Black Enterprise Initiative brings coaching and help to companies in N.B.

A non-profit group with a deal with supporting Black companies is increasing to New Brunswick, and a few entrepreneurs say it is already making a distinction.

Jocelyn Stevens, the Black Enterprise Initiative’s entrepreneurship engagement supervisor for New Brunswick, mentioned the want for the sort of help within the province has existed for years, noting it will have made a distinction to her as a enterprise proprietor. 

“I felt like once I walked within the doorways to get these helps, that it wasn’t there. … I felt alone once I had my enterprise.” mentioned Stevens. “When this chance got here up, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I can do that. I perceive. I lived it.”

She mentioned the Nova Scotia workforce determined to develop to the opposite Atlantic provinces after 17 years of success in its residence province.

The Black Enterprise Initiative did a mushy launch in New Brunswick just a few months in the past, however its official launches are this week, with Moncton’s launch on Wednesday and Saint John’s on Thursday.

Stevens mentioned the Black Enterprise Initiative affords helps reminiscent of enterprise improvement coaching which could possibly be advertising and marketing pitches or enterprise plans. She mentioned it additionally present e-commerce and technical help together with assist in monetary areas reminiscent of loans and grants. 

“We’re letting the communities know, the Black communities, the companies, the individuals which are dreaming within the Black group of beginning a enterprise — we’re letting them know that BBI is there, we’re right here to help you. We perceive you,” mentioned Stevens.

A woman posing
Rukayat Olaniyi is seen sporting certainly one of her designs. She is the proprietor of RukkyTee Designs in Saint John, the place she creates Afrocentric designs. (Submitted by Rukayat Olaniyi)

Rukayat Olaniyi, proprietor of RukkyTee Designs in Saint John, moved to Canada from Nigeria in 2018. She began making African-inspired apparel, however confronted challenges alongside the best way, together with the price of materials and funding for her enterprise. 

Olaniyi received concerned with Black Enterprise Initiative when it expanded to New Brunswick. She mentioned help from the group, together with recommendation and funding, has helped along with her enterprise’ development.

She has tailored her designs and says help for her Afrocentric clothes comes from individuals of many various cultures.

“That is what motivates me and retains me rising — rising and going,” mentioned Olaniyi. 

Religion Ashogbon is the proprietor of the Pure Gold Basis, a non-profit that works with youth aged 10-20 on productiveness and empowerment. 

She mentioned the spark for the group was when she heard from youth in the neighborhood, particularly Black youth, about their experiences after they immigrated to Canada,

Ashogbon mentioned mother and father will usually deal with the immigration processes and documentation and “kids are carried alongside,” leaving their pals and way of life behind.

“Tradition shock is not only for others, it is also for the youngsters. And so they go to high school, they’re struggling,” she mentioned. “We created a protected place for them to specific their emotions.”

A woman smiling
Religion Ashogbon, the proprietor of Pure Gold Basis, mentioned the Black Enterprise Initiative provided steerage on registering her non-profit group. (Submitted by Religion Ashogbon)

The group launched in 2020 however wasn’t registered as a non-profit till 2022. Earlier than that, Ashgobon mentioned she was simply following her ardour of serving to younger individuals. 

This 12 months, she was linked with Stevens on the Black Enterprise Initiative and realized methods to register her enterprise and construct the construction round it.

Info Morning – Moncton10:20Newly expanded initiative goals to assist Black entrepreneurs in New Brunswick

Info Morning contributor Hillary LeBlanc learns extra concerning the Black Enterprise Initiative, which just lately expanded into New Brunswick.

Since then, Ashogbon mentioned she’s been capable of join with group leaders and supply just a few donations. She’s additionally obtained steerage on constructing a board of administrators.

Ashogbon mentioned she meets with the Black Enterprise Initiative on a weekly foundation to work by the challenges. 

“It has been an incredible journey, by way of attending to develop, by way of the help, by way of individuals listening and listening to what I’ve to say.”

For extra tales concerning the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black group — take a look at Being Black in Canada, a CBC challenge Black Canadians could be happy with. You may learn extra tales right here.


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