Since the BAIDS Program was launched in August 2020, more than 330 services were provided to Canadian Black businesses. These companies have benefited from the services offered through BAIDS and want to share their stories.
BAIDS Makes An Impact
Afro Canadian Contractors Association (ACCA)
When Stephen Callender, president of the Afro Canadian Contractors Association (ACCA), applied for BAIDS services he knew that the association needed help. He also knew that any services and support the ACCA received was going to help many more Black businesses.
ACCA’s objective is to get more Black contractors into the Canadian construction industry. Through training, mentorship and networking, the association helps Black trades people start their businesses, subcontractors become general contractors and established businesses move into development.
“The ACCA is run by me and a group of directors,” says Stephen. “We had a hard time operating the association and running our own businesses. We needed help with everything so we applied for the BBPA’s BAIDS Program.”
After the initial consultation, the BAIDS team determined that the first step was to provide the ACCA with a business plan (website development and grant writing followed). In fact, armed with a professional business plan and grant writer, Stephen was able to acquire a $500,000 grant from Ontario’s Skills Development Fund.
“BAIDS is special because it provides help in a different way,” says Stephen. “The people who manage the program look at your business to identify what service you need to grow, then they work to find you that service in the Black business community.”
As a BAIDS client, Stephen became connected to other Black businesses such as accountants, lawyers, project managers and business consultants. “BAIDS gave me exposure to other Black businesses that our contractors can use.”
Cameron Collective Solutions Inc.
For Brampton’s Cameron Collective Solutions Inc., joining the BBPA and being a BAIDS Program client was absolutely integral to the sustainability, viability, and continued success of this family trucking enterprise.
“We started the business in July 2020 and at the end of our first year we had one truck in operation and less than $10,000 in total revenue,” says Chief Operating Officer, Craig Cameron. “The BAIDS program stepped in and gave us access to a number of professionals who provided both counsel and professional services. As a result of this assistance we were able to expand our fleet to include four large trucks and two smaller trucks by the end of 2021. We were also able to generate over $200,000 in revenue by the end of 2021.”
Craig believes that Cameron Collective Solutions Inc. is on track to be a million dollar enterprise within the next few years.
“We are truly grateful to the BBPA as this is something that would not be realistically possible had we not been able to participate in the BAIDS Program” adds Craig. “We can only hope the program is expanded so more Black owned businesses can benefit as well! We cannot thank the BBPA enough for how impactful this program was in changing the trajectory of our business.”
Ti Kay La Foods
Wanting to scale her business and grow her client base, Ti Kay La Foods’ chef, Victoria Alexander applied to the BAIDS Program. Through the program, Chef Victoria received a professional business plan that helped her map out the future of her business and establish realistic goals.
She also received marketing support to promote her brand and products. This service was particularly helpful when Chef Victoria acquired a deal (through the BBPA’s Ready to Scale Pitch Competition) to place Ti Kay La products on the shelves of Loblaws Supermarkets in the Greater Toronto Area.
We recently had an opportunity to ask Chef Victoria these questions about her business and inspirations.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in St. Lucia on a beautiful Caribbean island known as the Helen of the West. It was simply beautiful.
When did you establish Ti Kay La?
Ti Kay La has been in operation from 2010 as a sole proprietorship. We recently incorporated in 2021.
Who was your inspiration for starting your own business?
My mom was the inspiration for starting my business. I enjoyed watching her cook and vowed one day to be an amazing chef. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and envisioned myself as a successful business owner.
What does Ti Kay La mean?
Ti Kay La means the little house and it comes from my childhood. Until I was eight years old, I lived in a little wooden hut-like dwelling in the heart of Castries, Saint Lucia, with my parents and 13 siblings.
Why did you choose Ti Kay La for the name of your business?
Ti Kay La was the start of everything I knew. All of my sauces, rubs and marinades bear the name of my humble beginnings. I’m hoping this name – the start of everything for me – will soon evolve into a household brand name.
What are your biggest business challenges?
My biggest business challenge is not having access to working capital. We typically perform best during the summer months but due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, our revenue was severely impacted as we were not able to attend any events/summer markets in person.
Fortunately, in 2021 through perseverance and support of family and friends, I was able to grow my business by attending in person marketing events and catering services.
What do you like best about operating your own business?
I get intrinsic satisfaction when my customers return with glowing accolades. It confirms that I’m delivering excellent service and quality products to my customers. I’m committed to ensuring that all my products have the authentic Caribbean flavour. As a trained nutritionist, it’s important to me that each batch of Ti Tay La sauces are made with natural local ingredients.
Why do you think the BBPA is important for Black entrepreneurs?
BBPA is a professional organization managed by Black Business professionals. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to have good role models to emulate.
Why is BAIDS important for the Black community?
The BAIDS Program is one of a kind and an excellent opportunity for the Black community to grow their businesses and receive access to support through a range of essential services.