Black to Business – Issue 65 – Winter 2018

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VALERIE JARRETT winter 2018 • issue 65

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

Issue 65 • Winter 2018 Black to Business

is the official periodical of The Black Business Initiative 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: 902-426-8683 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 Photography: Contributed and Paul Adams

The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 910, 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Phone: 902.426.8683 Fax: 902.426.8699 Toll Free: 1.888.664.9333 E-mail:

w w w. b b i.c a


Message from the BBI Chair 1 Message from the BBI Interim CEO


Cover Story: Captivated & Inspired Sharing a Stage with Valerie Jarrett


DTN – Downtown Nutrition


RBC Shares Small Business Advice


TRAILBLAZERS - Corporate Residency MBA Program at Dalhousie




Captain Kevin Seafood


Meet the BBI Board - Two of our Directors


2017 Black Business Summit Expanding Your Reach


BBI Supplier Fair - Expanding Your Reach


REGIONAL REPORT: Southern Region


BIJ Report


Meet the BBI Staff - Ayo Daniel Makanjuola


The Montessori House of Learning




Meet the BBI Staff - Victoria Nadine Lake




REGIONAL REPORT: Central & Metro Region


BBI Training Report


BBI: Evolution of the Brand


On the cover: Valerie Jarret - 2017 Black Business Summit, see 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 start ups, 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. Changing Lives by Enabling Economic Independence.

The Black Business Initiative Cynthia Dorrington, Chair, BBI

The key for us as an organization is to ensure a workable balance between our vision for existing clients, (helping them to achieve success on their terms, nationally and globally), and our vision for new and future clients, inclusive of other minority groups (pulling them in and providing opportunities). To achieve this, we need to think outside the box. We need to ensure that we stay true to our strategic plan, while developing innovative ways to cover new territory. We must maintain the strong partnerships The year 2017 brought its fair share of events, we have established with provincial and federal milestones and challenges. And it also brought funders, while ensuring that no one is left bealong a spirit of revolution and the budding hind as we push forward to the next level. of new ideas. A full year has passed since we celebrated our arrival at the twenty-year Lastly, to ensure increased success, we need mark. We reminisced about the early begin- to shift our thinking. We must move from the nings, celebrated the successes of clients who practice of developing models that entreprepassed through our doors; and remarked on neurs try to fit into, and instead must redefine the strength and longevity of our partnerships what our support should look like. That means with government, community, and stakehold- hearing directly from clients, understanding ers. The close of 2017 meant the achievement their needs, and determining how we can best of some of those goals we set out during our meet them. anniversary. It also meant the time to refocus and hone in on some new strategies put in We will serve as the vehicle to help propel place to propel us forward. them to success on a local and national level. This shift will position the client as the expert in Now that we find ourselves beginning a fresh defining their own needs, and in determining new year, it’s time to roll up our sleeves again what that success will look like – which will be and chart the course of a diversified path, which different for each one of them. includes expanding our reach. We have twenty years of service to African Nova Scotians under With high expectations for the incoming year, our belt, along with our support for their fear- we plan to forge ahead with renewed exciteless quests for success in business. With great ment. In servicing clients old and new, focusvigor and momentum going in to 2018, we must ing on their needs, bridging connections, and build upon our fundamental values of creating expanding our plan for increased inclusion, we capacity and economic prosperity by expanding stand to further position ourselves on the everto bring additional minority groups into the fold. changing global stage.


“With great vigor and momentum going in to 2018, we must build upon our fundamental values of creating capacity and economic prosperity…”

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We are a unique and diverse people whose rich And that can only be good news for the peohistory and accomplishments add to the fabric ple we serve. of the Nova Scotian experience, and serves as an everlasting symbol of the beautiful mosaic Respectfully, of Canadian society. By including other minority groups across Nova Scotia and across the Atlantic Provinces, we increase our capacity to find and build new partnerships, strengthen Cynthia Dorrington existing connections, and expand our ability BBI, Board Chair to reach many more.

The Black Business Initiative

S.I. Rustum Southwell, Founding & Interim CEO, BBI While reminiscing and meditating over the Christmas Holidays, it became obvious to me how closely the fortunes of the Black Business Initiative (BBI) Composite Group is tied to the inspirational messages delivered at the bi-annual business summits presented in Nova Scotia since 2000. As Paul Walter, Chief Executive Officer of Waterbury Newton Law Firm, said with great pride and passion at the 2017 summit closing ceremony, we must promise to never again stop holding these business conferences. The positive impact on our community, he surmised, is by far one of our major strategic successes and lasting achievements of the BBI. It is not enough to relay Paul’s sentiments without mentioning the fact that he is the only person who has served uninterrupted since 1995 as a volunteer with the BBI Composite Group. He would know something about BBI’s goals and achievements. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama was the headline keynote speaker at the summit June 2017, and her appearance created a buzz and level of excitement and support we had not seen since 2012. All 400 attendees enjoyed the fire-side chat, moderated by our own Candace Thomas, Law Partner at Stewart McKelvey, it was obvious that BBI had returned to its role as a respected partner to the public and private sector business and economic development stakeholders in Nova Scotia. Another incremental benefit that comes with the summit is the chance to showcase excellent companies and entrepreneurs from our community. Sobeys sponsored the business awards; the Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence winner was The Bin Doctor Ltd, presented to Robert Loppie and Jason Vaillancourt and the Entrepreneur of the Year went to Wayne Miller of DTN (Downtown Nutrition). In addition to these two awards we are ably represented by many of our business owners as panelist and presenters at the conference’s workshops. We must continue to aspire to a world class business model connecting people to opportunities of entrepreneurship. It means that we must sharply defend and uphold

the BBI’s values, principles and philosophies. It’ll require us to develop ways and means to correct and expunge all myths that have been propagated about the Nova Scotian Black business owners’ capacity, capabilities, best practices and principles. Rather than continue to blame externalities, our business owners must look inwards and recognize that their collective presence in the provincial economy is lagging and low in impact. That is why the summit theme, ‘Expanding our Reach’, is a growth opportunity and a call to action for us to become more involved in the provincial economic and business competitiveness. And yes, after the successful Summit in June, it gave us the momentum to once again move forward with confidence. We know that we are now a better organization than we were last year, and our fortunes seemed to be changing, for the better. Armed with a new threeyear strategic plan and a robust operational plan, furthermore, with support of the Board of Directors and an energized staff, the last 22 months we began to see positive signs and good results. Encouraged by the need to improve operating efficiencies in the face of shrinking resources, we downsized our office, we are in the same building with less space, and we reorganized the staffing structure of the organization. This consolidation of people and space will allow us to be swift and agile when delivering services to our clients. We are back to a level of institutional maturity with a capable staff that has the business acumen necessary to take this initiative to the next level undeterred by any new challenges. And yet, it is not enough, to say or feel we are getting better, we must be disciplined in implementing the strategic plan and execute on its priorities in our current operational plan. We must work closer with Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), and, we must develop a stronger business orientation, be more decisive, and have higher brand visibility at the regional and provincial level, essentially, the time is Right Now to Expand our Reach!! Respectfully,

