By: Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer
As an African international student interested in building a career in Canada, I was excited to attend the Metro Vancouver Black Business EXPO on October 22 to discover Black entrepreneurial spaces and communities. The EXPO featured a range of local businesses, from catering and clothing brands to financial and artisan companies.
The goal of the EXPO was to “create awareness and exposure to the many Black-owned businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in Metro Vancouver, BC.” It was hosted by Yoruba Social Culture Association of BC, a multicultural community which originated from the south west part of Nigeria.
The EXPO is part of Yoruba Social Culture Association of BC’s community empowerment initiatives, which includes computer training, cybersecurity training, vocational skills training, and career mentoring programs.
“Our goal for this exposition program is to showcase the products and services from Black owned businesses. We want them to get more visibility; we want them to get more opportunities for expansion,” said Adebola Ige, community empowerment chair.
Black business visibility is important for Black students like myself to envision a future where they will fit in and feel empowered. Here are some of the many Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs that you need to know about and support.
Artist Crystal Noir
Noir is a New Westminister-based artist of Jamaican descent. With a background in fashion, she uses figurative oil painting and she specializes in expressionism and surrealism. To me, the colors she uses in her paintings have a vibrancy that showcases the nature of Black culture. So far, her work reflects the natural essence of the Black feminine.
This is a Richmond-based business that offers a bit of everything to individuals and businesses. Their services include residential & commercial cleaning, moving services, hoarding cleanup, home organization, weddings, and events. La Toya Barrington’s business beginnings are a bittersweet testimony. As a 25-year-old single mother of three children, Barrington fled from an abusive relationship. Due to employment insecurity, she started offering services such as house cleaning and babysitting, but has since received eight awards.
[email protected]/ 604 880 4445
Omega Balanced is a financial solutions service for businesses and individuals. Owned by Elizabeth Magai, the business opened up offer accessible financial services to racialized and marginalized. Services include bookkeeping, payroll, financial consulting, and more. Magai has a master’s degree in accountancy and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Black Business Association of BC
604 593 0198
This is a non-profit organization registered under the BC Societies Act. This organization offers a variety of services and programs to help Black businesses and entrepreneurs, including a mentorship community and a sustainability incubator program. They also have tools and benefits available to members which helps them reach exposure, expand their network, and find opportunities.
BJ Mechanical is a mechanical servicing company offering services in plumbing, heating, gas, furnaces, boilers, hot water tanks, and new installations. They’re a family-owned business recently taken up by Edwards, who has plumbing apprenticeship experience and gained his Journeyman certificate in 2017.
The Scarpino Group is a realty business offering services for customers who are looking into housing. The team lead, Mr. Scarpino and realtor, Michael Chase have experience offering buyers and sellers an interaction that goes beyond houses by ensuring that their clients have their needs and wants met as the foundational approach to creating lifetime relationships. The realtors offer varying factors to their clients to consider concerning housing such as home operating costs including taxes, insurance and utilities. They want clients to also consider the neighborhood and more. They also discuss the offer process and a buyer’s checklist.