By Lincoln DePradine
African-American entrepreneur, Ron Busby, is a millionaire businessman who is “excited’’ at the formation of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC).
“The Canadian Black Chamber will be the advocate for black businesses and a black economic agenda that would move this country forward,’’ Busby said April 25 in Toronto at the CBCC’s official launch.
The event was attended by a broad cross-section of people from the Black community and the wider Canadian society, including representative of business and politics.
“Our mission, at the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, is to be the hub of the Black business ecosystem,’’ CBCC founding-president Michael Forrest told the gathering at Metro Hall. “We definitely want to help you grow your business.’’
Forrest said the CBCC intends “to find ways to build bridges’’ and to engage in trade missions with the world’s 1.5 billion Black people, including those living not just in the United States but also in places such as Mexico and Africa.
Among the on-stage supporters at the launch, which included a panel discussion, were Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes and Nadia Theodore, Canada’s Consul General to the Southeastern United States.
“In Canada, we have a long history of Black entrepreneurship across the country,’’ said Theodore, who was born and raised in Ottawa and is the first Black Canadian female diplomat to head one of the country’s foreign missions.
The formation of the CBCC is the start of a “new platform for Canadian businesses that are owned and operated by the Black Diaspora across our amazing country,’’ Theodore noted.
“With the creation of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, and working together with Canadian businesses across the country, we are poised to move our collective interest forward, to the next level,’’ she added.
Caesar-Chavannes, in extending support to the CBCC, promised ongoing assistance as long as the chamber “continues to be the driving force of change and good within our community’’.
The CBCC is an affiliate of the U.S. Black Chambers (USBC) Inc., where Busby serves as president and chief executive officer. The USBC comprises more than 140 chambers in America.
“I’m in 42 States and I have a membership base of over 300,000,’’ said Busby, whose first business venture was a janitorial service called “Superclean’’.
The business, set up with five employees in 1989, grew from $150,000 in annualized revenue to $15 million in eight years, with a staff of more than 700.
“I’m excited about working hand in hand with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce,’’ Busby said.
“When we start supporting our own communities, that’s when we have success,’’ he pointed out. “In the U.S. Black Chamber, our average member is doing $1.2 million in annualized revenue, has seven employees, has been in business five years, doing business in multiple States; that where this chamber (CBCC) is headed.’’