S.I. Rustum Southwell

BBI, Founding & Interim CEO

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Captivated & Inspired

Sharing a Stage with Valerie Jarrett “It is an understatement to say it was a highpoint and privilege for me to share the stage with Ms. Valerie Jarrett at the 2017 Black Business Summit Luncheon. I am appreciative to Rustum, Board Chair, Cynthia Dorrington, and the others on BBI’s organizing team who afforded me this immense honour. - Candace Thomas

I met Valerie shortly before we were scheduled to start. There was no time for a dry run through the questions. You would be correct if you are thinking I must have been nervous. I extended my hand to shake hers. Valerie extended both arms, smiled and said, “I am a hugger”. I immediately felt more composed and by the time we were introduced by Dalhousie’s President, Richard Florizone, a connection was made. As she spoke Valerie wove together stories of her professional life as a CEO and business owner, lawyer and public servant, as well as her personal life; sharing her successes, mistakes and disappointments, the challenges of being a single mother, and how those experiences prepared her for the seminal role she assumed in January 2008 as Senior Adviser to President Barack Obama. She interspersed the discussion with examples of the compassionate leadership of Obama’s presidency and fond remembrances of encounters between everyday fellow Americans and President Obama that she explained helped

Valerie Jarrett and President Barack Obama converse in the Blue Room, White House, 2010.

them both stay grounded and motivated. Their common belief that, “public service is being a part of something that is bigger than yourself” and the acceptance of wise advice from elders and mentors, such as “learning how to absorb pain and not let it eat you away”, helped them successfully navigate turbulent times and eight years of political battles in the White House. Paul Adams

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Cover Story

by: Candace Thomas

Valerie Jarrett delivering her keynote address during the 2017 Black Business Summit.

Valerie captivated and inspired a room filled with people of all ages, backgrounds and occupations with her anecdotes, sincerity, humility, humour and perhaps most importantly, positivity. She encouraged us to give back to our communities and challenged us to act. Much has happened globally, south of the border and locally since the Black Business Summit was held June 2017. I communicated with Valerie after the atrocious events that transpired in Charlottesville and her message was, “I remain optimistic”. So do I!

a gold level sponsor of this year’s Black Business Summit.

Paul Adams

On success in business and life, Valerie covered a lot of ground, more than I can adequately cover in this short commentary. Among other things, she addressed the importance of education and hard work, and offered unique insights on what it means to be resilient, owning your choices and their consequences, owning and sharing your own complete story, “not just the good bits – life is hard”, learning to accept and ask for help, “for us girls, abandoning the super woman syndrome, building trusted relationships, mentoring and helping others as you climb,” gender equality (a particular passion of hers), civil rights, diversity and inclusion and self-care.

Dalhousie University – where I earned my law degree and am a member of the Board of Governors. Dalhousie’s strategic priorities include its goal to foster a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. As the Keynote Presenting Sponsor for the Black Business Summit, Dalhousie was instrumental in BBI bringing Valerie Jarrett to Halifax. East Preston Empowerment Academy (“EPEA”) – where I am a member of the Board of Directors and able to give back to my home community of East Preston and the broader community through an initiative started by the Pastor of East Preston United Baptist Church, Reverend LeQuita Porter, her husband, Bill Porter, Dr. Wayne Adams and Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard. Primarily funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the Black Educators Association and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, EPEA delivers youth enrichment, adult learning and trade apprenticeship programs, GED exam preparation

Valerie Jarrett (l) pictured at the 2017 Black Business Summit with Candace Thomas (r).

and an ongoing legal information series sponsored by Stewart McKelvey. After serving nine years on BBI’s Board of Directors I continue to be a steadfast supporter of the BBI Group. The Black Business Summit is a signature BBI event and one means of linking Black business owners with those in the mainstream business community. This year the BBI expanded its reach to Valerie Jarrett, arguably the most powerful Black woman in White House History. n Paul Adams

Reflecting on the time I spent with Valerie caused me to take stock of what I am doing in my corner of the world to contribute to a more civil society. The following affiliations illustrate some of the things I stand for: Stewart McKelvey – where I am a partner and co-chair our firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As the first Black female partner, I follow in the footsteps of retired Senator Donald H. Oliver, QC, who was the first Black partner in our firm, and have proudly been joined by Burtley G. Francis who sits on BBI’s Board of Directors. We were pleased to be

Valerie Jarrett (l) pictured at the 2017 Black Business Summit with Candace Thomas, Partner, Stewart McKelvey and Cynthia Dorrington, BBI Chair.

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DTN – Downtown Nutrition Expanding in Cape Breton

by: Craig M. Smith Corey Katz

One year ago, Miller signed the lease for their second store, located at 1125 Kings Rd in Sydney River. It’s in the same building as Platinum Fitness and Cabot Physio. Miller says, “It was by far one of the most daunting and memorable experiences since starting the business in 2012”. He and his team have had to educate a new client/ customer base as they learned that, “just because we are known in one area, doesn’t mean they know us in another area, even if it is just 15 minutes away.”

From January to mid-April 2017, a dedicated team including friends, family and local labourers gathered to build something unique, all while still maintaining store operations for the first location. Remembering that Downtown Nutrition was not a franchise and had no blue print to follow, except an established product offering, and its service, which Miller says his customers have come to enjoy.

“If I can improve the quality of health for people in my community, my island, my province, my country, I’m achieving my mission to make “We really had a blank slate when creata positive impact on the people ing our new flagship store and that has made it exciting and stressful,” Miller around me.” Those were the words of Wayne Miller Jr. back in 2012, as he was opening Downtown Nutrition (DTN). His desire was to bring healthy, energizing, enjoyable food to Sydney and in doing that, he says, “We had finally reached the stage where we had to make a decision to expand. Either we accept our comfortable existence in our original store or we go outside of the comfort zone and really build a “next level” Downtown Nutrition. He chose the latter.

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Another important piece to the expansion Miller points out is, “This is about making the business all that it can be, and that takes time.” He says his attention will be devoted to knowing why people like his product/service and why they keep coming back. With that he says, comes sustainability and longevity. So branding is essential to the growth of Downtown Nutrition.

