How can Black businesses secure federal contracts?

Black Business Canada shows the way

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton

A new program is giving Black entrepreneurs the tools to level up.

The program is a partnership between a Windsor-based organization called Black Business Canada and the federal government.

Through the program, organizers will be hosting a number of online sessions to give Black business owners more information on how to secure federal contracts.

Maxine Ebegbuzie-Shelton, president of Black Business Canada, said it’s crucial to have a program specifically focused on Black-owned businesses in Windsor.

“You can’t really cut and paste entrepreneurs from Toronto and think that it’s blanket experience for the whole country. A Windsor Black [entrepreneur] is very different from a Toronto Black entrepreneur.”

She said she took her concerns to a federal representative.

“After speaking with me over some time, they decided to partner with Black Business Canada to really help bring the word out among Black businesses and give Black businesses the opportunity to engage in doing business with them.”

Applying for federal contracts can give Windsor-based companies the opportunity to work in government owned buildings like offices and schools.

The prospect has already attracted more than 150 Black business owners who are based in Windsor.

Phil Octavien, owner of Black Magic Culinary Creations, said he is eager to take his business to the next level.

“I like to think of myself as the best chef in Windsor nobody knows about. But I would like the opportunity and ability to grow the business as best I can and I think that with this opportunity, I would be able to do so.”

Roy Vance, owner of Roti Bowl & Soul, said he’s looking forward to possibly snagging a federal contract because of the stability it can potentially offer.

“I think when these contracts are in place, and you have something you can consistently count on and know is already in place, that helps a lot.”

The first session took place on Feb. 23. The focus was on Black artists.

There will also be an event on March 2, focused on helping local Black entrepreneurs overcome any obstacles to securing a federal contract.