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Andre Levingston President & CEO, Halifax Rainmen

Also in this Issue:  BBI 15th Anniversary  Trailblazers:

Photographers & Designers

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

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


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

COVER STORY Andre Levingston

President & CEO of Halifax Rainmen

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


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5 It Takes A Village

Daycare Brenda and Theaston White

The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7

Mailed under Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Agreement no. 0040026687

from the Board from the CEO

Cover Photograph: Peter Marsman

Phone: 902-426-2224 Fax: 902-426-8699 Toll Free: 1-888-664-9333 E-Mail: bbi@bbi.ns.ca Web Site: www.bbi.ca

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8 Michael Wyse Named New BBI CEO

9 Geek Speak


Ross Simmonds

11 TRAILBLAZERS Photographers & Designers

C O NTENTS 10 Northern Report Njabulo Nkala

18 Business Development Report Gordon Doe

20 BIJ Report

Mahogany Lucas

36 Central Report

Shakara Russell

37 Training Report

Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver

38 Southern Report

Gregory Adolphe-Nazaire

13 Noble May Catering


Mary Nkrumah

15 People & Business on the Move

18 OUT & ABOUT with the BBI

19 The Way Forward, A Legacy

31 The Law

and Your Business

33 Angela Cromwell’s Beautiful Roots


35 BBI 2012 Summit 39 Community & Business Events

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

Message from the Board of Directors


pring is the season of rejuvenation. And as we look

Peter Marsman

forward to bright days and

warmer temperatures, we at the Black Business Initiative (BBI) also anticipate a host of exciting opportunities for Black entrepreneurs throughout Nova Scotia.

Greg Browning Chair, Black Business Initiative

I’ll start with Irving Shipbuilding’s successful bid to build Canada’s next fleet of naval ships. This $25 billion contract is perhaps the most significant opportunity to hit Nova Scotia since Confederation. And its spin-off benefits extend far beyond the shipyard. From estheticians to home builders, dentists to day cares, Black business owners will feel the impact of the naval ship contract for decades as this money trickles through our economy. And the BBI will be there offering our support to help our businesses take advantage of these opportunities through access to training, networks and financing. Building capacity within the Black business community is at the core of what we do. And starting this spring, we’re going to be doing it in a new and better way. BBI staff members have been working hard to research and plan for the restructuring of our training programs to make them more relevant and focused on the needs of today’s entrepreneurs. I encourage you to watch for these new programs as they roll out over the coming weeks and months. Summit time is just around the corner. The BBI’s Race to Business Success Summit will take place June 21-22 at the World Trade and Convention Centre. From a vendor fair and networking to workshops and our beloved boat cruise,

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the Summit is a great opportunity to network, build new skills and foster stronger relationships within the Black Business Community. I hope you’ll attend. Finally, I would not be a banking professional if I did not talk about how pleased I am at seeing our Black Business Community Economic Development Investment Fund Limited go through another successful year. Our CEDIF is an important community development tool, and I am so thrilled at the number of people making socially conscious investment decisions. Your money speaks volumes and accomplishes important ends. Happy spring.

Greg Browning, Chair

Message from the Chief Executive Officer


recall as a young man in high

Peter Marsman

school, back further in time than I would like to remember, I fash-

ioned myself as James Brown Junior and performed in our school concerts. It was a career path I did not pursue for obvious reasons. So on Saturday, February 18, when the board of the African Nova Scotian Music Association (ANSMA) presented me with an award for support and service to their mission

S.I. Rustum Southwell CEO, Black Business Initiative

and vision over the years, to me it felt like I was receiving a Grammy. The ANSMA journey, however, is a long one with many people more important than me and other champions serving along the way. Lou Gannon, the current president of the organization can give you the full history. And yet, even before Lou, there were quite a few others – Marc Perry, Sheldon States, Delvina Bernard, Marcel McKeough, Shelley Fashan, for example. They laid the foundation and design and strategized the concept. It was a good Saturday night in African Heritage Month. There was a joyous sense of pride just to have been part of the hard work and good results of the organization. Because of the milder than usual February, the African Heritage Month Gala in Sydney, sponsored by the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs in collaboration with several partners, was a sold out exceptional event. The Sydney gala is now the way to begin the celebrations for the month. I was glad I attended this year. For Elizabeth Cromwell, Beverley Cox and the team at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, it

was February 22 they will remember and celebrate. On this day, they announced their outstanding achievement of raising $5 million in federal, provincial and municipal funding for the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre. As reported in SouthCoastToday. ca: “Black Loyalist Heritage Society founder and current president Elizabeth Cromwell expressed her deep appreciation to the federal and provincial governments and to the Town and Municipality of Shelburne for their support on the ‘long journey’ to making the Centre a reality. She also recounted some of the history behind the evolution of the project and mentioned some of the former board members who had passed away before the celebration, including her brother Richard Gallion and long-time board member Sharon Oliver.” Everyone knows that Elizabeth herself has been the passion of this project for decades. Although our fifteenth anniversary gala seems longer than three months ago, we still hear about that night and the keynote speech by Mike Duck, owner of AC Dispensing. One of the encouraging results after the event is a closer relationship with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Immediately after attending the gala, Valerie Payn, President of the Halifax Chamber insisted that we find ways to work better together. With the current interest in the Irving shipbuilding contract with the Navy and its potential for long-term economic growth, it is time for us to add diversity to the broader business community. A closer relationship with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce will help business continued on page 37

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Cover Story

Andre Levingston President & CEO of Halifax Rainmen

Andre Levingston (left) 3 ...

Peter Marsman


ndre Levingston knew no one when he moved to Canada. But he took the leap to expand his business and was captivated by what he saw, or rather, what he didn’t see this side of the border: “I didn’t see abandoned cars, or abandoned houses and buildings. I didn’t see garbage on the ground. I didn’t see raggedy cars on the side of the freeway.” It was love at first sight and he knew he wanted to stay. Levingston grew up impoverished in Detroit, Michigan. “There was so much crime and drugs and everything else in between,” he says, recalling the landscape of his childhood. He never feared losing anything because, materially, he’d never had anything to lose.

“For me to take the risk to better myself, my life and my family situation, I didn’t think twice.” Today, the former school teacher turned businessman is CEO and president of the Halifax Rainmen basketball team. He’s also founder of the National Basketball League of Canada – the country’s first professional basketball league. “It’s been phenomenal,” he says of his current position. “We’ve been getting a great response.” A deal that fell through in Mississauga had left Levingston excited about owning a basketball franchise. Two people he met in in Toronto encouraged him to consider Halifax as home for his future team – a young woman named Jasmine, who now works for him, and

his lawyer, a Dalhousie graduate. Levingston took their advice. “I got a great response from the mayor and some of the other business people I had met with, and I found a great facility that was able to work with me. After spending a few days here in Halifax, I said Halifax it’s gonna be.” And Halifax it was. But the culture was very different from what Levingston had known in the U.S. and in Toronto. “I was always taught to work as hard as you can, as much as you can, everyday all day.” At

“I got a great response from the mayor and some of the other business people I had met with, and I found a great facility that was able to work with me. After spending a few days here in Halifax, I said Halifax it’s gonna be.” And Halifax it was. first, the quaintness of pace in Halifax frustrated Levingston. “I was like how do you get stuff done before going on vacation for the entire month of August?” he says, with a reminiscent chuckle. “I didn’t understand.”

by: Abena Amoako-Green

Eventually he came to understand that people in Halifax did work hard, but knew how to balance their lives, something which Levingston confesses he was terrible at. In Halifax, he learned that “there is another way to do good business.” Great partnerships and a supportive fan base have been vital to the franchise’s success. “There is just no way you could do this without great partners” Levingston says. He lists Rogers Communications, Eastlink Television, Avis car rentals, Hamachi House, and the Chronicle Herald as just a few among many. Game attendance has been key as well. “No butts in the seats equals failure,” he states. “We have some amazing fans, the best fans in the league I feel.” These two factors have made for a thriving professional basketball franchise. The Rainmen have been very involved in the community. “It’s very important that we give back to a community that we do business in,” Levingston says. “We support various charities and community initiatives and that’s definitely a message we stress leaguewise.” Beyond this being a factor for success, Levingston says that having grassroots involvement is the right thing to do. With the conviction in his voice, it’s difficult to believe that public speaking scares him. Yet the strength of his message for youth supersedes any nervousness and is anything but sugar coated: “Wake up! The world is not continued on page 38

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It Takes A Village Daycare Brenda and Theaston White , Owners, It Takes a Village Daycare

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Paul Adams


or Theaston and Brenda White, the best part of working with children is seeing them thrive in an environment meant for them to grow and learn, and seeing them happy at the end of the day. On February 1, 2011, the couple opened It Takes a Village, a daycare centre located in Clayton Park. Here they’re able to experience this satisfaction every day.