Miller has been engrossed in all facets of the development of the new location, from laying out a floor plan, choosing materials, colours, negotiating with suppliers, keeping contractors on time, dealing with municipal and provincial regulations, dealing with Mother Nature’s winter wrath, and coming up with the money. This was a massive challenge that Miller says made his team wiser and stronger. At peak times during the tourist season Miller has 13 to 18 staff members between the two stores, with 6 being fulltime and the rest being part-time employees. The aim with the expansion was to create a blueprint and a listing of best practices that can be duplicated in the future. For the first 5 years Miller says, “This was a mom and pop business that started with one blender in a small space on Charlotte Street across from the YMCA and grew out of that organically.” He says now, “through sheer determination, dedication and desire we got the expansion done.” “When you come in and dine at Downtown Nutrition you are enjoying slow cooked food that is good for your digestion and will leave you feeling more energized and better than when you came in. An enjoyable dining experience is what we want for our customers.” Downtown Nutrition is connected on social media with fully online ordering options. Miller’s long range goals include possible expansion into the lucrative Halifax market, but right now, Miller’s focus is focused on a baby of another kind, the second child for he and his wife and he says that, along with the new store, are enough to keep him occupied and his wife are expecting baby number 2 and that along with store number 2 are more than enough to keep him occupied. n Downtown Nutrition (DTN) Owner: Wayne Miller Jr 390 Charlotte St., Sydney NS and 1125 Kings Road, Sydney River, NS 902-577-1940

RBC Shares

Small Business Advice by: Shyra Nobles, Business Account Manager We asked business owners across the country to tell us what they’ve learned along the way – and what they wish they’d known before they started their business. What are the key things you need to know before you start up your new small business? To find out, we asked Canadian small business owners to tell us what they know now, that they wish they’d know when they were getting started.

your own money for your business. Investing your own equity is not only the least expensive option, but making a strong personal investment in your business can make it easier to secure future financing from a bank or other lenders. When you’re running a business, typically you’ll need some kind of financing to help cover costs.

“Research your product and service, make sure you have a clear definition of what you’re going to do, what type of business you’re going to start and whether or not it’s right for you.”

Financing can be as simple as using your own money for your business. Investing your own equity is not only the least expensive option, but making a strong personal investment in your business can make it easier to secure future financing from a bank or other lenders. Equity can include things like using your own savings and investments, getting money from your family or finding potential investors interested in buying a share of your business.

“Know your customers. Know who they are, know where they are, what they buy and why they buy.”

And credit, or borrowing money, is another form of financing. Whether your credit needs are for the short or long term, knowing what types of financing are available to you, and matching the right type, to your business needs, is key.

“First of all, know your product well, and know the services you’re offering, so you should know best and have full confidence in your services, and your product.”

Short-term financing typically takes one year to pay back, so it’s useful for immediate needs, like supplies, inventory and payroll. It helps cover any gaps and provides you with immediate access to funds.

> > >

“Consider your marketing strategy - without proper marketing you’re going to have a product that may not reach the consumer so give a lot of thought to that.”


“Do your homework both on the business that you’re planning on starting and as well as on the geographical location you’re planning to start your business in.”


So the keys to a successful start-up: do your homework first and make sure you know your product and your market. Another important part of your homework is getting advice before you start. An RBC small business advisor can help you plan and prepare so you’re positioned for success.

A good example of short-term financing is an operating line, which is ideal when starting a business, or for seasonal businesses with a fluctuating cash flow. There’s also business overdraft protection, which can help manage cash fluctuations and keep payroll and supplier payments on track. Long Term financing, such as a term loan or leasing, is ideal for big-ticket items, like vehicles, or office renovations, and has a longer repayment term - usually of 1 to 5 years. Leasing is ideal when you plan to update your equipment frequently rather than buying once. There are also tax benefits to this option. And one more option is the Canada Small Business Financing Loan for major purchases or expanding your business, with up to 85% of the loan guaranteed by the government.

So you see, there are many options for credit financing. To find out which one may be best suited Get the right type of financing for your business. When you’re ® running a business, typically you’ll need some kind of financ- for your needs, talk to an RBC Business Advisor at ing to help cover costs. Financing can be as simple as using 1-800 ROYAL® -20 today.

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Corporate Residency MBA Program at Dalhousie


by: Wanda Lauren Taylor

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The BBI / MBA Scholarship program awards $10,000 to an African Nova Scotian student in their first year of the MBA program at Dalhousie, who has demonstrated excellence, character, and a desire to contribute to their community in lasting and meaningful ways. Dan Shaw serves as Director of the MBA Programs, and says the goal of the scholarship program is to develop and increase the pool of Black business leaders in Nova Scotia. So far, three highly deserving recipients have received this scholarship in the five years it has been available.

Marissa Walters, 2014 Recipient

credits that experience for her keen interest in entrepreneurship. Marissa graduated from the MBA program in May 2017. “I took from the program what I had been seeking – an expanded knowledge base, tangible employability skills, an enhanced understanding of the global economy, and exposure to networks and opportunities that I otherwise would not have accessed.”

Marissa Walters was the first recipient of the BBI Corporate Residency MBA Program. She heard about it through Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management website and decided to apply. At the time, Marissa was uncertain about her path or her career’s next step. She was an A student coming out of Queen’s University, where she was president of the African and Caribbean Students’ Association. She grew up in Kentville, where she was involved in track and soccer at the provincial level and ran track during her time at Queen’s. After graduating and returning to her ‘Scotian’ roots, Marissa became involved with the BBI’s Business is Jammin program in 2012, serving as summer youth coordinator and

One of those opportunities was Marissa’s time in Copenhagen, Denmark. She was selected to study abroad for a semester at the Copenhagen Business School - one of the top ranking European business institutions. Marissa studied with students from all over the world, gaining exposure to invaluable international perspectives. She is thankful for the BBI scholarship, which she called the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for providing much needed support throughout the program. She says one of her biggest challenges going through the MBA program was the lack of Black representation in the classroom, especially in today’s tense political times. She says she often felt like she didn’t fit in. However, she eventually managed to find solace in the personal connections she’d continued to make with other Black female professionals by attending various BBI events. “Maintaining those connections to BBI has been very strengthening to me and I truly appreciate it.”

Arnaud Kubwakristo, 2015 Recipient Rwanda (NUR) in 2004, with a full tuition and monthly stipend. After spending several years in Halifax, Arnaud decided he was going to pursue his MBA. He’d done his research and knew he didn’t want to be anywhere else. He graduated from the MBA program in 2017 and described his experience as simply thrilling, and as being everything he hoped it would be. That says a lot for a man who, by 2013, had already self-published a 275-page book called The Story So Far, and is now working on his second one. Arnaud had spent ten years in the accounting field prior to applying, so he says an MBA in Finance was a natural next move for him. He wanted to discover the bigger picture of the business world, “From being pushed outside my comfort zone, I found my courage once again, to kill fear, embrace the unknown, and reach for my ideals.” “He had probably the most compelling essay I have ever heard,” Dan Shaw says of Arnaud’s application. That’s because Arnaud’s immigration story is both powerful and inspiring. His top high school grades in Rwanda landed him a guaranteed spot at the National University of

Arnaud acknowledges that without the BBI scholarship, he would not have been able to attend the MBA program. He is currently working at a financial services firm and is focused on his future dream: to open The Kubwakristo School of Metaphysics. “I don’t define myself based on my last 35 years on this planet, but on the character I will be remembered for once I’m out.”

Terrell Borden, 2017 Recipient

program via email in December 2016. “It was like Christmas came early that year!” He says.

When he began his science degree at Dalhousie, Terrell originally wanted to become a doctor. He soon realized that med school wasn’t the path he wanted to take. He completed his degree in 2015, with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a minor in business, but then needed to figure out where he would go from there. His minor in business peaked his interest in the business world and he eventually decided that an MBA would compliment his science degree. Dan Shaw remembered Terrell’s very solid career progression. “He demonstrated a real sense of initiative and was given early promotions and budgetary responsibility early in his career.” Those qualities that helped get Terrell into the program are the same qualities that lead to success. He is grateful for his experience with the Corporate Residency MBA Terrell was in his final year of a pharmacology program and the financial support. degree when a speaker came to his class and talked about the Corporate Residency Program. “The scholarship I received from BBI was very much appreciated It was the first he’d heard of it, so he attend- and helped relieve a lot of financial burden.” Terrell is still coned one of the open houses to learn more. That, templating where his MBA will lead him but is certain he is on the along with the welcoming support he received right path. He says he is excited to begin his residency at BMO from the faculty, sealed in his decision to apply. soon and looks forward to applying the knowledge and skills he He received the news of his acceptance into the has received through the MBA program. n 8 ...


Seeing A New Life by: Ross Simmonds

There’s no question that over the last few months LinkedIn has seen new life. The feed is more relevant than ever. The content in front of us is better than ever. And the opportunities for marketers to use LinkedIn as a B2B channel are greater than ever.

Geek Speak

That’s why I’ve spent even more time studying and using LinkedIn over the last few months. From breaking down the ins and outs of the LinkedIn algorithm to running content experiments, I’ve been trying anything and everything to better understand how to use LinkedIn for my own purposes and for my clients. You can see more on this at

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In this time, I’ve had some great wins reaching tens of thousands of people—and I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve also spoken with LinkedIn experts and super-users about what does and doesn’t work. In this post, I’m going to break down a few things in the latter category—LinkedIn no-nos that need to stop. If you’ve made the mistake of doing any of these things, maybe this is your sign that it’s time to switch things up and use LinkedIn a little more wisely than you have in the past. I’m confident that your LinkedIn experience can become a whole lot more rewarding by walking away from these bad behaviors.

Not Filling Out Your LinkedIn Profile Completely Just as no one liked being followed by an anonymous egg on Twitter (the site’s old default avatar), no one likes getting requests from faceless characters on LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter if you have one of the most unusual names in the world—people connect with faces. In fact, studies show that it’s easier to remember someone by their face than by their name. So make it easy for people who meet you at an event to recognize you later when you send an invitation on LinkedIn. Show your face!

Asking For Everything Without Giving Anything We’re all connected to that person on LinkedIn who is always asking for things but never giving. If they’re using LinkedIn it’s because they need an intro, they need a referral, they need a recommendation, they need a share, they need a comment… They’re constantly asking but rarely giving. Don’t be that person.

But it doesn’t end with your profile pic…

Give the people you’re connected with more value than you try to take from them.

Make it easy for fellow alumni to find you by keeping your college or university up to date. Make it easy for past colleagues and employers to find you by keeping your job history up to date. Make it easy for people who want to work with you to find you by keeping your headline up to date.

You can give them value by simply making their feed worth reading. Share content that would be interesting to them. Share videos that will help them be more successful. Create status updates that are interesting, insightful and filled with takeaways that will improve their lives.

Sending Requests To Everyone & Their Mailman I love this image on Marketing Land (

C’monnnnnnnn! If you’re adding someone you’ve known for years, OK, sure, the first one is fine. But if you’re adding someone you met at an event, collaborated with on a short project or were introduced to by a colleague, make the “personalized’ invite, well, personal. The perfect formula for a great invitation on LinkedIn is (1) Give context (2) Keep it short (3) Personalize it and (4) Be personable. Let’s break this down: Give context: Remind the recipient how you know one another. Did you comment on their blog earlier today? Did you run into them at a local conference? Did you hear them speak? Give them context on who you are and why you’re adding them.

Look: We get it. Connections matter. But that doesn’t mean you need to send invite requests to everyone under the sun. Far too many people make the mistake of thinking LinkedIn is a numbers game. It’s not. In the early days of LinkedIn, you could rely on your network as a way to identify leads and source quality introductions. Today, it’s much less likely that people who are connected to potential leads are actually true business connections at all, and that’s unfortunate. So rather than sending requests to everyone you follow on Twitter, send requests to people you’ve interacted with. Send requests to people only after you’ve engaged with them in some way, then follow up to nurture the relationship. Don’t make the mistake of viewing LinkedIn as a numbers game. Remember that quality is always more important than quantity and that your connections should be your biggest advocates.

Using Templated Invitation Requests Two requests are the definition of laziness: “I’d like to add you to my professional network” And… “Because you’re someone I trust, I’d like to add you to my professional network”

Keep it short: LinkedIn has a word count on personalized invites, which is great—BUT that doesn’t mean you always have to max it out. No one needs to know that you have a third degree black belt (I’ve received an invite mentioning that before—I kid you not) or that you’re having avocado toast for lunch. Keep it short and to the point. Personalize it: People love their own names. Include the recipient’s name in the invitation with a simple “Hey Ross” or “Hi Ross” to give that feeling of personalization. Be personable: As much as Hollywood paints a picture of business as super formal, it’s really a lot of fun. So don’t be afraid to be personable in your LinkedIn requests. Write a request the same way you would write one to a longtime colleague or peer. Include emojis. Include exclamation marks. Let your guard down and be human!

Wrapping Things Up If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the latest growth surrounding LinkedIn and are excited about the channels new found life. If you’re in B2B, there is a plethora of LinkedIn Stats showing us that LinkedIn is a channel that deserves the industries attention. The key is understanding best practices and, at the very least, knowing how to use the tool correctly. It’s my hope that this blog post offered you some insights about how you can start maximizing your time on LinkedIn to drive meaningful results for you and your business. n www.

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Captain Kevin Seafood Seafood in Dartmouth

by: Michael Lightstone Paul Adams

his modest operation was considering satisfying another request from customers: Would he look at making deliveries? The answer is yes. James said in early December he’s planning to take the delivery part of his business for a test drive in the winter 2018.

