Cassels is excited to announce the 2021 recipients of its Black-Owned Small Business Grant: Evelyne Nyairo of Ellie Bianca, Leah Higgins of Blush Décor Painting, Greg Carter of Phoenix Metals Ltd, and Fay Bruney of Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine. The grant, which is supported by Wheaton Precious Metals, aims to create long-term economic opportunity for Black owned or operated small businesses. It consists of a total of approximately $125,000 plus the equivalent in pro bono legal services from the firm.
Now in its second year, the grant was created by Cassels out of a desire to foster a diverse and rich entrepreneurial environment by providing much-needed access to funding and legal assistance for Black business owners. The increase from last year’s grant of approximately $72,000 is a result of a $50,000 contribution from Wheaton Precious Metals as well as funds raised by Cassels, allowing the firm to increase its support from one to four businesses in 2021.
Lola Adeyemi, who received the grant in 2020 for her Toronto-based business It’s Souper, used the funding and support to scale her business, landing contracts to supply multiple grocery retailers with her products. “I cannot emphasize enough how remarkable this grant and the accompanying legal services have been for my business,” said Adeyemi. “Cassels has set clear intentions to honour and support the Black community, and its efforts are commendable.” While It’s Souper prepares for national expansion, Lola also joined the Cassels Grant Oversight Committee to review applications for 2021.
“This year, we continue to be impressed by the quality of the applications we have received for this grant,” says Kwaku Tabi, Co-Chair of the Cassels Black Affinity Group and Grant Oversight Committee. “We are delighted to be able to provide this year’s recipients with financial resources and legal services to help ensure their continued success and grow their business, particularly as the economy begins to recover and regroup after the pandemic.”
Each year, Cassels is offering this support to the Black business communities in one of the three cities in which the firm operates – Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The third installment of the Cassels Black-Owned Small Business Grant is scheduled to launch for Vancouver-based Black-owned businesses in mid-2022.
More about our 2021 recipients
BLUSH DECOR PAINTING
Blush Décor is a local painting company that operates in Calgary, Alberta and surrounding areas. They specialize in residential and commercial painting including spray finishes on custom millwork and trim, fine finish spraying of cabinetry, and interior wall repaints. Their exterior services include power washing, staining decks, fences and custom woodwork, painting brick, masonry, stucco, and siding. They provide exceptional service by creating lasting and genuine relationships with each customer.
Ellie Bianca is a holistic skin care line that cultivates, sustains and empowers women through sustainable business practices and fair trade. All of their products are scientifically formulated with naturally sourced ingredients and are environmentally friendly, organic and non-GMO. The company has also developed the Ellie Bianca Woman Scholarship for single mothers pursuing a post-secondary education, as well as supporting boys and girls in Africa who are striving for a higher education.
PHOENIX METALS LTD
Phoenix Metals Ltd specializes in metal roofing and cladding panels for residential, agricultural and commercial buildings in Calgary. With a strong focus on delivering the highest quality products and workmanship in the industry, Phoenix Metals endeavours to serve their customers at the highest standards.
SIMPLY IRIE CARIBBEAN CUISINE
Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine is situated in the heart of Calgary’s business district. It is a Black female owned and operated restaurant that exposes Calgarians and foodies from across Canada and the US to authentic Caribbean cuisine. By the summer of 2015 they had quickly become a destination for a taste of the Caribbean for not only the local Calgarians but also travellers from the US and across Canada.