“Brenda and I both share a great love for children,” Theaston explains, as part of their reasoning for opening up the daycare. For a number of years, Brenda had provided childcare from the family home to supplement the household’s income. As their three girls – Baleigh, Brooklyn and Bria – got older, the idea came to them to expand into something larger outside of the home. “The more we discussed it and shared our plans, there were many people who were generous enough to lend support and resources into making our dream a reality,” says Theaston. He adds that since he was working full time, it was through Brenda’s steadfast commitment that all their plans were able to unfold. The name comes from an old African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ “Our goal is to create a sense of community for parents and children who attend our facility,” Theaston says. He shares a story demonstrating that the children at the centre stay true to another saying: Kids say the darndest things. “A little boy once bit another little boy in the toddler room. When we questioned him about why he had bitten the other child, he claimed a raccoon that happened to have the

same name as him was hungry and wanted a snack, so he bit his friend.” With their girls involved in extracurricular activities and a Yorkie-Poodle mixed dog to take care of, the family has a demanding schedule. It’s a pleasant thing then, that children are able to infuse busy lives with laughter. In addition to the inherent uniqueness of the children who attend It Takes a Village, the

Whites feel a few additional qualities set the centre apart. For instance, it aims to provide an open door policy and a nutritious menu that is 80 percent organic. “Unlike other daycares that do not accept children after the designated dropoff times, we keep an open door,” says Theaston. “We want parents to feel comfortable walking into our centre.” They also encourage open dialogue between staff and parents to avoid potential issues that may arise in a childcare setting. And, important to both the children and their parents, Theaston describes the daycare setting as “Warm, friendly and fun!”

by: Abena Amoako-Green

The Whites have learned a lot in the last year. “Licensed childcare facilities are heavily regulated by the provincial government’s Department of Community Services,” Theaston says. “As such, there are many demands in place to ensure the full and comprehensive setup of new facilities.” They’ve made it through their first year and have several business goals for 2012, including expansions and enhancements to service delivery.

It Takes a Village – Daycare Clayton Park, Halifax Theaston and Brenda White 405 8336/405 8337 Ittakesavillage@live.com

Fun Facts Favourite Quote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

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What does a Medical Products Manufacturer, IT Company, and Human Resource Consultancy all have in common?

BioMedica Diagnostics Inc.: www.biomedicadiagnostics.com GenieKnows Inc.: www.genieknows.com Vale & Associates: www.valeassociates.ca

"Changing the world one business at a time" Centennial Building Suite 1201 1660 Hollis Street Halifax, NS B3J 1V7

Direct: (902) 426-2224 Toll Free: 1-888-664-9333 Fax: (902) 426-8699 www.bbi.ca

Michael Wyse Named New BBI CEO

Black Business Initiative April 3, 2012


Waverley native and career entrepreneur has been chosen as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Black Business Initiative. Michael Wyse, Dalhousie University graduate, corporate strategist, community economic development specialist and human resource practitioner and trainer, will take over the role effective April 10, 2012. “Michael brings to the position considerable experience in training and entrepreneurship education, strategic and business planning, and community economic development locally, nationally and internationally,” said Greg Browning, Chair, Black Business Initiative Board. “Because of his many years of service in the private and public sectors, I am confident in his ability to continue to foster relationships with our existing partners within and outside of government, as well as form new alliances with organizations that will help strengthen the BBI.” Mr. Wyse holds a Masters in Business Administration with a double major in corporate social responsibility and human resource training and development and a Masters in Educational Psychology, with a double major in human resources management and education psychology. No stranger to the BBI, Mr. Wyse was a regional business development manager early in the inception of the organization and later went on to serve on the Board as a member and finally, its chair. He will succeed Rustum Southwell whose 16.5

years have seen the organization grow from being known as a business loan institution to a strong provincial entity for Black entrepreneurs to a leader in economic growth with five tiers that include communication and marketing, consulting, business skills development, loan and equity services, and strategic initiatives. “It was difficult to make the decision to leave the organization I spent the last 16 years helping to build, but I am confident Mike will take the BBI to the next level,” said Rustum Southwell. “Mike has the entrepreneurial energy needed to lead the BBI forward in our strategic direction. The organization is in good hands.”

members of the African Nova Scotian Community. It was established in 1996, by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia, to address the unique needs confronting the Black business community in Nova Scotia. The BBI is governed by a board of directors and is currently funded by the federally administered Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Provincial Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

“We are grateful to Rustum for his immeasureable contribution to the BBI. He has laid a strong foundation for the organization. I look forward to Michael leading the BBI Group as we continue the climb to new heights in our mission,” said Mr. Browning. A welcome to Mr. Wyse and send off for Mr. Southwell will occur during the Black Business Initiative’s 8th Business Summit – The Race to Business Success, being held June 21 – 22, 2012 in Halifax. The Black Business Initiative is a provincewide business development initiative committed to fostering the growth of businesses owned by 8 ...

Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing in 2012

with Ross Simmonds

Have you ever wondered how a business similar to yours became so successful? How they were able to generate more fans on Facebook than you? You spend nights scratching your head wondering how, and at times questioning if they were just lucky. Well, reality says otherwise. They weren’t lucky. They did just the right things to find success. By analyzing their success, you can join them in the spotlight as one of the leaders in your industry. I’ve worked with several businesses to help them reach their online goals and objectives. I’m going to share three tried and tested methods to generate new clients and opportunities. Here are three easy ways you can improve your digital presence in 2012. Thought #1: Create a Blog There tends to be a love-hate relationship between business owners and blogs. They often believe that blogs are old school and no longer relevant when it comes to Internet marketing. In reality, blogging can and should play a crucial role in your online marketing efforts. Recent reports show that businesses that blog receive 55 percent more web traffic than those that don’t. These businesses are also more likely to receive 70 percent more business leads. So what does that mean? It means, you should seriously consider blogging. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant owner, lawyer or real estate agent. Blogging is a great opportunity that you should not ignore. 9 ...

Thought #2: Develop a Facebook Page Now, I’m not going to assume you have a Facebook page, even though it’s the most popular social network in the world. A lot of people are still a bit nervous about setting their business up on Facebook, because they’re afraid of what consumers will say about them. Well, let me break it down for you. If people are talking about your business, they are going to do it with or without you. There’s no way of controlling the conversations happening about your brand. The key opportunity, however, is in your ability to influence them. Instead of having a customer update their Facebook status complaining about you or your product, let them come to your page with the problem and solve it in a place that everyone can see, rather than in private where you’re essentially letting the customer tell only their side of the story. Thought #3: Promote Your Facebook Page If you build it, they will not come. Trust me. There are millions of pages on Facebook that don’t have more than a handful of likes because they don’t realize this simple fact. Now sure, if you want to keep using your business’s Facebook page to talk and keep your Mom entertained, then keep going. If you want to grow your Facebook page to generate new and repeat business, you’ll want to follow this closely. Here are a few quick and dirty ways to increase your number of likes …

2. Use Print Media: Look at all the brochures, signs, flyers and pamphlets you’ve created and think about adding your Facebook URL on it next time. Outside of that, even think about adding your Facebook URL to your email signature. The opportunities for promotion are limitless. 3. Buy Some Ads: There is an art and science to running highly effective Facebook ads, but anyone can set up a basic campaign. There are tons of value here because once someone likes your page; you’ve got them for good. This is a great way to generate likes and not overly pricey. 4. Cross Promotion: Your website and blog are where most of your customers are going to find you. If you can use some of the widgets provided on Facebook. These are the widgets on sites that show you the Faces of friends who have “Liked” them already. They are great for promotion, as the simple act of seeing your friends have liked it will increase your chances of doing the same.

So there you have it. Three easy ways to take your business to the next level. If you want to make your business one of the best, understanding the importance of social media and digital marketing is crucial. Get in there, get messy and make mistakes. If you don’t, it will be similar to eating a Big Mac with extra cheese – you’ll regret it later.

Ross Simmonds www.rosssimmonds.com contributed

1. Run a Contest: It’s a simple tactic but one that can work wonders, if you do it properly. If you’re running a barbershop, try giving away one free haircut to a random Facebook fan every month. If you own a restaurant, have a contest where people need to upload an image to your wall to be entered to win a dinner for two. These simple contests are compelling and relevant. Users will find them entertaining and have no choice but to share them with their friends.

Ross Simmonds is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a double major in Marketing and Human Resources/ Industrial Relations. The East Preston, Nova Scotia, native has his own digital marketing company, targeting small and medium-sized businesses. He’s also a member of the digital marketing team with the Halifax advertising agency, Colour.

Regional Report Northern Njabulo Nkala As February was African Heritage Month, I would like to congratulate the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and the Glace Bay UNIA Hall for hosting the successful 5th Annual Celebration Gala Dinner & Dance; as well as the communities in Sydney and New Glasgow for the successful reading of the AHM Proclamation and launch of events in their respective areas. In the current economic environment, it’s the innovative and agile businesses that stay ahead of the pack and remain for the long term. One such business is Corey Katz Photography based in Sydney, which has steadily grown over the last year or so and morphed into a household name in the photography business in and around Cape Breton. In fact, Corey Katz was nominated for the Sydney and Area

Chamber of Commerce Young Business Person(s) of the Year Award in the fall. I would like to congratulate him on this achievement. I would also like to congratulate Angela Cromwell, the owner of Ansena Hair Salon and Extensions in New Glasgow for being featured in this issue of Black to Business magazine. You may recall that I previously introduced Ms Cromwell in this column. I would like to urge you to support these businesses as well as other Black owned businesses in your area for they depend on our support to succeed. Please contact me at (902) 426-4281 or email nkala.njabulo@bbi.ns.ca regarding events in your area or if you have questions about the BBI’s programs and services.

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Photographers & Designers


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with their digital cameras and free editing software, and most people give a go at creating their own website or blog at some point in their life. As a result,

it takes a certain character, a certain drive, and a certain level of creativity to make a living out of these pursuits. In this issue, meet three young professionals who are making a name for themselves in the fields of graphic design and photography.

