ACBN: Our History, Our Future, Our Legacy

by Dec 24, 2022About ACBN0 comments

Five years ago, while participating in entrepreneurial programs for Black youths, Ryan Knight and a group of other aspiring entrepreneurs saw a gap in scaling support for Black businesses in Canada. Black Youths graduated from the entrepreneur programs with nowhere to go for support to upscale their businesses, as Black focused organisasions were adamant that it was not within their mandate to help companies scale.

Not deterred, but inspired and charged to create this support entity for the Black youths, Ryan and six other entrepreneurs sat down to figure out what stage these youth businesses were in, and from that create a strategy to help them exponentially grow their businesses. From this group of visionary pioneers, ACBN was born.

ACBN’s mandate is to provide resources and opportunities that help Black business owners and operators to connect, build, grow, and achieve sustainability. We are committed to meeting and exceeding the business needs of our members, partners and other stakeholders. We continue to demonstrate this commitment through the implementation and enhancement of entrepreneurship programs and initiatives, designed to fuel wealth creation for all our stakeholders.

Our first year anniversary was held at the Chinguacousy Ski Chalet, and here we are 5 years later to commemorate our 5 year anniversary celebration of growth and successes, and looking at what another 5 years will look like.

Our Success Stories

ACBN Legacy Symposiums
ACBN’s annual Legacy Symposium is a flagship program hosted in February of each year, from 2019. The symposium provides a space for entrepreneurs and those of like minds to build meaningful networking relationships, and engage in educational workshops. Business leaders/knowledge experts in the Black community are invited to make presentations and facilitate discussion workshops that enlighten and equip attendees with useful insights and resources to upscale their businesses. Attendees are inspired and motivated to embrace new ideas, and to discover effective ways to navigate their businesses to achieve growth and sustainability.
Micro Loan
Micro Loan Program
ACBN in partnership with Alterna Savings established a micro loan program for Black entrepreneurs to access up to 25,000, to help with funding support for varying business needs. Loan applicants that do not qualify for loans are offered mentoring assistance to meet the loan criteria, with the added offer to join cohort training programs in writing viable business plans; implementing effective sales strategies; and feasible cash flow projections.
Capacity Building Workshops
ACBN provided consultation and mentorship to members/entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses, through capacity building info sessions. The scheduled workshops were on Fund Development, Board Governance, Leadership, and Communication and Community relations.
Grant Writing Info-Sessions
Grant writing info sessions are provided bi-weekly for ACBN members and other stakeholders that require support in accessing and qualifying for available grants. The program engages attendees in discussions and provides a learning space for those that require grant assistance. Discussion topics range from Foundational Elements of a Grant; Budgeting; Creating your Work Plan; Research Tips; Time Management, and available grants for Not For Profit and For Profit organisations.
ACBN Entrepreneur Drop Ins
ACBN provides a space for entrepreneurial engagement through weekly drop-in sessions on Thursdays. Black business owners and operators are given the opportunity to meet with us; discuss where they are with their business operations and ideas; challenges encountered; general life happenings; and what support services they require from ACBN. The entrepreneurs are provided with resources and hyperlinks to access necessary service offerings and resource materials that will help them grow their businesses exponentially.
CMHC Affordable Housing
ACBN partnered with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help ACBN’s members including Developers and Building Contractors in the Black community access and learn about funding programs that provide affordable housing opportunities. These include the Seed Funding, Co Investment, Mortgage, and Incentive Awards.
ACBN Diversity Job Fair 2020 & 2021
ACBN partnered with Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), to host our second Diversity Job Fair to open-doors for job placement and growth opportunities for the Black community at large. The JCA group of international Afro-Caribbean students and workers, engaged in a rewarding partnership that assisted members within the group with placement opportunities, and by extension adding significant value to the sustainability, and enhancement of the Black community.
ACBN Digital Marketing Workshops
ACBN partnered with MAPPDOM to host virtual workshops in Digital Marketing, for entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Black community. The aim of the program was to equip Black entrepreneurs and those of like minds with the requisite marketing skills and techniques to achieve ongoing success, through a diverse and comprehensive online Digital Marketing Program.
UBUNTU VR Project
ACBN launched this virtual program to help build mental health and community connectedness. The VR UBUNTU provides a space for people to participate and share in a virtual universe, in light of the social isolation and disconnectedness created for many by COVID19. The life-like peaceful and engaging virtual reality environment allows for community engagement, and one-to-one meditation and therapeutic counselling via the Cogni XR platform.

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