Ahigbe James opened Captain Kevin Seafood in Dartmouth last year, and, like many small-business owners, quickly managed unforeseen changes. Starting out as a local fish market providing fresh, raw seafood, including live lobster bought from a supplier in Eastern Passage, the shop welcomed customers who soon began asking about ordering cooked food. James said about 80 per cent of all visitors to his store inquired about getting fish and chips. “I thought: ‘I better give them what they want,’” he said. Not long after its spring 2017 launch, the store closed for renovations. Then, the business reopened and had a takeout menu offering consumers such items as fish and chips, fish tacos, fried calamari and fish burgers. It’s now a fish-and-chips place that still sells live lobster. (Asked about the name of his business, James said Kevin is his adult son’s name.) James said the store’s alterations were also needed to install a ventilation/ exhaust system to help get rid of fish odours. Fast-forward months later, and

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“While my helper is here, I can deliver (food orders) myself” during the test run, he said. “And then we’ll see how that goes. If the demand is much more, then I can hire someone to do that.” Another development that could be on the horizon: James said he’s thinking of perhaps turning his former fish market into a fish-and-chips restaurant. Situated in rented commercial space down the road from outlets owned by two separate grocery chains – big stores with their own seafood departments – James said having major food retailers nearby wasn’t really a concern, because he offered goods at lower prices. He said he checked out seafood costs at both grocery stores when he was opening his business. “Sure enough,” James said, “I was always cheaper than them.” Once the cooked food component became a big part of his daily duties, James said he eliminated the raw seafood element of his business. “It was too much to run side by side,” he acknowledged. An affable gentleman who’s originally from Nigeria, James said he studied economics in a post-secondary school in Lagos. He said he came to the Halifax region about 15 years ago, by way of Montreal and then New York City. After moving to Nova Scotia, James said he landed a job as a customer-service

representative in the telecommunications industry. He said he became a Canadian citizen in 1999. James has one part-time employee helping him at Captain Kevin Seafood, but can see the day when he’ll likely have to hire another worker – especially if he converts his shop into a sit-down eatery. Although he hasn’t tapped into resources offered by the Black Business Initiative, he intends to do so this year. James said he’s planning to apply for financial assistance, and will prepare a business plan for BBI staff who’ll be reviewing his request. In the meantime, he said the response to his business has been generally “very good” and customers have been supportive. He said almost all of them are area residents or workers, folks who drop in to pick up fish and chips on their way home or are on meal breaks at their workplace. James said one man left him a $10 tip after paying his bill, which was unexpected. “I said: ‘Wow – what is all that for?’ He said: ‘I want to make sure you remain in business.’” “I was blown away when he said this,” James said. He said another food seller – a pizzeria operator just a few doors down – was encouraging, too, even though “the pizza guy” also offered fish and chips on his menu. James said the pizza place owner informed him that fish and chips weren’t big sellers at his restaurant. He told James: “If you’re going to do well with it, and draw in more people into the (property) as a whole, it’s good for me, as well.” n Captain Kevin Seafood Owner: Ahigbe James Ph: 902-434-0545

Meet the BBI Board Two of our Directors Nicole Johnson-Morrison Black Business Consulting (BBC) Board

Nicole Johnson - Morrison is an international trade professional with over 15 years of experience in economic commerce, economic diplomacy and global trade. She has a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation with the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) and holds a Project Management Professional PMP designation from the Institute of Commercial Management ICM-UK. In addition, she holds an MBA from the University of Leicester UK, with specialty in International Trade Relations; post graduate degrees in Management & Marketing from the University of the West Indies; and a BSC in Economics from the University of Leicester. She is currently a PhD Candidate with Royal Rhodes University in British Columbia. Nicole has held senior international trade roles with Global Affairs Canada and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean. She has worked with multilateral partners on global millennium goals and aid for trade issues. She currently advises the Government of Guyana on Economic Diplomacy and diaspora policy issues.

Yemi Akindoju

BBI Board, Treasurer Yemi Akindoju is an experienced banker with over 28-years of service in various professional organizations including Banking, Audit and Microfinance. Mr. Akindoju is currently a Snr. Clients Relationship Manager (Commercial Banking) with Scotiabank. He is a Fellow of the institute of chartered accountants of Nigeria (FCA) and holds an MBA from Enugu State University of Science and Technology. Before joining Scotiabank, he worked with Grant Thornton as an associate with the audit and assurance group and prior to immigrating to Canada in 2001, he was a GM with Sterling Bank Plc in Nigeria, where he worked as a group lead supervising a team of experts in the credit and marketing corporate accounts and mid-markets. He has also worked with Magnum Trust Bank (now Sterling Bank) where he acquired experience working as a Branch Manager and Financial Control. Mr. Akindoju is very active in his community working with other not-for-profit organizations in Halifax Nova Scotia as a volunteer board member and other active roles. He is married with 3-children. n

Within Nova Scotia, Nicole is focused on Developing and supporting Nova Scotia firms to achieve global success. She currently sits on the Black Business Consulting (BBC) Board and is a speaker for Passages Canada. Nicole was honoured to receive the United Nations (UN) 2011 Woman in Business Award, and the Global Affairs Canada Ken Senquist Award for Global Excellence in Trade for the years 2011, 2012. n 12 ...


As we continue to share our new model and expand not only our reach but also that of our clients, we have This was the first Summit held in over 4 years. The held a series of events this fiscal year day began with a series of workshops from industry experts on innovation, marketing etc. that have enabled us to do just that. The year began with our 2017 Black Business Summit, which was held at the Harbourfront Marriott Hotel in Halifax. The Summit historically has been a venue for networking and education for our clients and the mainstream business community. This year did not disappoint. 13 ...

Keynote Luncheon with Valerie Jarrett

WORKSHOP #1: Using Technology to Change Behaviour WORKSHOP #3: Secrets to Expansion This first workshop was facilitated by Councillor Lindell Smith. The panel presenters were: Shaquille Smith, who is a native of North Preston and works for Color; Eleanor Beaton, who is an internationally-recognized expert in women’s leadership and the host of the top-ranked podcast Fierce Feminine Leadership; and Mel Hattie, award winning-photographer, tea and travel journalist based in Halifax.

Lindell Smith

Eleanor Beaton

Shaquille Smith

The third and final workshop, closed the Summit. “Secrets to Expansion” was facilitated by Ann Divine, CEO of Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services. It included Melissa MacMaster, founder of 902HipHop; Mo Handahu, award-winning blogger, writer and digital content strategist; and Cathy Akinkumi, owner of award winning Beautiful Linen Rentals. This workshop featured ‘secrets’ of expanding into various industries while building solid and lasting relationships. Melissa shared how to expand your music into various continents, providing information on successful strategies not widely used in the music industry. Mo, who recently wrote for Essence magazine and Huffington Post, provided insights on how she accomplished her award-winning blog, and Cathy shared how she expanded her business beyond Nova Scotia and reached other ethnic groups.