Shyronn Dre Smardon


n our technological society, just about anyone can take nice looking photos

Shyronn Dre Smardon Shyronn Dre Smardon says of his photography, “It’s much more than a hobby or just taking pictures. It’s more of a craft, it’s more of who [I] am.” Smardon, who recently finished a Master of Architecture degree, is at an in-between place in his life right now. While waiting for graduation in the spring, he is taking the time to clear his head and figure out what comes next. He knows part of what comes next is going to involve photography, even if it doesn’t become his 9 to 5. “Photography is something that I think I’m always going to have,” says Smardon. “It kind of becomes a magnet. I’m not doing it just because I want to get paid. I do it because I love it.”

Photography didn’t start out as something Smardon planned to have as part of his life and career. After high school, he took a drafting course at NSCC and when he discovered he liked creating his own designs rather than being handed them by others, he took some time to travel and then decided to pursue his interest in design. He attended Dalhousie University to become an architect. During his degree, Smardon had the chance to take an elective at NSCAD in photography. This heightened his already blossoming interest to see the world through a lens. Smardon feels his background in architecture and design brings out a unique quality to his photos. He says, “The way that I see things is much different than a lot of photographers … When you study architecture you see things differently. The details matter of how bricks go together, of how the floor comes together, so you’re paying attention to things most people don’t pay attention to, and I think that comes through in the photography.” Smardon doesn’t want to force something to be that isn’t there; he looks to capture a person’s qualities and character during a shoot. He loves candid moments. “As people, I think we remember those moments more,” says Smardon. “That’s just who we are.” (http://studiodre.com)

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Paul Green

by: Charlene Davis

Paul Green Paul Green, of Calmunity Communications, produces web and graphic design resources as well as marketing materials for small businesses, NGOs, non-profits, advocates, and individuals. He does work across Canada and into the United States. Green has been involved with visual and creative work since he was a child. He was always illustrating or sketching. “That’s actually how I used to try to flirt with girls, draw flowers and things like that,” he laughs. He’s also always been an entrepreneur. He says his business sense comes from life experiences and knowing at an early age that he wanted to be his own boss. When Green moved to Nova Scotia he attended NSCAD with the aim of combining these two interests. Although his focus has been mostly on web design, he’s eager to incorporate more illustration and photography into the services he offers. He wants Calmunity to encompass a lot of things and reach different communities. “I want to expand my business with that mindset,” says Green.

He plans to take on more social issues and challenges with his work, allowing his business to become an actual part of the community. He wants to give back while offering a service that’s affordable and accessible. Green also wants to establish a fund to support creative people. Last year, he was able to sponsor a local entrepreneur, Mo Handahu, for a fashion show. For Green, Calmunity is a dream come true. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but, he says, “I feel that I live a life with a lot of purpose. I enjoy what I do day to day.” One of his next steps is to transition Calmunity from being a home-based business to having an outof-home office. He’s also looking for some employees and a partner to help grow his business.

Katelyn Dorrington

Green says the Black Business Initiative was a great help in getting his business to where it is today. “BBI is family,” says Green. “I don’t know how else to say it … all kinds of staff there have added to my business or my business sensibilities or helped me in different ways.” (http://calmunity.ca/)

Katelyn Dorrington Katelyn Dorrington, of Kay’s Photography, has a dream. “I want to get stuff published,” she says. “I want to be a known photographer.” Unlike some dreams, this isn’t one she’s been working towards since her youth. Dorrington’s dream was born right around the same time as her son, who is only two years old. Dorrington has always had a creative eye – she started out sketching and painting – but when her son came along she started using that creativity to capture images of him. After she received many compliments on how nice the photos were, her husband suggested she should pursue photography and start working for herself. Dorrington used the Internet and resources at the library to become a self-taught photographer. Her first photo shoots were with local models she knew, which led to work with other models. And, says Dorrington, when TeamBuy contacted her in 2011, “It just went crazy.” continued on page 32

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Noble May Catering Mary Nkrumah, Owner, Noble May Catering

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Paul Adams


oble May Catering offers a variety of continental food – continental African food that is. Though most of her dishes hail from her home country of Ghana, Mary Nkrumah has learned to prepare dishes from across the continent to satisfy customers’ palettes and her own curiosity. She recalls, “I was asked to make samosas for 200 people, but I gathered the courage and said I can do it.” You’ll find on her menu Ghanaian entrees such as jollof rice, fried plantain and bean stew a.k.a. “red red,” banku and okra stew, and kebabs. Nkrumah also makes Senegalese-inspired couscous, chicken peanut stew and lamb stew, and Ethiopian injera bread. She says her customers enjoy all of her dishes. “Everything I have is popular. People just call and say, you just give me something.” Nkrumah ran the Ocean View Garden Restaurant in Ghana with her sister for three years, before moving to Halifax four years ago. Since expanding Noble May Catering beyond her circle of friends to the general public one year ago, she’s developed a broad customer base. “I have catered for BBI, for house parties, for Auntie Toria [Aidoo] for a two-day event concerning drumming and dance in Dartmouth.” Nkrumah has also prepared food for the Buskers and Multi-cultural Festivals in Halifax, and has served organizations such as Alliance Française and Cuso International. Her presence at these festivals has served as effective marketing for Noble May, which sells at the Seaport Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. “People come and say ‘Hmm, I’m not sure, are you the one at the Buskers Festival? Do you have the same thing

here?’ It really makes me feel good!” New faces keep things interesting for Nkrumah. Many of her customers are not Ghanaians looking for some good home cooking, as she had anticipated, but rather people looking to try something new. “I went to the market thinking, ‘Oh, there are Ghanaians here. Some of them are single so they can just pop in and get something to eat.’ But I’m not making market from them, it’s other people.”

Nkrumah ran the Ocean View Garden Restaurant in Ghana with her sister for three years,

by: Abena Amoako-Green

Nkrumah says, “My husband is always encouraging me because whenever any contract comes and I say this is too big, can I handle it?’ He says ‘Mary, you can do it, I’ll help you.’” Having this type of support allows Nkrumah to enjoy the best parts of running her business, which are having people enjoying her food and learning new things in her trade. It also allows her to plan for bigger things in the future. “When I see places like MacFarland’s the rental company, I say, wow, if I work hard I can also get there.” Though Nkrumah hopes to one day have a restaurant location, for now she continues to offer her continental array of dishes at the Seaport Farmers’ Market and at special functions by request.

before moving to Halifax four years ago. Nkrumah says she’s happy to see different people enjoy her food. “And they come back,” she states. “That means I’m doing awesome.” Nkrumah has her mother to thank for her awesomeness. Her mother was a business woman, a caterer and is one of the most important people Nkrumah has ever known. Also on this list are Chefs James and Mike at the Learning Kitchen (Feed Nova Scotia) and Chef Chris Velden of Flying Apron Cookery. Also among her inspirations is her husband Jonathan who “helps in different ways, like keeping records and doing the paperwork.” He is one of the encouraging forces behind Noble May Catering.

Noble May Catering Mary Nkrumah 457 3257 noblemay@yahoo.com

Fun Facts Favourite Quotes: The first is in my mother tongue of Fante: "nkakra kakra naa okoko diznu nsu" which means "little by little the hen drinks water." And Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" What sport are you best at: table tennis Last Book Read: Tears in A Glass Eye by Kevin Roberts Favourite Movie/ Film star: Zach Oji - a Nigerian actor 14 ...

People & Business on the Move

Congratulations to Halifax hip hop artist Jordan Croucher for his two Juno nominations – new artist of the year and R&B/Soul recording of the year. The Junos were awarded on April 1st in Ottawa. Nova Scotia's 28th annual African Heritage Month celebrations will pay tribute to Unsung Heroes: Men who Make a Difference. The unsung heroes are: Donald Cooke Jr., Amherst; Everett Desmond, Upper Big Tracadie; Joel Marsman, Lower Sackville; Keith Miller, Yarmouth; C.F. "Babe" Paris, New Glasgow; and Archbishop Vincent Waterman, Sydney. Three generations of the Smith Family were present at the launch. Wallace Smith Senior and Junior and Reeny Smith sang “Amazing Grace” in the Red Room at Province House. Regional launches for African History Month were held on January 26 at the Black Cultural centre, on Jan. 27 in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, on Jan. 28, at the 5th Annual Celebration Gala, the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, on Jan. 30 in the New Glasgow Town Council Chambers and the Digby Municipal Building,on Feb. 1 a at the Municipality of Cumberland Countyand onFeb. 3 in the Acadia Fountain Commons Building, in Wolfville. George Elliott Clarke and El Jones were part of a War of 1812 Speakers Series, talking about Black participation in the War of 1812 held at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Feb. 1. A stamp honouring Viola Desmond was unveiled in early February at the Black Cultural Centre in Cherry Brook with Desmond’s sister Wanda Robson on hand for the tribute. Desmond is also the heroine of a play "Other People's Heaven: The Viola Desmond Story" presented by Fire Brand Theatre in 15 ...

New Glasgow on February 3. was also made into a film, Road to Justice: The Viola Story”, which has been across the province.

