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The BBI is the longest serving Black business development initiative in Canada.

The Black Business Initiative (BBI) was founded in 1996 by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia to address the unique needs confronting Nova Scotia’s Black business community. Since then, our organization has grown into a catalyst for job creation, equitable participation, and advancing the economic prosperity across Canada.

We support Black entrepreneurs every step of the way—from start-up and development to growth and expansion. Our goal is to help our clients compete both nationally and internationally within the broader business landscape.

Our Vision

A dynamic and vibrant black presence within the Atlantic Provinces’ business community.

Our Mission

To positively influence business culture in the Atlantic Provinces by promoting and assisting in the development of Black-owned businesses. We accomplish this within a cohesive framework to achieve several overall goals including:

  • Economic independence of individuals
  • Improved standards of living
  • Career options for youth
  • Pride in communities.

Our guiding principles are the following:

  • Every Black person who expresses an interest in starting a business is important to this Initiative.
  • The Black community needs business know-how, information, and skills development – not charity.
  • The Black business community should be fully integrated with the larger business community to access the necessary resources.
  • Direct financial assistance is only one component of the BBI.
  • The merits of a project depend on the viability of the business case.


In 1995, a task force was formed that included community members to address the unique needs confronting the Nova Scotian Black business community at the time. After 18 community consultations, the task force created a report with its recommendations, delivering it to the government of the day. Key concerns identified were underdeveloped business skills, lack of access to capital, few role models, lack of knowledge of how to take advantage of financial programs, and discrimination at the institutional level. As a result, the Black Business Initiative was created and launched on October 25, 1996.

25 years later, the BBI remains committed to its vision to foster a dynamic and vibrant Black presence within Nova Scotia (and soon, the Atlantic provinces). Its ultimate mission is to bring a positive influence on the Nova Scotia business culture by promoting and assisting in the development of Nova Scotian Black-owned businesses. “We change lives by enabling economic independence of individuals and communities.” BBI has over twenty-five years of a “trusted & tested,” proven track record in business and economic development, entrepreneurship training, project management and a team of seasoned experts on staff and in its network. We have a long history of convening and mobilizing, supporting, and leading consequential projects and initiatives within Black Canadian communities.