Mel Hattie

The presenters shared their experience and strategies on using technology to reach and capture new markets like Hootsuite, Hemmingway, SEO search engines, LinkedIn and many more.

WORKSHOP #2: Connecting with Decision Makers The second workshop was moderated by Paul Water, CEO of Waterbury Newton, and included panelists Cassandra Dorrington, CEO of CAMSC and Saeed El-Darahali, President and CEO of SimplyCast. This workshop had a lot of insightful Ann Divine information on how to connect directly with decision makers in your current and promising industries. Both presenters shared their personal experiences and how they dealt with major challenges. The workshop also touched on how to network, research and build long-lasting business relationships with key decision makers, which included advice such as: being memorable, persistance, value propositioning, staying positive and true.

Mo Handahu

Paul Water

Cassandra Dorrington

Cathy Akinkumi

Melissa MacMaster

Saeed El-Darahali

continued > 14 ...

Opening Plenary The Black Business Initiative 2017 Summit themed “Expanding Your Reach” featured several experienced speakers in the corporate and entrepreneurial world. The summit’s Opening Plenary was kicked-off by Peter Spurway, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Airport Experience, with the Halifax International Airport Authority, recently named 2017 “Communicator of the Year” by the Canadian Public Relations Society Nova Scotia. His presentation set the stage for the summit and focused on its theme. Mr. Spurway merged fun, education, encouragement, inspiration and insight into his talk, pushing delegates to expand their reach outside their comfort zone. He encouraged participants to look for the opportunities in this ever-changing world and asked them not to be afraid of success or being wrong. He also suggested continuous scholarship through self-directed, formal or informal learning. The session ended with a question and answer session, Peter Spurway moderated by Cassandra Dorrington.

Keynote Luncheon

The highlight of the event for most people was the keynote luncheon. This sold old event was headlined by Valerie Jarrett, also known as the Obama whisperer, the longest standing employee of the Obama administration. Her fireside chat was both inspiring and moving, providing a glimpse into the Obama World and American politics. Candace Thomas hosted the chat with Ms. Jarrett. Please read her reflections on this in this issue’s cover story. (page 2)

Valerie Jarrett fireside chat

BBI staff and board with Valerie Jarrett

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Cassandra Dorrington

Gala Dinner and Awards Night The day finished with the Gala dinner and Awards Night. Another event that had been absent in recent years. We took this opportunity to recognize two deserving businesses within the Nova Scotian Black community. The Hector Jacques Award is given to a business or individual that exhibits business excellence- a true leader that demonstrates social and business responsibility. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes demonstrated business success of an entrepreneur. The Bin Doctor was the recipient of the Hector Jacques Award and DTN Nutrition received the Entrepreneur of the Year award. n

The Black Business Initiative wishes to recognize our sponsors and thank them for their support of our 20 th Anniversary and the 2017 Black Business Summit.

The Bin Doctor, Robert Loppie (l), Minister Tony Ince, Jason Vallaincourt (r)

DTN Nutrition, Amy & Wayne Miller

Gala Dance Entertainment, Asia & NuGruv

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Expanding Your Reach

BBI Supplier Fair More and more organizations are looking to Diversity and Inclusion in their supply chain. Specific certifications with groups such as CAMSC have been set up specifically to drive and encourage the uptake of inclusive procurement, which gives new, small, innovative suppliers a chance. It focuses mainly on the ethnic-minority-owned businesses, but through its work, helps change the lives of the wider body of marginalised or non-mainstream businesses.


Emmanuel Itiveh

Kalen’s Take-Out in Digby

Director of Entrepreneurship

During summer 2017, I visited the southern region, introducing myself while continuing to engage with partners and businesses in that area. My initial visit was very exciting because I got to learn about the great opportunities and challenges partners and businesses face.

During small business week Fall 2017, the BBI held an Inclusive Procurement Supplier Fair. This event was held in collaboration with Nova Scotia Business Inc., the Canadian Aboriginal Minority & Supplier Council (CAMSC), the Centre for Women in Business and the Immigration & Settlement Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and was attended by more than 60 people. Businesses were invited to connect with corporations, such as Michelin Development Canada, RBC, Sodexho and EY, to find out about emerging project opportunities and key requirements to doing business with them. The day also included educational sessions, where businesses learned from current exporters and resource providers, and attendees were also able to take part in a skill-building workshop. n

I had the opportunity to meet with Chuck Seale, the owner of the Jump Off Valley Clothing, a store located in New Minas that opened early in 2017. Mr. Seale has tapped into his passion, opening a store that has experienced consistent traffic. Customers who I spoke to during my visit were very happy about this establishment as it catered teenagers and youth looking for the latest fashion trend at a very competitive price. I also met with various clients whose businesses are breaking ground in the region. For example, Kalen’s Take-Out continues to make an impact in Digby and is looking to expand provincewide. I had the opportunity to establish a working relationship with the Valley Regional Enterprise Networks (RENS), who offer training, consultation and counselling to those businesses in Kentville and surrounding areas. Also during my visit, I had the opportunity to strengthen our working relationship with partners in that region such as: CBDC, Chamber of Commerce, NSBI, Southwest Employment Services, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA), to name a few. I returned in the fall and attended VANSDA’s AGM in Kentville, to conduct entrepreneurship training called “Simple Steps to Starting a Business”. I look forward to helping individuals become successful entrepreneurs; should you require information or to book a regional visit please call: 1-902-426-7973 or the toll-free number 1 (800) 668-1010. n

Southern Region Schedule

March 29, 2018 May 15, 2018 April 17, 2018 June 14, 2018 17 ...

Business is Jammin’


@ bijyouth


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Business is Jammin’

Empowering Black Youth Through Entrepreneurship Break into Business Summer Camp 2017 For summer 2017, we hired five youth coordinators from the following regions: • • • • •

Yarmouth – Southwest Employment Services Cape Breton – Boys & Girls Club, Whitney Pier & Melnik Hall New Glasgow – CBDC Nobl, library Halifax – BBI Office, various locations Dartmouth – Black Cultural Centre

“I enjoyed the Business for a Day the most, and seeing how excited the kids were. I believe in Recruitment was done with the help of our partners through the spirit of what BIJ’ stands for and I value the their email distribution lists and using Facebook. We hired development of the youths’ minds and enjoy two previous summer youth coordinators and three new ones: introducing them to entrepreneurship.” Keenan Brewer, Yarmouth; Tegin Davis, Cape Breton; Jalen – Tahjae Spencer, Halifax Coordinator Johnson, New Glasgow; Tahjae Spencer and Destiny Johnston, Halifax and Dartmouth. The coordinators gathered for a week-long training session at the BBI offices in Halifax. During this time, they created schedules and budgets for their bi-weekly camps and were also able to attend and participate in the activities of the BBI Business Summit held in June 2017.

Youth Coordinators typically run week long camps based off “I enjoyed working with the kids and assisting out their business idea.” guidelines provided by BIJ’ but are encouraged to think out- them to figure – Jalen Johnson, New Glasgow Coordinator side of the box with the types of activities, field trips and guest speakers they wish to schedule and provide for their young entrepreneurs. n

2017 BIJ PARTICIPANTS - 235 Total Participants 15









“I was very excited to come back for another year to work with the kids. I was excited to introduce the kids to other organizations including Brilliant Labs who introduced the kids to coding and robotics. I was also pleased to see the look on their faces and show them that entrepreneurship comes in many forms.” – Tegin Davis, Cape Breton Coordinator

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iC0DE+ fity


Meet the BBI Staff

FOR YOUTH 16-19 YEARS OLD The RBC iCode+ program is providing youth hands on basic computer literacy training & computer programming to youth in Black & Minority Communities; with the purpose of building their minds, knowledge and skills while encouraging participation in higher education and expose them to employment and entrepreneurship.

Business is Jammin’

Ayo Daniel Makanjuola

Director, Corporate Services

Ayo Daniel Makanjuola is the Director of Corporate Services for the Black Business Initiative (BBI) and its composite entities. He has a Bachelor degree in Accounting and a Master degree in Finance with a Chartered Accountant (CA) designation from Nigeria before relocating to Canada in 2015. He is currently at the final stage of the CPA program.

Empowering Black Youth

Through Entrepreneurship

Powered by:

Ayo brings a strong accounting and financial management background to the team. Prior to joining the BBI, he worked with Atlantic Maritime Pharmacies Limited (Guardian), as an Auditor and Tax consultant, and as a Finance Manager with a construction company. He is a member of the senior management team that executes the strategic framework and operational activities for the BBI composite group under the direction of the Board of Directors. A highly motivated team player and result oriented individual, with a proven track record of problem solving and the ability to multi-task, Ayo is a collaborative team player who is always willingly to contribute to team building and organizational excellence at any point in time. n

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The Montessori House of Learning

by: Michael Lightstone

Paul Adams

physician and educator who died in 1952. She developed the learning system in Europe in the early 20th century. Among other things, the Montessori method believes children learn best when they engage in independent learning, with teachers providing educational tools and guidance.

Child-care experts agree the early years are critical to a youngster’s healthy development. Leah Buffett, owner of a preschool in Middle Sackville, knows this and is applying the Montessori method to that principle so that little kids can thrive. She said she started her child-care service after pulling her daughter out of a program that fell far short of her expectations. “I fell in love with how rewarding it was, to see that I was making a difference in young children’s lives. I was making a foundation for learning,” Buffett said in mid-February. She launched the Montessori program in 2014 in her own home, providing care for a few children. Demand for the service grew steadily, Buffett said. Last year, she moved her preschool to a stand-alone property she owns on Sackville Drive. The Montessori House of Learning takes kids from eight months to five years old, and has added an after-school program for school-age children. “I’m just starting that program now. I did not initially want to do that,” Buffett acknowledged. “But there’s a great need for after-school care.”

21 ...

Buffett said hers is a licensed day care. According to the provincial government, a child-care license (identified under the Day Care Act) is needed in Nova Scotia to look after more than six preschoolers of any age, or eight school-age children. Aside from securing a loan from the Black Business Initiative, Buffett said BBI staff provided “very helpful” advice that aided her in navigating the government’s bureaucracy when she was getting started. “When I was opening the business, there were so many things being thrown at me,” said the 35-year-old woman, who moved to Nova Scotia six years ago from St. Kitts, in the Caribbean. “I lean on (the BBI) for advice and guidance, because they of course know it better than I do – they know the business world.” She said there were tough challenges at first, but “I was persistent (and) I got it done.” Buffett employs five people but said she could use a full complement of seven. Staffing is Buffett’s highest expense; other costs include her mortgage, supplies, heat and electricity. The Montessori philosophy is named for the founder of the global educational method, Maria Montessori, an Italian

The mission statement posted on the Montessori House of Learning’s Facebook site says, in part, the preschool “will create a prepared environment where children can freely explore their natural sense of wonder and choose their own work with enthusiasm and interest.” Aside from their daily activities, boys and girls attending Buffett’s child-care centre benefit from various educational events. Photos posted online by the preschool show a visiting presenter with reptiles, local firefighters and a fire truck, a visit from a handler’s service dog, an appearance by Santa Claus and outings to parks and a petting zoo. Last September, the Montessori House of Learning provided its first yoga class for the children, its Facebook site states. Buffett, a married mother of three, said she teaches at the preschool every day. She said it can accommodate 54 kids; 40 are currently enrolled. Most families that send their children to Buffett’s preschool are from the Sackville area, she said, though some are from Mount Uniacke. She opened her Sackville Drive site about six months ago. Meals are provided to the children at her preschool, said Buffett, and there’s one routine activity in which they all take part: naptime – every day. n Montessori House of Learning Owner: Leah Buffet Ph: 902-489-7400

Meet the BBI Staff Q: Where can I turn for mentorship and advice?

Ask the BBI

We recommend attending BBI’s intake sessions every Thursday at 2pm to get a full understanding of the kind of services we offer. We partner with many business development organizations and can make recommendations and provide the right information for you to move your Business to the next step.

Q: How do I increase the value of my customer?

Customer value is defined as how customers weigh the benefits of individual purchasing decisions against the costs of these purchases. Companies must know who purchases their goods and services, and why these consumers view their offerings as having the highest customer value to them. Understanding what drives value for your customers: 1. Understand your value proposition 2. Identify the customers and segments where you can create more value relative to competitors 3. Create a win-win price 4. Focus investments on your most valuable customers.