Her story The Long Desmond screened

“The Struggle Goes On” - Dr. Burnley “Rocky” Jones was the speaker at the James Robinson Johnston Distinguished Lecture Series at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. The James Robinson Johnston Distinguished Lecture Series continued with Isaac Saney on February 15th, speaking on "Race & Revolution: Lessons From Cuba." Sunday Miller has been hired as the new executive director of the Africville Heritage Trust. She has a background in community development projects in South America, Indonesia, and Halifax. She also has led not-forprofit organizations ranging from the Black Educators Association to AdSum House, and the Dartmouth Learning Network Tyson Cave shut out Mexico’s Saturnino Nava over eight rounds at the Halifax Forum’s Multi-Purpose Centre. With his WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight title on the line Cave won a 10-round unanimous decision against Mexico’s Jovanny Soto on March 24. North Preston’s Jason Downey, the 2011 Canada Games gold medallist, highlighted the amateur card with a split-decision victory over Newfoundland’s Brandon Leaman at the same championship. Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes made a guest appearance for at the final event. In January, Nova Scotian members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sought advice and direction from residents of North Preston Monday night in a series of ‘Community Engagement Sessions'.

Approximately 100 residents turned out for the meeting, and police were pleased with the input on programs they would like to see in place in the community.

Rev. Rhonda Britton, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, and Felicia Eghan have all been appointed to the Nova Scotia Advisory Council of the Status of Women.

Mo Handahu, of Clutch Culture, was featured on CTV’s Live at Five, showing off her one of a kind clutch bags and recently won an award for entrepreneurship and community spirit at the Celebrating Our Youth Luncheon. Congratulations also to Ruff Endz Clothing and East Preston Gives Back: Tyson Tolliver and Rainie Williams.

On December 11, the Hon. Mayann E. Francis held a special Christmas concert featuring the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church Revival Choir at Government House.

For North Preston singer Reeny Smith, 2011 was a year to remember. She won the Up and Coming Award at the African Nova Scotian Music Awards, participated as a young artist in the 2011 Canada Winter Games National Artist Program, and received the 2011 Black Cultural Centre President’s Award. In November, she performed at the 10th annual Portia White Award Gala Concert and was mentioned as a young Nova Scotian to watch by the Chronicle Herald. Dr Afua Cooper began her tenure as the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies in August and she’s working to increase the chair’s profile. The third installment of Wordrhythm Kids, a performance-based literary program that encourages creativity through the written and spoken word, was held at the Halifax North Library in early February. The Universalist Unitarian church held a series called Oppression: Loss and Hope, where they've focused on different marginalized communities in Nova Scotia and inviting guests with first hand experiences to discuss them together. Panellists included Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Jon Tattrie, and Irvine Carvery.

The fourth annual Charity Community Basketball Tournament was held from December 16-18 in East Preston with proceeds going towards an annual ski trip for children from the community. The Windsor Cultural Academic Enrichment Program (CAEP) held a Kwanzaa community supper, concert, and fashion show on December 20th at the Windsor Plains United Baptist Church. Shauntay Grant presented on Africentric Literacy at Mount Saint Vincent on January 20. On January 24, the second video in the ‘Empowerful’ series project premiered. It is a youth-led video about Mulgrave Park’s Evelina Upshaw, produced by Halifax’s Pink Dog Productions. It highlighted Mrs. Upshaw, a pillar of the Mulgrave Park community and a pioneer in helping area youth, a worker with the Cornwallis St. Baptist Church for many years, and a leader in neighbourhood activism. Dalhousie University’s Black Student Advising Centre's held a Martin Luther King's Day event on Jan 16th in the Student Union Building of Dalhousie University. The Nova Scotia Mass Choir presented “The Dream Continues”, a musical tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and NS's Burnley

"Rocky" Jones on January 21 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. The Black Business Initiative (BBI) hosted a luncheon “Celebrating our Youth" on February 8 at The Westin Nova Scotia. Andre Levingston, the successful businessman and President and CEO of Halifax Rainmen, was the keynote speaker. On January 27, the Rev. Rhonda Britton was the special guest preacher at the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service held at the Presbyterian Church of Saint David in Halifax. Clergy from the Presbyterian, United, Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches participated in the evening service. Trailblazers 2012 marks over 145 years of vibrant African Canadian history in a unique exhibit that honours the past and celebrates the present in Black History Month exhibit at the Cumberland County Museum and Archives. The 10 panel exhibit created by Darlene Strong highlights the influence and achievements of local African Canadian trailblazers who served in many capacities. The Black Loyalist Heritage Society held its third Annual Floral Presentation with Neville MacKay on Feb 5. It was followed by the 7th Annual Chocolate Festival at the Birchtown Community Centre. Congratulations to Jessica Bowden, the first Nova Scotian ever to receive the esteemed Hope, Success, and Empowerment Award on February 4 during the University of Ottawa Black History Month Gala. She was nominated for her ongoing work with Nova Scotia youth, through platforms, such as teen magazine Teens Now Talk,

continued on page 18

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BIJ Celebrating Our Youth Luncheon

Out with &theAbout BBI

February 8, 2012

Mo Handahu, Joseph Parris, Andre Levingston and Tyrone Kelley

17 ...

Keynote Speaker: Andre Levingston, President and CEO, Halifax Rainmen

The Royal Bank of Canada delegates table

Business is Jammin’ Chair, Joseph Parris with Mo Handahu owner of Clutch Culture

Business is Jammin’ Chair, Joseph Parris (middle) with the owners of Ruff Endz Clothing

2011-12 ANSMA Awards Show

Business Development Report

February 18, 2012

Gordon Doe CEDIF: Invest in Nova Scotia

Rustum Southwell, CEO of the BBI, presents the BBI Industry Award to the Family of Lindsay Drummond of CompuTraxx Multimedia.

This year we successfully raised $51,000 during the 8th share offering of the Black Business Community Investment Fund (BBCIFL). This brings the total capital raised to $606,000 over the past eight years. It has been a successful undertaking to raise capital and invest the same in NS companies. If you want to participate next year, we intend to start selling shares in December and close at the end of February 2013. This timing allows us to take advantage of the RRSP season. Constructing The Future Now in its fourth year, the Constructing The Future program is a 32-week construction training and job readiness program the BBI developed and delivers in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and the Nova Scotia Community College.

Ced & Marty accepting their award for Emerging Artist

Response to the program continues to be strong. This year, 18 participants started their training on February 13 after successfully completing a two week assessment. We also expanded our community outreach and recruitment efforts. We held six different community presentations at North and East Preston, North End and Bayers Road Halifax, Hammonds Plains and Lucasville. Classroom training would take place at different NSCC metro campuses. ADEPA Management ADEPA is planning to engage more Black construction workers on construction management and skills development training in the upcoming construction season. We share the view that the recent NS ship building contract will bring new business opportunities to the construction sector and we want to ready our construction businesses to take advantage of these opportunities. For inquires about any of these programs, please call me at 426-698 or email doe.gordon@bbi.ns.ca.

People & Business on the Move continued from page 16

motivational speaking and events like the Hali-Cares fashion show and TNT Passport 2 Youth Success XPO. Jacob Deng was profiled in the Chronicle Herald about his work with the Wadeng Wings of Hope charity in his homeland of the south Sudan. Rev. Wallace Smith receives his Lifetime Achievement Award

In Memoriam The BBI would like to extend its sympathy to Brian Martin, Board

Chair of the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association (CANSA) on the passing of his mother, Mrs. Ameila "Doll" Martin, of Amherst NS. She was one of the "Stars" of the documentary, "Weaving the Story". The BBI would like to extend its sincere condolences to Beverley Parker, BBI administrative assistant, on the passing of her family member Joseph ‘Joey’ Skeir. Joey, as he was known, passed away on October 11, 2011 at his home among family and friends. 18 ...

Our Historical Background From our head office in Halifax, we service our clients throughout the entire province of Nova Scotia. Halifax, the Gateway to Atlantic Canada, has flourished as a prominent port situated on the world’s second largest natural harbour. Nova Scotia is home to the highest tides in the world, historic landmarks, sandy beaches and harbour fronts, and will leave you with more than memories. Indeed it will leave its mark on your soul! History has it that the first Black Loyalists arrived in Nova Scotia between 1783 and 1785, as a result of the American Revolution. They were the largest group of people of African descent.

The Way Forward,

A Legacy...

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The Honourable Mayann E. Francis, ONS, DHumL Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Dear Friends, It is with great pleasure that I extend warmest congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on the celebration of your 15th Anniversary of successful business development in the province of Nova Scotia. I am pleased to have this opportunity to commend all members of the Black Business Initiative for your dedication and commitment to fulfilling the vision of your organization, namely to provide “a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotian business community”. You have created a powerful network of enterprises and strategic alliances across Canada. Your efforts have resulted in many success stories for the companies you have supported. You have earned the respect and admiration of the community for the outstanding role you have played in shaping successful business development in the province over the past fifteen years. I applaud your achievement. As The Queen’s representative in the province of Nova Scotia, I thank you for your dedication and valuable contribution to our communities. Wishing you a memorable 15th Anniversary celebration and continued success in the future.

Honourable Mayann E. Francis, ONS, DHumL Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia

Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie Black Business Initiative Congratulations on 15 years

Black Business Initiative Félicitations pour vos quinze ans

A message from the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie

Un message de l’honorable Bernard Valcourt, ministre d’État de l’Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique et de la Francophonie

Since 1996, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has proudly supported the Black Business Initiative (BBI).

Depuis 1996, l’Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique appuie fièrement la Black Business Initiative (BBI).

Over that time, the BBI has played an important role in fostering a dynamic and vibrant Black presence in the Nova Scotia business community. As an advocate, strategic partner and resource, the BBI has promoted the growth of Black businesses in Nova Scotia, and helped to grow our economy as a whole. Today, I am proud to mark the organization’s 15th anniversary and celebrate the valuable contributions made to our diverse economic landscape by the BBI and Nova Scotia’s Black business people. Please accept my congratulations on ajob well done.

