Where is the BBI located?

The Black Business Initiative offices are located in the Centennial Building on 1660 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 on the lower Penthouse Level Suite 1201 .

What type of Services does the BBI provide?

Our mandate is very broad. We use the acronym FIT to outline our services. The vision of the BBI can only be accomplished by providing the necessary tools for success. So when we use FIT we explain each letter.

“F” stands for financial assistance. We have a loan fund and an equity fund that we use as tools to help our clients.

The “I” stands for information i.e. databases, research, community meetings, directory and web site.

“T” stands for training. We understand that business skills development is the only way that we and our clients will truly succeed. We provide this by using consultants, mentors, aftercare and counseling.

Is the BBI a government agency or department?

The Black Business Initiative is an independent society registered under the Societies Act, funded in part by ACOA and the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development.

If I live in a rural community, who do I talk to at BBI?

We have a regional outreach program which allows us to maintain a regular presence throughout the province. We work with community partners, like ACOA, Regional Development Authorities, Community Business Development Corporations, Black Employment Partnership Committee offices etc.

Do I have to be in business already before I can get help?

No, we are available to assist you regardless of where you are in the business cycle: pre start-up, business planning, survival or growth.

Are there any grants available through the Black Business Initiative?

The BBI has a general Loan Fund and a Community Development Fund. The Community Development Fund is non-repayable and is available to registered not-for-profit community organizations. The loan fund is a low-interest term loan with a varied re-payment structure based on your particular project. For certain projects an equity fund is also available whereby the BBI makes an investment in return for an agreed stake in the project. Term loans carry an equity requirement of 10% of the total project cost. Equity loans carry a 5% requirement.

How long does it take to get financial assistance?

Every request is reviewed and responded to on a case by case basis. The time it takes to process the request varies based on the amount of information, facts, and data that you are able to provide. The BBI is committed to viable and sustainable projects therefore the BBI must ensure the business has all required information in order prior to lending money. Typically, it takes from six to eight weeks depending on your level of readiness.

Are there any sectors you won’t fund or help?

Yes, residential and rental accommodations, financial and insurance agencies, real estate and land development, taverns, beverage rooms and lounges or other business activity deemed not to be in the best interest of the community or the Province. We also do not finance existing debt, the purchase of vehicles, persons in default with their current BBI loan or persons interested in purchasing an existing business from a relative.

What do I need to have when I approach the BBI?

You may approach the BBI at any point in your venture. Of course, the more prepared you are, the smoother the process. Personal credit history, business and marketing plans are very helpful. But, we encourage you to contact us if you only have an idea. We’ll help you decide the next best step to take.

What personal skills are expected from your potential clients?

There are a number of skills and abilities that help us make lending decisions, including proven business planning and business management skills, big picture thinking, and good entrepreneurship skills.