The non-profit Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society has announced the second iteration of its Black Pitch Contest, where Black entrepreneurs pitch their business idea for a chance to take home $25,000.
Jackee Kasandy (CEO and co-founder of the Society). expalins: “This can be crucial getting a small business off the ground. It could be a game-changer to get the $25,000.”
Immigrant from Rwanda, Nadine Umutoni, is one of those entering the Black Pitch Contest this year.
Nadine says: “I moved to Canada 17 years ago. I’ve always wanted to start a coffee company, and finally in 2021, I launched Neza coffee. We’re an organic and fair-trade coffee from Rwanda; we roast and package (the coffee) here.”
Coffee is in Umutoni’s heritage, as her family farms it in Rwanda.
“Rwanda is called a country of 1,000 hills — we’re surrounded by hills,” she says. “Because of that (geography) we get really good coffee, premium coffee. The feedback I get from my clients is that they don’t need cream to fully enjoy a cup of Neza coffee. That’s the main difference.”
She gets her coffee from her family and neighbours in Rwanda who still operate farms there.
The first Black Pitch Contest attracted 130 entrants from across Canada. This year, they hope to match that number or even double it. Details on how to enter are on the Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society website, and five finalists will be chosen to give their pitches in person at a Black Business Summit at Emily Carr University on May 24-25, 2024.