Caribbean biz joins mayor in drive for jobs

By Gerald V. Paul

Young business leaders engage Mayor John Tory in a conversation at Toronto Global Forum. From left are Leo Johnson, Tory, Vanessa Ferguson and Michelle Richards. Gerald V. Paul photo.
Young business leaders engage Mayor John Tory in a conversation at Toronto Global Forum. From left are Leo Johnson, Tory, Vanessa Ferguson and Michelle Richards. Gerald V. Paul photo.

Representatives of Toronto’s Black and Caribbean business community joined recently with Mayor John Tory to promote small business and jobs in Canada’s most diverse city.

Toronto’s foreign-born population is by far the largest of all urban centres in Canada, leaders of Invest to Succeed. Invest Toronto noted at the Toronto Global Forum, Mayor’s Breakfast last Friday at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Representatives from the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) and the Caribbean community said that Toronto ranks in the top 10 most appealing cities to live and work and among the top five worldwide “with the most job opportunities.”

The BBPA cited an online survey of businesses in the Black and Caribbean community with the purpose of engaging City Hall in an economic development structure.

Emphasis was on serving locally while going globally and on the bright future available to young people as they harness the city’s diversity in light of education, job opportunities, training and mentoring.

Tory said he looks forward to input from new thinkers and builders from the Black and Caribbean communities, noting Toronto’s small business sector forms the cornerstone of economic growth and job creation here and that there is a strong startup system supported by a diverse cluster of business incubators and accelerators, which the BBPA acknowledged, adding those incubators offer a range of services and strategic partnerships to support sectors from technology and biotechnology to food manufacturing and music.

Cosmopolitan and globally connected, a dynamic hub for culture, creativity and innovation, Toronto repeatedly and consistently ranks at the top of international indexes, the forum heard.

“It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to everyone attending the 2015 Toronto Global Forum, Pan American Edition,” Tory said in his welcome message. “We are honoured to be partnering with the International Economic Forum of the Americas for this event in our great city.”

He said this year’s forum, Creating Opportunities in a Connected World, brings perspective and insights on today’s most important economic and business issues.

“More than ever, it is imperative that our forum brings together business and industry leaders to discuss economic growth in the new economic era,” said Nicholas Remillard, president and CEO of the International Forum of the Americas.

“That is why we seized the opportunity to carry out this year’s forum alongside the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.”

Toronto businesses have access to a NAFTA market of 533 million consumers with a combined GDP of about US$18.6 trillion and 120 million people within a 500 mile radius of Toronto, the forum was told.

Jamaican-born Selwyn Richards, owner of The Art of Catering, praised the mayor for bringing Caribbean people to the table to promote their businesses. “We need to give him credit,” Richards said.

Later this year, the 2015 Ontario Economic Summit (OES) will explore how the public and private sectors can work together in the near, medium and long term to capitalize on surfacing trends and foster conditions in which Ontario can prosper.

Accelerating Growth; Creating the Conditions for Success, will be held Oct. 27-29, thanks in part to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul