For #AfricanHeritageMonth, Volta, along with the Black Business Initiative and ONSIDE, are celebrating and recognizing the Black entrepreneurs in the Atlantic Canadian ecosystem that are building innovative solutions and elevating the Atlantic Canadian startup ecosystem. Read more about some of the entrepreneurs in our ecosystem that deserve recognition below.

Joyce Adom, Founder + CEO, Simply Go Natural Cosmetics

Joyce is the Founder + CEO of Simply Go Natural Cosmetics, a Black-women owned organic cosmetic manufacturing company and brand that hand-make natural, plant-based, cruelty-free skin care products for normal to severe dry skin, and hair care products for different hair types and needs. They specialize in curly, coily, wavy, and textured hair since 2016. Simply Go Natural Cosmetics was founded after Joyce struggled to find healthy hair and skin care products for her and her family as a new immigrant to Canada in 2015.

They are based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can learn more about Simply Go Natural Cosmetics here.

“The community can support Black businesses by buying and using Black products and services, and also to keep promoting them on social media, radio, TV stations and other media platforms, and including them in other trade activities to create more awareness.” – Joyce Adom

Brendan Nkala, Digital Marketing Consultant + Owner, Luminous Media Consulting

Brendan is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Owner of Luminous Media Consulting, based in Halifax, NS. Brendan prides himself on being a professional who puts goals and objectives upfront, and being a listener who takes all points of view into account. When you’re leaning on an integrated campaign, a keen strategist and rollout expert is a must, and he is the person to lean on.

You can learn more about Luminous Media Consulting here.

“Amplifying Black voices doesn’t mean giving Black people special treatment, especially only once a year. It means giving their voice the same respect that we have historically reserved for other racial groups. It means encouraging Black inclusiveness, accessibility and most importantly, it means affirming these simple words: “I see you, I hear you, and I believe in you.” – Brendan Nkala

Shekara Grant, Co-Founder, Change is Brewing Collective

Shekara Grant is from Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia and currently living in Paris, France. She is a Co-Founder of Change Is Brewing Collective, a Community Interest Company that collaborates with local breweries and cideries to produce tasty beverages. They donate 60% of the profits from each collaboration to local community care initiatives, and are trying to create more paths for BIPOC people to enter the booming food & beverage industry.

“Being an Atlantic Canadian entrepreneur means being willing to take absolutely terrifying risks. The ideas I’ve brought to Change Is Brewing weren’t my first business ideas and they definitely won’t be my last. My interest in business will always be linked to social consciousness so it means being in-tune with community need and willing to adapt. Thankfully, through this journey I have made many connections with Black and Indigenous small business owners who have supported me through all of the ups and downs.” – Shekara Grant

Fidel Franco, Founder, Atlantic DeFi

Fidel is the Founder of Atlantic Defi, based in Moncton, NB. Atlantic DeFi is a platform dedicated to teaching and informing people about blockchain, cryptocurrency and decentralized finance.

“The community can get behind Black businesses and amplify Black voices by supporting them in their ventures (business and projects). Ads can go far, recommendations can go even farther.” – Fidel Franco

Keisha Turner, Director, Akwekon Enterprises Inc.

Keisha, an African Nova Scotian woman and her husband Michael, Mohawk Bear Clan, founded Akwekon in 2019 to address the inequities in the innovation space. Understanding the dichotomy between common business practices and Indigenous business principals is imperative as we move into the future, and Akwekon guides organizations and their leaders on how to solve some of their most complex problems by reconciling these two conflicting world views to build unique and distinct solutions. You can learn more about Akwekon here.

“Here in Kjipuktuk, (Halifax) I invite the community to stand in unity and pride with us as we celebrate our businesses and our Blackness. Though we’ve always had innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit within us, we’ve not always had access to the resources required to realize our business goals. So being a Black woman, and entrepreneur in Mi’kMa’ki (Atlantic Canada) is something special. It is just. It is fair. It is in everyone’s interest for us to succeed. It is all of these things that have historically not been afforded to our community and our time is now.” – Keisha Turner

Tiffani Young, Owner, Natural Butter Bar

Tiffani Young is the owner of Butter Bar, a company that offers all-natural products that help different types of skin and hair look their best. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Tiffani started Butter Bar in December 2020, due to the lack of access to products needed to care for textured hair. Wanting to be as inclusive as possible, she decided to improve the accessibility of her business by offering Braille labels upon request and improving the Butter Bar website to accommodate the visually impaired. Because of Tiffani’s heart for the community, she is launching a program in partnership with the Tribe Network called “Be-You-tiful” which aims to build self-esteem and confidence. With this network, Tiffani plans to raise the voices of women and youth especially within the black community. You can learn more about Butter Bar here.

“Making the conscious and intentional decision to purchase from Black businesses, share them within your network, shine a spotlight and give credit to their talents all year round are some of the first steps the community can take to support Black businesses. Amplifying Black voices in business requires relationship building, providing equal access to funding as well as space to listen to the needs, wants and ideas of the Black community.” – Tiffani Young  

Stacy Darku, Registered Counselling Therapist, Esinam Counselling Inc.

Stacy Darku’s family moved to the Maritimes from Ghana in the 80s to pursue a better life. She graduated with a masters degree in counselling psychology and decided to open up her own private practice. She found that there were a lot of people of colour reaching out to her because they had felt uncomfortable accessing mental health services before, because they had a hard time finding a therapist that looked like them or understood the hardships they had faced. Her counselling agency is called Esinam Counselling Inc. and they focus on supporting people who have faced sexual trauma, racial trauma, addiction, domestic violence, PTSD, and racial adversities. They offer virtual services to anyone in Nova Scotia. Learn more about Esinam Counselling Inc. here.

“I believe that word of month is very powerful and knowing what businesses are in your community can help spread the word and attract new customers from different demographics. I believe that having continuous conversation, not just in February, about the adversities and accomplishments of Black people is vital in amplifying Black voices.” – Stacy Darku

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