BBI Task Force Report

The 1995 BBI Task Force Report

On May 24, 1995, a five-member Task Force of the Black Business Initiative was setup to consult with the Black community throughout Nova Scotia. The Task Force tabled its final report to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Provincial Ministry of Economic Renewal Agency on August 31, 1995. The following are excerpts from the report.

Task Force Members

  • Grace White, President Canjam Trading Limited
  • Tony Ross, Partner Ross Barrett & Scott Barristers & Solicitors
  • John Madison, Owner Madison Enterprises
  • Joan Jones, Community Worker Nova Scotia Legal Aid
  • Dolly Williams, Union Counseling Coordinator Union Counseling Program

Executive Summary

On May 24, 1995, the Governments of Nova Scotia and Canada announced the Black Business Initiative (BBI) to address the unique needs faced by the Black community. The BBI is a five-year, $5 million, province-wide business development project designed to support the development of business and job opportunities for Black Nova Scotians. A five-member Task Force was appointed to consult with the Black community throughout the Province and to report back to government by no later than September 1, 1995 on how the four components of the BBI should be designed and funded.

The four components of the BBI are:

  • Strategic Planning for Communities
  • Operating the Black Business Centre
  • Regional Business Development
  • A Loan Fund

In presenting its recommendations, the Task Force has not allowed itself to be restricted in scope to these four pre-determined components. It has tried to engage in an open consultation process to more fully understand the needs of the Black business community and to then attempt to address these needs within the funding limitations that have been imposed.

The Task Force has not allowed government to pre-determine such important decisions as the physical location of the Black Business Center – it has sought the advice of the community on the most appropriate site for the Center. The Task Force has also sought the advice of the Black community on other key issues such as board composition, services to be provided at the Center and lending guidelines. The Task Force feels strongly that it is only through an open and responsive consultation process, backed up by solid research and planning, that a workable long-term solution can be found. The BBI is an opportunity to legitimately and openly address the real needs of the Black business community province-wide for improved access to mainstream business assistance and to enhance opportunities for economic independence.