Pendant cette période, la BBI a joué un rôle crucial pour favoriser une présence noire dynamique et énergique dans le milieu des affaires de la Nouvelle Écosse. En tant que défenseur, partenaire stratégique et ressource, la BBI fait la promotion de la croissance des entreprises appartenant à des Noirs en Nouvelle Écosse et a contribué au développement de notre économie en général. Aujourd’hui, je suis fier de souligner le quinzième anniversaire de la BBI et de célébrer son apport précieux, ainsi que celui des gens d’affaires noirs de la province, à notre paysage économique diversifié. Je vous prie d’accepter mes félicitations pour votre excellent travail.

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

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Message from Darrell Dexter, Q.C., M.L.A. the Premier of Nova Scotia On behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, it is my pleasure to welcome guests to the Black Business Initiative’s 15th Anniversary Gala. Congratulations and thanks to the staff, board members and supporters on this milestone anniversary. Since 1996, the Black Business Initiative has been a vital engine for economic growth in Nova Scotia. The numbers are truly impressive: more than 600 jobs created, $2 million in loans to business and entrepreneurs, and a growth rate among African Nova Scotian businesses that is far higher than the provincial average. However, the numbers don’t tell the full story. Through its support of initiatives like the Hope Blooms Community Garden in north end Halifax and renovations at the Black Cultural Centre in Cherry Brook, the Black Business Initiative’s influence is contributing to stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities throughout Nova Scotia. Congratulations on 15 great years, best wishes for many more years of success and please enjoy a wonderful evening.

Sincerely, Darrell Dexter, Q.C., M.L.A. Premier

Message from Percy A Paris the Minister of Nova Scotian Affairs, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Congratulations to the Black Business Initiative on its 15th anniversary. I have been pleased to work closely with the BBI since its inception: I had the privilege of serving on the board of directors when the organization was founded in 1996. In my current role as Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, my staff and I regularly partner with the BBI on projects that contribute not only to economic growth but to the preservation, promotion and protection of African Nova Scotian heritage and culture. It is truly impressive to see how far the organization has come in 15 years. The BBI has helped more than 200 businesses with loans and touched countless others through training and community initiatives, from encouraging young entrepreneurs in the Business is Jammin’ program to equipping skilled workers through Constructing the Future. The Black Business Initiative is truly contributing to a vibrant and dynamic presence within the Nova Scotia business community respecting persons of African descent. I would like to extend a personal thank-you and congratulations to outgoing CEO Rustum Southwell for his vision and commitment to strengthening and promoting the African Nova Scotian business community. Rustum’s leadership has left the BBI in great shape to foster growth and development in our communities for many years to come. There is much worth celebrating this evening, and I hope you all enjoy a wonderful night.

Kindest regards, Hon. Percy A. Paris Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

Message from Greg Browning the Chair of the Board of Directors

Message from S.I Rustum Southwell the Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Initiative

The one thing in life that’s certain is that there are no certainties. You always have to leave room for the unexpected. That’s true in life, in business, and in the world of the BBI.

When the Task Force turned over the strategic plan to the Board of Directors in 1996, they had no idea how far the initiative would go or how long it would last. These “projects” are sometimes by design short-sighted and not expected to sustain economic development.

In 1995 a special task force identified the need for an African Canadianled organization to help address economic inequalities in Nova Scotia. The following year the BBI was formed. Many of the people who were part of that task force are still very active in our community today – my mother included. I can still remember the enthusiasm, anticipation and spirit of hope with which my mother and her colleagues viewed this fledgling organization.

This time was to be different.

Today the BBI is one of the province’s most dynamic economic development organizations, supporting over 200 businesses that have in turn created more than 600 jobs. Many of our clients are leaders in their industries, and do business around the world. From a community investment fund to a youth charity, from professional consulting to construction, the BBI has gradually extended its offerings in order to more fully meet our mission to foster a vibrant and dynamic Black presence in the business community. We have a lot to be proud of. As Chair of the board, with lifelong ties to the community, and to the roots of BBI, I can tell you that 15 years after it first launched, the BBI is not what I expected it would be. It’s much more.

Greg Browning Chair of the Board of Directors

The founding Board members acted immediately with a bold commitment to organizational excellence. From the outset a clear direction based firmly on business principles and entrepreneurial drive became the energy source of the initiative. Fifteen years later the BBI have stayed true to our business development mandate. A staff team with the same passion and vision who were willing to commit to excellence soon followed the Board of directors. Currently, because of our results we have grown into one of the country’s leading business development organizations, and the only Black organization of its kind in Canada. The BBI have always insisted that we must be active participants in all of the economic opportunities and limitless possibilities to do business in Nova Scotia. Through networking events, our business summits, business skills development, business loans and communication strategy we are helping Black owned companies develop their full potential. Of course this requires collaboration and partnerships on many levels. It is the people past and present, board and staff, stakeholders and partners who are on the top of any list of BBI achievements. We do this because we know that when we work together we change the world.

S.I Rustum Southwell, CEO

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

Human Capital

Impressive Results

Board 1996-2011 We must never underestimate those who have paved the road before us and who have given us the strength to forge ahead with the knowledge and experience they have shared.

Since launching, nearly 700 jobs have been created by the BBI and more than 200 business loans have been successfully negotiated and at least 15 companies have earned more than $1 million in annual sales.


Statistics Canada figures show that from 1996 to 2006, the number of black-owned businesses grew 27.7 percent. A 2006 census found that 56 per cent of the companies working with BBI have created new jobs, compared with just one per cent of new mainstream businesses. Standouts include Robert Loppie, founder of the environmental waste solution The Bin Doctor Ltd., and Darla Johnston, a single mother who founded the Slic Laser Hair Removal.

Census 60%


Growth in Business with Employees


Growth in Entrepreneurs

50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

1996 - 2001

Nova Scotia

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1996 - 2006

2001 - 2006

Nova Scotia Black Business

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy‌

Media & Communication Based on the success over the past 15 years, we will continue to focus on core and niche experiences that are unique strengths and differentiators through an integrated communications strategy. Our publications --- brochures, the Black to Business periodical, the Directory of Black Businesses and Community Organization, Annual Reports, In-Take sessions have been consistently sharing our activities and services to the community. B2B A quarterly magazine published by the BBI, with a distribution of approximately 3,500, as well as an additional readership of people who access the publication through other organizations throughout the province. Black to Business is also available online.

Business Directory The businesses and organizations listed in this directory provide a community service and the reference offers a convenient and cost effective way to promote Black owned enterprises within Nova Scotia. This directory provides you an opportunity to make a trip and perhaps a purchase while you experience of our rich history and culture.

Website & Social Media The BBI’s online presence is created through the organization’s website, www.bbi.ca. The site serves as a dynamic, informative portal providing up-to-date information on the organization’s activities, contacts, and upcoming events.

The Way Forward BBI Directory 2012

Annual Report A report detailing the organization’s financial position, strategic initiatives, and key statistical indicators and/or trends. The report is available in print and on the website.

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

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Marketing Strategy

Investing in our Clients

The BBI logo is the African (Ghanaian) symbol Dwanimen, the double ram horn. Dwanimen refers to determination and stands for personal strength of conviction: strength of purpose, character and resolve.

Loan Approvals

The year 2011 brings with it a new perspective and a new standard. The BBI is now One BRAND, symbolizing a unified approach and improved collaboration with its affiliate corporate entities under a new inter-relational governance structure. The track record it has set by its achievements so far, is encapsulated, and envisaged to be maintained and improved upon under the One Vision of business, entrepreneurial and management excellence that the composite One Organization now pursues.

The BBI’s on-air campaign, in partnership with Global Maritimes, launched in 2004 on Global TV, showcasing several sixty second vignettes for the Black Business Initiative. The narratives proved to be very successful and introduced the BBI to at least 850,000 viewers during prime time airings. 25 ...

"As we celebrate our 15th anniversary, we can see how the BBI has made an impact through its programs, communications, and people. It has seen more than 200 loans extended to the members of the community and more than 600 jobs created."


— Greg Browning, BBI Chair

Investments from Other Institutions

The Black Business Initiative administers a diverse portfolio of accounts that includes loans, equity and a community development fund to encourage entrepreneurship opportunities for Black Nova Scotians and their communities.

$2,100,031 Owner's Equity

$1,659,278 The Fund

The BBI hopes to stay sustainable by increasing private funding in addition to sustaining the current government financial support. One way we hope to achieve this is through the incorporation of the Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd. (BBCIFL or the “Fund”) as a limited liability company within Nova Scotia. The Fund is set up within the framework of the provincial Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF). Its purpose is, through share offerings, to raise capital for investment in new and existing small to medium scale Black Nova Scotia businesses. Over the last seven years, BBCIFL has raised a total of $555,500 from an investor base of 99. After adjusting for redemptions, the capital base is $534,000 and the investor base is 93. We are pleased with our steady progress towards building a sustainable financing institution that supports business development within our community. Number of Shares, Amount Raised, and Investor Count Redemptions

Total To Date
































Number of Shares Amount Raised ($) Investor Count





BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…




Investing in Our Communities

Awarding Excellence

Our Community Development Fund investments have addressed many social concerns in some Black Nova Scotia communities but we aim to expand the coverage of lending and investment facilities to our clients. To date we have supported more than 80 community organizations including, Yarmouth Community Garden, African Nova Scotian Music Association, Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association, Black Loyalist Heritage Society.

