Meet 10 Local Black-Owned Ventures at EDGE: From Apps to Desserts
In recognition of Black History Month, EDGE celebrates Black-owned ventures in our network. From film companies and sustainable fashion labels to app developers and bakeries, they are all focused on worthy endeavours and all worth discovering.
Also in celebration of Black founders is the ACBN Legacy Symposium. The two-day event, February 26 and 27 – hosted by the Afro-Caribbean Business Network (ACBN) and supported by EDGE – is aimed at “Building Wealth in the Black Community.” Created for established and startup entrepreneurs, it offers a lineup of learning sessions, business mentor matching and a diversity job fair.
Along with the Legacy Symposium, a Black-Owned Marketplace is taking place on February 27 and March 6, hosted in partnership with Halton Black Voices and BLK OWNED HAMONT.
There’s no better time to explore some of the ventures making an impact in our community – and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Intervumi is designed to help you land that new job. The mobile app, created by founder Naomi Rowe, lets students and adults prepare and practice for interviews.
This unique tool improves your skills with simulated mock interviews using pre-programmed questions based on career prospects, offers advice and feedback, allows you to review your performance and creates a space to connect with the job-seeking community.
SAB Fruit Cake is a rich, mellow fruit cake made from blended fruits soaked in authentic Jamaican white rum and wine, then aged to perfection. Owner and baker Sharon Bailey began baking fruit cakes at the young age of seven with her mother, adjusting her mother’s recipe over the years until she found the perfect, delicate balance of texture and flavours. Sharon’s blend alleviates the heavy mouth-feel of whole fruits while giving prospective customers the opportunity to experience a rich mellow tasting Fruit Cake with Caribbean flavor and culture.
Today, Sharon uses her love of fruit cake to give back to her community, supporting the St. Hilary Church Food Cupboard in Mississauga.
ACBN | Afro-Caribbean Business Network
The Afro-Caribbean Business Network (ACBN) was created to provide support for Black business owners. Offering workshops, events and resources, its role and goal is to unify and educate African and Caribbean entrepreneurs and help them grow their ventures in successful and sustainable ways.
In 2020, the non-profit organization announced the ACBN MicroLoan Fund to help entrepreneurs access low interest loans. In early 2021, Sheridan partnered with ACBN on a collaborative two-year research project to identify the needs of Black entrepreneurs and develop meaningful resources – including a training curriculum, a mentorship program and a best practices guide for business owners – to help build their business capacity.
DF Media Productions is a film and video production company that works with organizations to humanize their brands and connect with their target audience and community through video storytelling. The company’s founder Derrick Fagan is a trusted director, cinematographer, editor and graduate from the Toronto Film School. He has worked with multiple global brands, including Netflix, Google, YouTube Pulse and more.
Empowered 4X was created for entrepreneurs of all ages and all stages of development. In their collaborative physical and virtual spaces, they provide access to their Business C.R.E.W (Capacity Resource and Empowerment Workforce) – a team of experts in business planning, legal, funding, marketing and accounting to help take your business to the next level.
Given much of Empowered 4X’s offerings traditionally take place in–person, COVID-19 presented a dilemma. Founder Chris-Beth Cowie saw this as an opportunity, and the organization pivoted to offer itstraining virtually. Today, Empowered 4X provides free webinars on how to navigate COVID-19 relief funding and virtual working groups to help rebuild ventures post-pandemic.
Cadence’s Staffing Services provides personnel to agencies within the social service sectors throughout communities in Central and Western Ontario. Offering trained staff for hospital settings, group-living residences, semi-independent living and day-support programs, they foster success for people of all abilities in their home, work and community environments.
Services include developmental, mental health, elder, nursing and behavior intervention services. Their team comes with professional education and quality training that ensure children, adolescents and adults have their physical, emotional, mental, social, behavioral and developmental needs met.
Diva on the Radio, hosted by Carlene Humphrey, produces two earbud-worthy podcasts — Carlene Tonight and Nutmeg Nation. Both offer Carlene’s perspective on various aspects of life and a recount of her experiences. Carlene Tonight focuses on relationships with lovers, friends, family, colleagues — “the people we love, the people we hate, the people who leave a mark on our lives” — while Nutmeg Nation spotlights the history, people and music of her birthplace, Grenada.
Cancari Consulting is an operations management company that focuses on improving food safety and quality and streamlining operational processes. Founded by Rodney Hanna, Cancari aims to help clients drive profitability through optimized quality management systems, improved operational processes and mitigation of business risk. Addressing challenges head-on with customized solutions means their customers can use resources more effectively and focus more time on business growth and innovation.
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Arlokea is an ethical fashion brand that aims to tackle social issues surrounding health, education and poverty. Founded by Joelle Cowie in 2018, Arlokea was launched after Joelle discovered she was a sickle-cell carrier and became aware of the need for donations to the Sickle Cell Foundation.
Today, Arlokea’s sustainable style supports a range of good causes, including the Sickle Cell Foundation. Every time you purchase an ethically-sourced product from Arlokea, you are also improving the well-being and livelihoods of artisans and people in developing countries or underprivileged societies.
Technology company Motify supports the academic journey of students by developing software for autistic individuals entering post-secondary education. The tool helps students stay organized, build a network, connect with their professors and friends and learn social skills using facial–recognition software.
Founder Shauna-Kay Jones saw the lack of resources available for academic successes and created Motify in 2016 to help ease the transition students face from high school to post-secondary.