New program brings local Black businesses closer to securing lucrative federal contracts

·2 min read
Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton is the president of Windsor-based Black Business Canada. (Submitted by Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton - image credit)
Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton is the president of Windsor-based Black Business Canada. (Submitted by Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton - image credit)

A new program is giving Black entrepreneurs the tools to level up.

The program is a partnership between a Windsor-based organization called Black Business Canada and the federal government.

Through the program, organizers will be hosting a number of online sessions to give Black business owners more information on how to secure federal contracts.

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton, president of Black Business Canada, said it's crucial to have a program specifically focused on Black-owned businesses in Windsor.

"You can't really cut and paste entrepreneurs from Toronto and think that it's blanket experience for the whole country. A Windsor Black [entrepreneur] is very different from a Toronto Black entrepreneur."

She said she took her concerns to a federal representative.

"After speaking with me over some time, they decided to partner with Black Business Canada to really help bring the word out among Black businesses and give Black businesses the opportunity to engage in doing business with them."

Applying for federal contracts can give Windsor-based companies the opportunity to work in government owned buildings like offices and schools.

The prospect has already attracted more than 150 Black business owners who are based in Windsor.

Submitted by Phil Octavien
Submitted by Phil Octavien

Phil Octavien, owner of Black Magic Culinary Creations, said he is eager to take his business to the next level.

"I like to think of myself as the best chef in Windsor nobody knows about. But I would like the opportunity and ability to grow the business as best I can and I think that with this opportunity, I would be able to do so."

Roy Vance, owner of Roti Bowl & Soul,said he's looking forward to possibly snagging a federal contract because of the stability it can potentially offer.

"I think when these contracts are in place, and you have something you can consistently count on and know is already in place, that helps a lot."

Submitted by Roy Vance
Submitted by Roy Vance

The first session will take place on Feb. 23. The focus will be on Black artists.

There will also be an event on March 2, focused on helping local Black entrepreneurs overcome any obstacles to securing a federal contract.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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