The Black Business Initiative Society’s Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence is awarded biennially by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business excellence of an outstanding or exceptional company or individual within the Nova Scotia Black Community. Since the awards inception in 2004 we’ve awarded 6 Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence to Larry Gibson, Mike Duck, George Thomas, Barbara Miller Manning, Dr. Abbey Kirumira and the Simmons Family. All have demonstrated business excellence and strong financial performance and continue to thrive.

The Black Business Initiative acts as a conduit for community economic development among communities in Nova Scotia. Recently we have been involved in a strategy that will have lasting economic and cultural benefits to our communities. In 2008 BBI completed the Nova Scotia Black Cultural Tourism Project a market readiness and tourism potential analysis of Nova Scotia’s Black historic and cultural experiences as part of the tourism product mix.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is awarded annually by the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative to recognize demonstrated business operational excellence of a company or individual. The award was first awarded to the Simmons Family followed by Darla Johnson, Pauline Patton, Bruce Johnson Donna Gaskin and Jeanie Jones and most recently to Glynis Simms. It is interesting to note that three of our Hector Jacques Award of Business Excellence winners were nominated by BBI for the Black Business and Professional Association Harry Jerome Awards and went on to win.

The final report outlined steps required to bring the Black cultural tourism product to a market- ready state. Among those steps, product development and marketing of significant Black cultural tourism sites in Nova Scotia is on the way, the exhibit refresh of the Black Cultural Centre, Africville Church Replica, the Mathieu DaCosta Heritage trails and Black Loyalist Heritage Society’s Museum are four of them.

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

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Inventors and Innovators

Partnerships that Work

As the Black Business Initiative celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is an opportune time to look at some of the innovators the BBI has had the pleasure of working with since 1996.

The BBI has strategically aligned itself with several organizations to further promote community economic growth, encourage business development and job growth potential. Over our years of operations, BBI has signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) locally, nationally and internationally, we acknowledge and appreciate the value of these partners:

While it is difficult to single out just a few there are some who have stood out. These include Michael Duck who took the experience of a bad cup of coffee and turned it into the SureShot Dispensing System, which can be found in coffee shops and fast food establishments around the globe. Other innovators are Larry Gibson, who is selling his flooring and furniture to Barbados and Bermuda and is trading with China and the Pacific Rim and Robert Ffrench inventor of the ShotLoc system for improving shooting accuracy in basketball. IT Interactive, which is headed by Barbara and John Manning, is creating unique search engines - an important component of our province's high tech industry. Another one of Nova Scotia's leading innovators is using his creativity for humanitarian purposes. Dr. Abdullah Kirumira, the founder of Windsor's BioMedica Diagnostics invented a rapid response kit for diagnosing the HIV virus that could be used anywhere in the world without concern for special storage or refrigeration. One of the province's newest innovators is a company that is looking at innovations in engineering and alternate energy generation -KTM Services Group Inc. The company was founded last October when Michel Okoh, Tyler Dougan, and Kyle Williams decided to join forces combining their strengths in sales, finance, and engineering. Lastly, we must mention the great work that Hope Blooms is doing. Hope Blooms is part of the North End Community Garden, a project started by Jessie Jollymore in an effort help North End youth enrich their futures. And recently the youth won 2 Celebrating Communities Awards for Excellence in Community Development and Excellence in Social Enterprise.

Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) MOU signed in November-2001

Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) MOU signed in November-2001.

Black Professionals Association (BBPA) MOU signed in May-2002.

Black Professionals Association (BBPA) MOU signed in May-2002.

Greater Halifax Partnership (GHP) MOU signed in March-2004.

CBDC Blue Water Business Development Corporation Ltd. MOU signed in 2005.

Nova Scotia Community College MOU is signed in 2011

27 ...

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy‌

Funding Partnerships BBI like any other business cannot succeed in isolation. We could not do what we do without the support of partners like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Service Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. BBI’s ability to move forward is due in no small part to these formal partnerships, but it also relies heavily on the generosity and efficiency of suppliers, informal partnerships and fraternization with community organizations with a shared vision.

This collaboration helps us to better leverage opportunities within our community. To our funding partners Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, and private sector partners that have helped us through the years, thank you or your support.

Summits Held bi-annually, the Summit has come to be known as a premiere business event headlined by some of North America's most impressive Black business leaders. To date BBI has had 7 Summits with varying topics related to business development.

Summit 1- 2000 Theme: Leading Black Businesses into the New Millennium

Summit 2- 2001 Theme: Leading Black Business into Economic Prosperity

Summit 3- 2002 Theme: Building Strategic Business Alliances

Summit 4- 2004 Theme: Transforming Micro to Small and Medium Enterprises

The Race to Business Success

The Black Business Initiative is proud to host the 7th Black Business Summit Workshops Networking Boat Cruise Vendor Fair JUNE 23–25, 2010 Golf Tournament Keynote Speakers Biz Show

AGM Dinner & Dance

Cassandra Dorrington Judge Glenda Hatchett Conference Chair

Keynote Speaker June 24

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel , Halifax, Nova Scotia

Omar Tyree Keynote Speaker June 25

For more information, please call 902·426·2224 or visit our web site at www.bbi.ca Economic and Rural Development

Summit 5- 2006 Theme: Helping Businesses to Succeed

Summit 6- 2008 Theme: Sustaining Business Excellence

Summit 7- 2010 Theme: Race to Business Success

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

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JobsHere: Constructing the Future

Youth Development

Over the past three years the BBI with support from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and in partnership with nscc have been delivering a program called Constructing the Future doing our part in developing a skilled workforce and keeping SkillsHere. “Constructing The Future” (CTF) is a 32 week construction training and job readiness program that BBI developed and delivers.

Business is Jammin’ shapes youth into vibrant members of the business community. We work with young people through a range of educational, social, mentorship, and financial support programs to build business acumen and leadership skills. Activities geared to these purposes find their own relief under the Business is Jammin’ a Charity registered under the Nova Scotia Societies Act.

The program continues to produce very compelling results: graduating 15 out of 20 successful applicants in Phase one and 17 out of 25 in Phase two and 13 out of 24 in Phase three. Of the 45 graduates over the past 3 years, 19 have gained admission to the Community college and 7 have been indentured as apprentices in different construction trades namely: carpentry, electrical and plumbing. Also 5 of the graduates are running their own small construction businesses. This year, 3 of the first year participants graduated from their 2 year program at NSCC. We are very proud of their commitment, hard work and success. With continuing partnership with the department of Labour and NSCC, and the growing support from industry stakeholders like employers who accept students for work placement and ultimately hire them, we see this program positively impacting the Black construction sector for the long term.

29 ...

Business is Jammin’ has a proven value within both the Black Community and the Atlantic Canada economy. In the last two years alone, our program participation levels have grown by more than 60%, a number that will only increase as we respond to rising demands. We envision a future where program participants will highlight their involvement with Business is Jammin'; on resumes, business loan applications, and speaking engagements. We aim to be the premier partner in mentoring and guiding Black youth to be in-demand members of the business world.

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy…

BBI Composite Group The Black Business Initiative (BBI) operates under the Societies Act. It belongs to the Black Community of Nova Scotia, and is governed by a regionally-represented volunteer Board of Directors. As holder of the BBI brand, it carries out services, including direct funding, funding guarantee, and the facilitation and delivery of entrepreneurial education and training to help promote Black Nova Scotia business success.

BBI Society

BIJ Limited by Guarantee

BBE CEDIF Limited Company No single incorporation option meets our strategic objectives.


Limited by Guarantee

BBC ADEPA Limited Company

To better realize community economic development goals, the BBI recently reorganized its organizational structure and now leads with a new governance arrangement. The composite structure revolves around the Black Business Enterprises (BBE) which enforces operational transparency and accountability to Board policies. The Black Business Consulting (BBC) serves as a major revenue generation vehicle through its consultancy services. BBC has set up Adepa, a construction project management company to promote and service Black involvement in the provincial construction industry. The consultancy is poised to utilize its competence to serve business development needs among other Black communities across Canada. BBC’s activities make it possible for the expertise created within the BBI business model to be shared and utilized beyond the Nova Scotia Black business community.

BLACK BUSINESS INITIATIVE 15 Years The Way Forward, A Legacy‌

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Purchasing a business of any size is a significant undertaking, even more so if you are buying your first business. Every wise prospective purchaser should think about the matters addressed here and in my previous column, namely: (1) ascertaining what you want to buy, (2) structuring the deal, (3) the letter of intent, (4) due diligence, and (5) financial matters. However, my list of 10 considerations, which continues below, is not a finite list.

Ten Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Business – Part 2

The Law & Your Business

Purchasing a business of any size is a significant undertaking, even more so if you are buying your first business. Every wise prospective purchaser should think about the matters addressed here and in my previous column, namely: (1) ascertaining what you want to buy, (2) structuring the deal, (3) the letter of intent, (4) due diligence, and (5) financial matters. However, my list of 10 considerations, which continues below, is not a finite list.

