shelburne

Celebrating the city's 122nd Natal Day

The open concept celebration will feature Nova Scotian vendors selling ethnic foods, clothing, arts and crafts. There will be exhibits, readings, theatre and interactive sessions featuring African Nova Scotian artists. There will be musical presentations highlighting past and present winning artists from the African Nova Scotia Music Association.


July 20 - 30

Halifax Pride Festival

The Halifax Pride Festival is a celebration which draws in more than 150,000 participants and is one of Canada’s Premier Pride Festivals.


July 22

29th Annual BEA Open Golf Tournament

Osprey Ridge Golf Club, 492 Harold Whynot Rd, Pine Grove beareception@eastlink.ca

June 29 - July 2

Bedford Days 2017


July 29 - August 1

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta www.sailonboard.com

August 2 - 7

31st Halifax International Busker Festival

The Halifax International Busker Festival explodes across Halifax's beautiful and historic downtown waterfront - join us and be part of the action!

www. buskers.ca

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A total of 30 individual events include; family activities, live music, road races, entertainment showcase, comedy night, busker performances, the Mayor & Council Garden Party in both Halifax & Dartmouth and one of the oldest parades in Atlantic Canada.


August 4 - 5

Apex Invitational Golf Tournament

Founded in 1974, this annual 4-day homecoming event takes place in the town of Truro, Nova Scotia. apexinvitationalgolf.com

August 12

BBI Shop on Spring Garden Showcasing some of the many Black owned businesses within Nova Scotia.

Victoria Park, corner of Spring Garden Rd. & South Park St., Halifax 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM www.bbi.ca

August 18 - 20

163rd Annual Sessions of the African United Baptist Association Hosted by Beechville Baptist Church, 1135 St Margaret’s Bay Rd, Beechville, NS www.aubans.ca

September 22

8th Annual Business Is Jammin' (BIJ) Golf Tournament

Grandview Golf & Country Club, 431 Crane Hill Road, Dartmouth www.bbi.ca

To submit items for Community and Business events contact: BBI @ (902) 426-8683; Fax: 426-8699 or email bbi@ bbi.ns.ca

Make an impact with purpose. TM

We’re preparing citizens of the world to lead sustainable, entrepreneurial businesses and communities. Leaders who make an impact with purpose, and leave the world better than they inherited it. Discover how you can further improve your skills, business and community at sobey.smu.ca

The Sobey School of Business offers a full suite of accredited business programs: Bachelor of Commerce | MBA | MBA (CPA Stream) | EMBA | Master of Finance Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Master of Applied Economics Co-operative Management Education | PhD (Management)

Join us as we celebrate 20 years of business success at the Black Business Summit 2017, expanding your reach to create businesses without boundaries.

VALERIE B. JARRETT Valerie B. Jarrett was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls.

June 23 2017

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


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Black to Business – Issue 64 – Spring 2017  

Black to Business – Issue 64 – Spring 2017