Q: What other forms of marketing should be considered? Before considering what forms of marketing you should choose, you should first have a marketing strategy in place for your business. A solid strategy will help guide what form of marketing best fits your business. Branding is also very important as this distinguishes you from your competitors in the market. A few popular forms of marketing: social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization/marketing, pay-per-click adverting, email marketing, radio advertising, television adverting and mobile phone adverting. n

Victoria Nadine Lake Accounting Assistant

Victoria Nadine Lake is currently the Accounting Assistant for the Black Business Initiative (BBI). She holds an MBA and Masters in Accounting from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting - Summa Cum Laude from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC, and a Bachelor of Art in Psychology. She is presently enrolled in the CPA Atlantic program. Prior to joining BBI, Victoria worked for an engineering firm in Halifax as their Corporate Accountant and worked as a Forensic Accountant in Miami in Fraud and Divorce Litigation. She has also worked as the Assistant Director of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda covering the Southeast United States, and held several positions in the hospitality field in Antigua and Barbuda. Victoria brings to the team strong accounting skills and a wide depth of experience in Management and Marketing. She is known as a hard worker with a positive attitude and expert problem solving and project management skills. n

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Culture Beat

Music of Business Conference

Central & Metro Regions

On the 29th of August 2017, the Black Business Initiative (BBI) and 902HipHop organized a Business in Music Workshop at the Halifax Central Library which was attended by various talented musicians, producers, writers and publishers in the Nova Scotia music industry. The workshop covered business marketing for music, which was well delivered by Ross Simmonds. The workshop allowed participants to find various media to market their product or service by focusing on utilizing the distribution channels available. Participants asked questions, discussed their current challenges while Mr. Simmonds gave them on-the-spot solutions for marketing their product or services. The Workshop was attended by 12 participants and ended with an MOU signing between the BBI, Rustum Southwell, CEO and 902HipHOp, Melissa MacMaster, founder.


Paul Rukidi •

Entrepreneurial Engagement Manager

Over the last months I have had the chance to reacquaint myself with clients and supporting partners (CANSA, NSBI and CBDC) in the Central Region. It is a pleasure to be part of the BBI team and have the opportunity to also interface with additional BBI clients in the Metro region. I have also been tremendously fortunate to meet with other representatives of many of our institutional partners. I wish to thank Entrepreneurship Engagement Managers, Rodger Smith and former Regional Business Development Manager Njabulo Nkala for assisting me in the transition process. I look forward to maintaining an active and visible presence in the region and encourage existing and potential entrepreneurs to contact me to discuss how we may be able work together. I will be resuming regional monthly visits; anyone wishing to book an appointment should contact me at (902) 478-6476 or by e-mail at and I will be more than happy to discuss your venture. n

Central & Metro Region Schedule

Melissa MacMaster, founder of 902HipHop, and Quake Matthews at Casino Nova Scotia

March 22, 2018 April 19, 2018

May 24, 2018 June 21, 2018

UPCOMING BBI EVENTS Entrepreneurship Workshop

April 10th • 2-4 p.m. Cape Breton Partnership 285 Alexandra Street Sydney NS

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June 27th 2:30-5:30 p.m. Hampton Inn 1960 Brunswick Street Halifax NS

Entrepreneur of the Year Award June 27th 5:30-7:00 p.m. Hampton Inn Halifax NS

Shop on Spring Garden Road • July 28th 9th Annual BIJ Charity Golf Tournament September 14th Granite Springs Golf Club

Power through a Working Lunch Put good food on the agenda and you’ll fuel the imagination and get great ideas flowing. We have a large assortment of platters designed to accommodate a wide range of preferences.





BBI Training Report

by: Akira McQuay, Training Manager

The Black Business Initiative (BBI) Training Department provides quality training programs to black and visible minority businesses across the province. These programs are strategically designed to build capacity by meeting the management and personal development needs of entrepreneurs. This could not be done without the continued support of our partners, in particular the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, AWENS - Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia, the Black Cultural Centre and the African Community Investment Cooperative of Canada, to name a few. With their help, we are able to cover the following areas: Workshops:

• Reducing Taxation for your Business • Financial Planning • Entrepreneurship 101 • Business Funding and Resources • Building Communities through Online and Social Media


• Project Management • Online and Social Media

We would also like to take this time to congratulate our most recent graduates who completed the Project Management and Online and Social Media Fall 2017 training courses! Information about the BBI and our training programs are available through our social media platforms: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Intake Session We would like to encourage all persons interested in receiving financial assistance, business advice, or any information about the BBI to attend our weekly information sessions. Information about our organization, services we provide and next steps for businesses. Intake sessions are held every Thursday at 2pm at the BBI office, free of charge, located at 1660 Hollis Street, suite 910. If you are unable to attend the session, we provide alternative means for you to receive the information. n

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• February 21, 2018 Truro Simple Steps to Starting a Business • February 27, 2018 Halifax Celebrating Business: Networking Event • March 2018 Recognizing Women in Business an International Women’s Day Event • March 22, 2018 Entrepreneur Talk


• March 23, 2018 Business Analysis


• April 10, 2018 Sydney Simple Steps to Starting a Business • April 12, 2018 Antigonish Financial Management Workshop • May 15, 2018 Marketing Workshop


• April/May, 2018 Word Press



Evolution of the Brand Since it’s inception in 1996 the Black Business Initiative has essentially been using the same logo to represent the BBI Brand. There have been some minor tweaks over the years, the logo has worked well and become recognised in the corporate world. Now, after 20+ years the board has asked for an update to reflect the evolution of the BBI Brand and our successful entry into the digital age. Under the watchful eye of Laurissa Manning, BBI’s Director of Stakeholder & Community Relations, Design North was given the task of making this happen... below is a quick explanation of this process. Timeline of the BBI logo




2018 Our new logo represents who we are now, while still honouring our past.

Retooling the BBI logo

BBI’s logo/wordmark was developed in 1996, when the BBI was established. Developed from a sketch submitted by a board member in 1994, the logo-mark is the African (Ghanaian) symbol Dwannimmen, the double ram’s horn. Dwanimmen means strength; strength of purpose, character and resolve. The colours are the scheme used for many African-based graphic identities, taken from the most common colours appearing in many African Nations flags.

It was important to keep many of the elements of the original BBI Graphic Identity, especially the Dwannimmen symbol and the original colours (red, yellow, green & black). This new graphic approach brings a more modern/corporate feel to the BBI logo, and while doing so, imbues the brand with even greater symbolic meaning.

Symbolism used in the new logo.


zodiac sign-ram • • • • • •

strength energetic pioneering enthusiastic dynamic the first sun sign

Examples of incorporating the new branding seamlessly throughout the BBI’s various entities.


nautical symbol • • • • • •

strength stability security determination hope of the ocean


Business is Jammin’

adinkra symbol

(double ram’s horn)

• • • • • •

strength humility pioneering determination courage hope

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Colour your world At Stewart McKelvey, we believe that the world wouldn’t be as bright and beautiful without all of the cultures, perspectives, ideas, and experiences that colour it. We strive to set the standard when it comes to diversity and inclusion, creating a workplace that fosters a culture of awareness, appreciation, and respect. It not only makes our practice better, it makes us who we are.




Business is Jammin’





Sponsorship Opportunities & Team Entries please contact: Paul Rukidi 902-478-6476

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

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)


ONE IDEA AT A TIME. Congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on 20 years of strengthening our community by solving challenges, increasing connections and expanding opportunity.

If undeliverable return to: The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 910, 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7

Agreement No.


numĂŠro de convention