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6. Licenses and Permits: The seller should hold any and all licenses and permits required to operate the business. Ask for copies, as you will have to confirm they are in good standing and determine whether and how the licenses and permits can be assigned or if new ones must be obtained. 7. Intellectual Property: This important aspect of a business is often overlooked. Find out what intellectual property (patents, trademarks, business names, software, etc.) is used in the business and whether it is owned or leased. Does the seller have title to any intellectual property created by its employees or independent contractors? Be 31 ...

certain you understand exactly what is protected by the intellectual property rights you are buying. 8. Real Property and Environmental Issues: If there is any real property involved, title to real property owned by the seller, the amount of real property taxes and deed transfer taxes, and the terms of any premises leases must be reviewed. Your due diligence must include inquiries to ensure the seller’s past compliance with environmental laws, particularly since you could inherit responsibilities for environmental damages regardless of whether the real property is owned or leased. 9. Employee Matters: What are the costs associated with employees, including salaries, benefits, termination, etc.? Is it a unionized workforce? Review the seller’s employee handbook and find out the history of any employee grievances, including strike action and human rights and labour standards complaints. 10. Agreement of Purchase and Sale: The agreement of purchase and sale will govern the relationship between you and the seller up to and beyond the closing date. If an issue arises,

you cannot rely on verbal statements made by the seller prior to closing the transaction. It is, therefore, essential that the agreement sets out in clear language all of the terms and conditions upon which you have agreed to purchase and the seller has agreed to sell its business, including the “what ifs” and post-closing obligations. As I previously noted, my list of 10 considerations is not exhaustive. Others include privacy, confidentiality/non-competition, and taxes, to name a few. If you develop a plan, involve your lawyer and other professional advisors early in the process, and gather the information needed to enable you to negotiate the best possible terms, you will be well prepared to take control of your new business on closing day.


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

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


As part of African Heritage Month, Business is Jammin’ hosted the ‘Celebrating Our Youth’ luncheon. Young entrepreneurs Mo Handahu, of Clutch Culture and Tyson Tolliver and Rainie Williams of Ruff Endz Clothing were recognized for their business success and for giving back to youth. President and CEO of the Halifax Rainmen, Andre Levingston delivered the keynote. Business is Jammin’ partnered with Junior Achievement and delivered the Economics for Success program at Ross Road Jr. High School as a part of the Adopt-A-School program. We also hosted Role Models on the Road program for African Nova Scotian students at Ridgecliffe Elementary School.

Community involvement looks excellent on a resume or on a post-secondary application. Stay tuned as we will be hiring youth coordinators to facilitate our province-wide summer program. If you are an African Nova Scotia youth and or entrepreneur looking to volunteer, contact Business is Jammin’ Training Associate Mahogany Lucas at lucas. mahogany@bbi.ns.ca, (902) 426-8688 or visit our Facebook or Twitter page: BusinessisJamin.

Trailblazers - continued from page 12

Dorrington was working seven days a week taking photos, but has limited herself to five days in order to better balance her career and home life. With her in-home studio, she loves the flexibility of being able to choose her own hours and be a stay-at-home mom. She does a range of photography styles, from children, to newborns, to couples. However, the majority of her work is modelling photography. Glamour shots are Dorrington’s favourite thing to shoot. “I love glamour,” says Dorrington. “Get the crazy makeup going, have fun with it, have the hair all wacky and crazy.”

For these types of shoots, Dorrington has makeup artists who work with her and a hairstylist who will come in. She also works with a designer, who makes a lot of the outfits and accessories used in her modelling photography. She plans to grow the group of people she works with, but always wants to remain the one behind the camera. To achieve her dream, Dorrington won’t let anything get her down or stop her. She says, “I just keep going until I get what I want.” (www.kaysblog.co.nr)

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Angela Cromwell’s Beautiful Roots Angela Cromwell , Owner, ANSENA (Beautiful roots) Hair Salon & Extensions

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Njabulo Nkala, BBI


eautiful roots mean beautiful hair – that’s the mantra of Angela Cromwell, the owner of Ansena Hair Salon in New Glasgow.

“I wanted to include the word ‘roots’ in the name of my business when I first registered it, but there was a salon in Yarmouth that was already doing that, so I had to find a second choice,” Cromwell says. “So, I went to my computer, did some research and found two Swahili words that I combined together – that made Ansena, or beautiful roots.”

Ansena is a new venture – it’s been open since June 2011. Cromwell is a New Glasgow native, who spent many years managing restaurants in Toronto before returning home, with her young family, to her roots. “I came back 12 years ago and, at that time, there weren’t that many restaurants to manage in Pictou County,” she recalls. “So, I decided to go back to school and study cosmetology at the Nova Scotia Community College.” That led to jobs at local salons and spas, and the dream of opening her own business. All of her life she has been creative. In addition to her work as a stylist, she’s also an accomplished

musician and songwriter. As a 16-yearold, she was chosen to sing for Her Majesty the Queen at the Canadian Centennial celebrations on Parliament Hill. It’s an experience she will never forget, as the Queen stopped to chat with her and complimented her on her singing. She still sings in public and finds that sitting down with her piano or guitar, writing music is one of her favourite ways to unwind. She turned her creative side to researching and writing her business plan, a process that took her three and a half years. It was a long journey but the end satisfaction of having completed everything herself made the whole journey worthwhile. On June 21, she opened her salon in the Co-op grocery store building in New Glasgow. It’s located around the back, in a room that used to be a lunchroom. She not only styles hair but brings in product lines for ethnic hair from sources in Montreal. In addition to her business venture, she speaks to classes at the NSCC about how to work with ethnic hair – relaxers, weaves, and extensions – all procedures that are available in her salon. “There’s a lot of research involved on the lines before I bring them into my shop. I’m always trying to find natural products, with low sodium, and natural oils.” “I also teach how to work with ethnic hair at seniors’ residences in the area,” she says. “Many of them don’t know

by: Carol Dobson

how to deal with ethnic hair, so it’s a way for them to learn so that they can make the lives of their residents more comfortable.” One market for her work is mothers of mixed-race children. She says they come in to see her and are frustrated because they’re not sure how to care for their child’s hair and the children are frustrated as well. “It’s a process of teaching – there are many who don’t know how to properly care for their hair. I say that you have to care for the roots first and then you will have beautiful hair.” So far, it’s working. She’s seeing new clients every day. Her location is ideal – it’s close to the traditional Black community in New Glasgow and is also close to a number of seniors’ residences in an easy to get to location.

ANSENA (Beautiful Roots) Hair Salon & Extensions Angela Cromwell, Owner 451 Merigomish Road New Glasgow 902 752 1600

Fun Facts Sport: Long Distance Running Favourite Author: Dean Koontz Favourite Movie Star: John Wayne Music: Country/Gospel Quote: There is no such thing as luck, every person has power Advice: Even when someone says no, it doesn’t mean no. There is always a way; never give up.

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Conference Program

The Race to Business Success

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Conference Registration at the World Trade Center

Thursday, June 21, 2012 Continental Breakfast Greetings and Conference Opening Opening Plenary – Climbing to New Heights Workshop 1 – Whole Brain Thinking "Creativity at Work" Keynote Luncheon – Roland Martin Vendor Fair and Networking Session After Dinner Boat Cruise

Friday, June 22, 2012 Continental Breakfast Conference Recap

The Race

to Business



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Workshop 2 – Raising the Bar Workshop 3 – Competitive Edge “Drivers of Success” Keynote Luncheon – RS vs RS (Rustum Southwell vs Ross Simmonds) Biz Show / Wrap Up Cocktail Reception AGM Gala Dinner & Dance

2012 Keynote Speaker

Plenary Speakers

Roland S. Martin

Farley Flex A humanitarian, a mentor and a social activist, Farley Flex is perhaps best known as a judge on the most watched Canadian television show in history, Canadian Idol. Flex is an emphatic speaker with a passion to discover, develop and promote the intrinsic talents of young people across the country.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally awardwinning and multifaceted journalist. A nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate, Mr. Martin is the author of Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America, and “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.” Mr. Martin is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host and managing editor of “Washington Watch with Roland Martin,” a one-hour Sunday morning news show. He is also a CNN Analyst, appearing on a variety of the network’s shows. In October 2008, he joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show as senior analyst. In 2009, CNN was awarded the Peabody Award for its outstanding 2008 election coverage, of which Martin was a member of the Best Political Team on Television. He has won more than 30 professional awards for journalistic excellence, including a regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television News Directors; top reporting honors from the National Association of Black Journalists; the National Association of Minorities in Cable. and the National Associated PressManaging Editors Conference.

Flex was recently named a National Ambassador for Unicef, appointed to the Special Advisory Council to the League of Human Rights, and awarded his second Bob Marley Community Role Model award, for his work in education. He is partner in the Recess initiative, a social and organizational network platform, working in partnership with school boards and community organizations worldwide. Flex has also done extensive work motivating youth in First Nation's and other marginalized communities. Flex is the President and CEO of Plasma Management and Productions, has managed multiplatinum artists such as rap pioneer Maestro Fresh Wes, and was the founding music director and former VP of business development at FLOW 93.5, Canada's first urban radio station. He also sits on the boards of BravoFACT, ParticipACTION and the Rotman School of Business ICM Challenge and is a member of Toronto Mayor David Miller's Advisory Panel on Community Safety.

John Thomas Grant, Jr. John Thomas Grant, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer of 100 Black Men of Atlanta (100) and has been a member of the organization for over 20 years. Grant has garnered a reputation among his Atlanta-chapter colleagues for his ability to obtain “blue-chip” corporate sponsors and successfully manage their investments in the organization. Under his leadership, the 100 has attained a level of visibility and prominence that underscores the importance of its philanthropic mission established by its founding members in 1986.

Grant0 has 1 a distinguished S U M M I T Mr. 2 2 history of professional success and leadership. He joined Airborne Express

He is the former executive editor/general manager of the Chicago Defender, the nation’s most historic Black newspaper. He is the former founding news editor for Savoy Magazine under the team of New Yorkbased Vanguarde Media, and the former founding editor of BlackAmericaWeb.com.

in 1979 and just two years later he was promoted to Area Operations Manager in Greenville, S.C. In 1984, he was relocated to Atlanta where he served in several areas including leading the Operations, Customer Service, and Sales organizations. His personal achievements led to numerous company awards, including several National Sales Awards, Sky Courier District Sales Manager of the Year, and the company’s first and only Humanitarian Award. John Grant is the youngest member to join 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and was voted its Man of the Year. John has served on the Board of Directors for 100 since 1990 until his selection as Chief Executive Officer in 2001.

Regional Report Central Shakara Russell This year, during the Business is Jammin’ Youth Luncheon in recognition of African Heritage Month, three exceptional young entrepreneurs were recognized for their tremendous entrepreneurial efforts and commitment to community service. Mo Handahu of Clutch Culture and Rainie Williams and Tyson Tolliver of Ruff Endz Clothing (who have all been profiled in Black to Business) shared their experiences and challenged everyone to look for unique opportunities and to not being afraid of being different. These three empowered youth to follow their passion and seek productive mentorship relationships. Thank you to these entrepreneurs for being great role models for our community. Business Bite - Beautiful Linen Rentals Congrats to Ms. Omolade Akinkunmi on the launch of her company Beautiful Linen Rentals (www.beautifullinenrentals.ca). The company is an event décor company that specializes in wedding décor rentals and set-up. They rent chair covers, tablecloths, table skirts, napkins, table runners, overlays, napkin rings, aisle runners, centre pieces and several other accessories to complement any event in a variety of colors. Best wishes on your endeavors! If you have comments, questions, suggestions, please feel free to contact me at (902) 426-6692 or email Russell. Shakara@bbi.ns.ca . 36 ...

TRAINING REPORT Cheyanne Gorman-Tolliver Business Skills Development is a fundamental service of the Black Business Initiative. However when we deliver a training program we do not want a cookie-cutter model. We understand that our African Nova Scotian clients have specific needs and we aim to ensure we deliver the most comprehensive program that will offer our clients the skills they need to grow their businesses successfully. That is why we have restructured the way our training courses are delivered; or as we call them—educational opportunities. Through a partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Advanced Education we have developed customized programs that will the meet the needs of the participants where they are now!

Upcoming Educational Opportunity:

Our first education program, Foundations for Success will kick off in March and offer skills in planning, finance, communications, and market research. Our instructors meet one-on-one with each participant prior to the start of each course building a customized program for that group of participants. The program also includes individual time with the instructor to work on business plans or address concerns related to growing your business.

➢ Newsletters

Essential Writing Skills- for Business Managers is designed to meet your specific needs as a professional building on your existing writing skills or learning new ones. Our instructor will meet one-on-one with each participant prior to the start of the course to build a customized program. So whether you are just starting out or you want to further develop your existing skills this course is for you! Commit to developing your writing skills in the following areas: ➢ Elements of writing ➢ Elements of editing ➢ Revisions ➢ Memos/Emails/Letters ➢ Reports ➢ Press Releases/Invites

Course Details: Time: 10 wks/ 1 day per week for 3 hrs Date: TBA Cost: Free and includes all course materials.

Message from the CEO continued from page 2

owners like Paul Adams. Paul started his photography company as a parttime business while still employed at Canada Post, and recently moved from the basement in his home to a studio in the commercial district in Dartmouth. He values the opportunity to network and have access to a new and wider pool of clients as he grows his company to the next stage. Adams Photography Inc. is a fast-growing enterprise making significant impact and is the winner, two years running, of the prestigious Consumer Choice Awards. When we look back over the years, there is an element of pride at what is being achieved within the Black Business Initiative (BBI). It is now much more than we had expected. The Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd., the Constructing the Future skills development program, the Business is Jammin’ youth initiative, the Cultural Tourism Strategy, and the Business Summits are just a few programs and initiatives that were not envisioned in 1996 when the BBI began, but are now some of the many reasons it is successful. In my twilight with the organization, I believe the quality of people who helped along the way – board members and staff – is the reason for the results and achievements. I look forward to the years ahead and seeing Black Business climb to new heights.

Our programs are free of charge and are open to community members who are entrepreneurs at various levels and those that provide services to entrepreneurs. Please continue to check our website for updated information on future educational opportunities at www.bbi.ca or contact Mahogany Lucas at 426-8688, lucas.mahogany@bbi.ns.ca . 37 ...

S.I. Rustum Southwell, CEO

Andre Levingston continued from page 4

designed for us to have success; it’s designed for us to fail. So while we have the opportunity to get an education and you actually have the audacity to not read, not do your homework, not listen to your parents or your teachers…are you serious?” We are all capable of greatness, Levingston believes. But he adds “if you think you’re gonna cheat the system and not go to school and hang out and party, do drugs and think when you’re 35 and 40 years old you’ll make it, I will show you where you will be.” Brothers and friends of his have gone down the wrong path. “I can take you where they’re standing at the gas station today.” Levingston was recently the keynote speaker for BBI’s Celebrating our Youth Luncheon. Before the event, he said that if he could just find the right words when speaking, he’d be happy. To be chosen to speak, he says, is an honour. Levingston’s aspirations for the Rainmen for the next couple of years include winning a championship (they’re currently in second place) and being one of the city’s biggest attractions. He wants the game to continue to inspire youth to not only become basketball players, but also to stay fit and healthy. “I want us to continue doing what we’re doing, but just get better at it.” When he was young, basketball was “the greatest thing since peanut butter and jelly.” Today, it’s “poetry in motion.” His admiration and respect for basketball and the power of sport is as strong as it ever was.

Regional Report Southern Greg Nazaire Preparation of the bi-annual Black Business summit and the launch of the Startup Canada Campaign have kept me busy going into 2012. The latter was launched nationally in Nova Scotia on March 19th and the Black Business Initiative had the honour of being the provincial ambassador of the campaign. We are also privileged to work with wonderful partners such as Entrepreneurs Forum and Innovacorp, just to name a couple. I could not mention this campaign’s supporters without mentioning Chris Atwood, the Executive Director of the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) in Yarmouth. In the southern region, we are witnessing more youth getting involved in starting a business. I have met with several African Nova Scotians over the past weeks; while some expressed their intention to start

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

a business very soon, others want to expand their existing businesses. What is more surprising is the progressive shift of these entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs from purely service based concepts to actual producing a good. Many ideas are flying such as a printing business or computer customization venture. In closing, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Black Loyalist Heritage Society on their recent successful fundraising campaign, which demonstrates the great solidarity among Nova Scotians when it comes to preserving the cultural heritage of our province. Should you require any further information or to book a regional visit please contact me at: (902)426-1625 or the toll free number 1(800)668-1010.

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

www.encana.com twitter.com/encanacorp



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Community & Business Events

April 13 - 15

May 6

Skills for Healing, breast cancer weekend retreat

Princess Tea Party

Healing and Cancer Foundation 50 spaces for Atlantic Canadian women Location: Annapolis Valley, NS For info to register: info@healingandcancer.org or call Kristen at (902)-488-5799 www.healingandcancer.org/breastcancerretreat

April 21

Black Cultural Society - 35th Anniversary Dinner 6:30 pm For info: 902-434-6223/ 1-(800) -465-0767 / contact@bccns.com

April 23 - April 24

Emergent Learning: in 21st Century Education

World Trade & Convention Centre www.childrenswish.ca/en-ns/events/924/ Princess-Tea-Party

May 9

December 6, 1917 – The Halifax Explosion Directed by Meredith Scott Alderney Landing Theatre www.coleharbourhigh.ednet.ns.ca

May 16 - May 20

40th Anniversary Black Invitational Basketball Tournament

For info: pbbafeedback@eastlink.ca www.blackbasketball.ca

World Trade & Convention Centre For info: 902-465-4800 / paul.macinnis@bridgeway-academy.com

June 21 -22

April 27

World Trade & Convention Centre Info: (902) 426-8683 Email bbi@bbi.ns.ca

Wake Up Call Breakfast World Trade & Convention Centre For info: 902-420-9124 / carol.murray@prostatecancer.ca www.prostatecancer.ca/wakeupcall

April 28-30

Saltscapes Expo

Exhibition Park www.saltscapes.com/expo/

May 2

Singing, Songwriting and Storytelling

Halifax Chamber of Commerce Spring Dinner World Trade & Convention Centre 1800 Argyle Street, Halifax Reception: 5:00 - 6:00pm Dinner & Entertainment: 6:00 - 9:00pm For info : (902) 481-1350 / melissa@halifaxchamber.com www.halifaxchamber.ca

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8th BBI Summit 2012

July 1-8

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Halifax Metro Centre www.nstattoo.ca

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

The Race

to Business



Climbing to

New Heights june 21–22, 2012 World Trade and Convention Centre , Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Black Business Initiative is proud to host the 8th Black Business Summit Workshops Networking

Boat Cruise Biz Show

AGM Dinner & Dance Keynote Speakers

Vendor Fair

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism

For more information, please call 902·426·2224 or visit our web site at www.bbi.ca

If undeliverable return to: The Black Business Initiative Centennial Building Suite 1201,1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7

Publications Mail Agreement No.


numéro de convention

0040026687 0040026687

Profile for Black Business Initiative

Black to Business Magazine-Issue 53  

Cover: Andre Levingston BBI 15th Anniversary Trailblazers: Photographers & Designers

Black to Business Magazine-Issue 53  

Cover: Andre Levingston BBI 15th Anniversary Trailblazers: Photographers & Designers