As #BlackHistoryMonth is underway, Volta, along with ONSIDE, and the Black Business Initiative want to celebrate and recognize the Black entrepreneurs in the Atlantic Canadian ecosystem that are building innovative solutions and elevating the Atlantic Canadian startup ecosystem.. There are several entrepreneurs that continue to do great work, that deserve to be talked about and recognized!

Ross Simmonds, CEO + Founder, Foundation Marketing

Ross Simmonds is the CEO + Founder of Foundation Marketing, a global marketing agency that provides services to organizations all over the world ranging from some of the fastest-growing startups to global brands. Ross sits on the board of directors for Volta, Phoenix House and Boys & Girls Club of Preston. Ross is also a well sought out public speaker, an angel investor and the author of multiple books.

Located in Nova Scotia, Foundation is a content marketing agency that collaborates with ambitious B2B brands looking to create and distribute content that inspires action. They believe that content has the ability to shape culture inside and outside an organization.

You can learn more about Foundation Marketing here.

“It’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Atlantic Canada. If you have Wifi, curiosity and a splash of hustle you can connect with people all over the world, learn from the greatest minds, deliver value to your customers and unlock global opportunities.” – Ross Simmonds

Jonah Chininga, CEO, MICC Financial

Jonah Chininga is the CEO of MICC Financial, which allows groups of people to pool funds together to achieve their financial goals and build credit through a collaborative program.

Jonah is from Harare, Zimbabwe. He moved to Prince Edward Island in January 2014 to pursue a degree in Business. After graduating, Jonah secured a certification with the World Bank Certificate for Secured Transactions, Collateral Registries and Movable Asset Based Financing. In 2019, Jonah attended the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York, a youth leadership conference where they engaged in discussions around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The conference talks inspired Jonah to co-found Money & Innovation Connecting Communities (MICC). MICC is a mobile app focused on expanding economic access for individuals underserved by the existing financial system. Jonah led MICC to become the first PEI Company to win the Volta Pitch competition in 2020 and was selected as one of the 30 under 30 innovators in Atlantic Canada. You can learn more about MICC Financial here.

“Entrepreneurship is the creation of value while assuming significant risk to seek economic gains,” – Jonah Chininga

Tash Jefferies, CEO + Founder, Diversa Work

Tash Jefferies is a sales and marketing expert, diversity consultant and international speaker.

She is also the Founder and CEO of the startup, that helps make more job opportunities available to women and people of colour within the tech community.

With 20-plus years experience in sales and marketing, 10-plus as digital marketing strategist, 7-plus within management consulting, and another 3-plus years as a wellness coach, she uses her expertise to help people set business goals and achieve them, with a wellness spin.

Her additional titles include best-selling author, TEDx speaker, Top 50 Health Blogger according to Huffington Post, and one of the 33 Bad— Black Womxn in Silicon Valley.

She resides in Nova Scotia and travels internationally for global accelerator programs for startups.

“Being born and raised in Atlantic Canada we are taught to be personable, and build relationships from early on. This natural edge we end up having to connect with people helps us globally in the business world to be unique, and build trust with those we work with. Embrace it.” – Tash Jefferies

Chukwuebuka Amaefula, CEO + Founder of Owlya Inc.

Owlya Inc. is located in St. John’s NL, and centres around an AI-powered Assessment platform that detects suspicious activities during an online examination. They are focused on offering better user experience, and they believe this technology should be available for everyone, especially now, with the pandemic forcing schools and training institutes to move examinations online. You can learn more about Owlya Inc. here.

“I regret not making my jump from India to Canada sooner. I failed in my previous company because of my lack of community support as a foreigner in India. But the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada is one of the best I have seen, the community support is next to none. It’s better late than never and I’m glad to be part of this fast-growing community.” – Chukwuebuka Amaefula

Nick Stoddard, Co-Founder, Antimatter Creative Labs

Nick Stoddard is the Co-Founder of Antimatter Creative Labs.

Located in Halifax, NS, Antimatter Creative Labs is a web development company that helps local businesses build platforms, navigate online marketing, print, sales and funding.

Stoddard’s entrepreneurship journey is one of courage, hard work, persistence, strong work ethic and striving for excellence. Learn more about his journey here. Learn more about Antimatter Creative Labs here.

“Entrepreneurship is an amazing journey that everyone should try at least once in their lives. Starting here in Atlantic Canada allowed me to hire friends, family and students from my university and everyone is super open and friendly. That makes the journey even more exciting.”- Nick Stoddard

Charles F. Milton, CEO + Founder,

Charles F. Milton is the Founder and CEO at, North America’s fastest way to help marginalized students find money to fund their tuition.

Charles graduated with a diploma in Data Analytics in 2019 from NSCC, before founding Bursity. This bold move made him one of Nova Scotia’s only technically trained domestic black SaaS founders in the last decade.

Charles pitched successfully at the 2019 Volta Cohort, and officially become a Volta Cohort resident. He is a powerful voice in the ecosystem, and uses his energy to promote inclusion and access for marginalized founders, inspired daily by the many inventions by members of the African Diaspora who have contributed to crafting the modern world. Are you a post-secondary student, who has yet to hear about Bursity? Get ready to score more scholarships and learn more about Bursity here.

“Be a maverick. Do something different. Stand out, and move against the current and the crowd. The truth is, it’s not going to be easy. But in the end, it’ll be worthwhile.” – Charles F. Milton

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