One of Calgary’s leading Canadian law firms, Cassels, announced the recipients of its annual Black-Owned Small Business Grant: Evelyne Nyairo of Ellie Bianca, Leah Higgins of Blush Décor Painting, Greg Carter of Phoenix Metals Ltd and Fay Bruney of Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine.
The grant, which is supported by Wheaton Precious Metals, aims to create long-term economic opportunity for Black owned or operated small businesses. It consists of a total of approximately $125,000 plus the equivalent in pro bono legal services from the firm.
Now in its second year, the grant was created by Cassels out of a desire to foster a diverse and rich entrepreneurial environment by providing much-needed access to funding and legal assistance for Black business owners. The increase from last year’s grant of approximately $72,000 is a result of a $50,000 contribution from Wheaton Precious Metals as well as funds raised by Cassels, allowing the firm to increase its support from one to four businesses in 2021.
Lola Adeyemi, who received the grant in 2020 for her Toronto-based business, “It’s Souper”, used the funding and support to scale her business, landing contracts to supply multiple grocery retailers with her products.
“I cannot emphasize enough how remarkable this grant and the accompanying legal services have been for my business,’ said Adeyemi. “Cassels have set clear intentions to honour and support the Black community, and their efforts are commendable”. While “It’s Souper” prepares for national expansion, Lola also joined the Cassels Grant Oversight Committee to review applications for 2021.
“This year, we continue to be impressed by the quality of the applications we have received for this grant,” says Kwaku Tabi, co-chair of the Cassels Black Affinity Group and Grant Oversight Committee. “We are delighted to be able to provide this year’s recipients with financial resources and legal services to help ensure their continued success and grow their business, particularly as the economy begins to recover and regroup after the pandemic.”
Each year, Cassels is offering this support to the Black business communities in one of the three cities in which the firm operates – Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The third installment of the Cassels Black-Owned Small Business Grant is scheduled to launch for Vancouver-based Black-owned businesses in mid-2022.