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Recipients of the Cassels Black-Owned Small Business Grant for 2022 Announced


Cassels is excited to announce the 2022 recipients of its Black-Owned Small Business Grant: Deress Asghedom of Vaster, Rans Brempong of WCT Hoops, Tobias Brown of Tommie’s Jerk, Steve Sijenyi of LIT604, and Chanelle Tye of Chanelle Tye Equity & Inclusion.

Now in its third 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. With contributions from Wheaton Precious Metals in addition to the funds raised by Cassels, we are proud to be able to support five businesses in 2022.

Evelyne Nyairo, founder of Calgary-based sustainable skincare brand, Ellie Bianca, commented on how her business benefited from the grant and pro bono legal services she received as one of the winners in 2021: “We were able to undertake many critical projects that would have otherwise been delayed due to limited resources.”

“We really appreciate the Cassels team and their efforts to actively seek out the Black community and take productive action to provide an opportunity to uplift them. It truly has been a lasting partnership as Cassels later came on board as clients for one of the projects that the grant had helped us sail through. We also had one of the Cassels lawyers join us as a keynote speaker in a panel discussion that Ellie Bianca hosted during Black History Month this year.”

Cassels has now offered this support to the Black business communities in each of the three cities in which the firm operates – Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. This year marks the third and final year of the grant.

“With dozens of impressive applications, selecting this year’s grant recipients was a challenging process for us,” says Kwaku Tabi, Co-Chair of the Cassels Black Affinity Group and Grant Oversight Committee. “We’re proud to be able to provide the financial support and legal services that will help a pool of brilliant entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, especially after a pandemic that has had severe repercussions on small businesses worldwide.”

More About Our 2022 Recipients

Chanelle Tye Equity & Inclusion

Chanelle Tye Equity & Inclusion is an EDI education firm providing tailor-made workshops, facilitation, coaching, and program review. Chanelle seeks to embody and encourage justice from an intersectional, anti-racist, and decolonial lens, and believes in investing in historically excluded people with the end goal of changing unjust systems.

Website | Instagram


LIT604 is British Columbia’s only Black-owned radio station. The station celebrates Black and IPOC experiences through urban contemporary music, providing music and digital content alongside affordable advertising opportunities for Vancouver’s small businesses.

Website | Instagram

Tommie’s Jerk

Tommie’s Jerk is a Jamaican restaurant that exists to share a love of Jamaican food and culture. Through the creation of a select retail line of prepared spices and marinades, Tommie’s Jerk gives the everyday person the opportunity to curate their own cultural experience right from their kitchen.

Website | Instagram


Vaster is a mobile app that provides cannabis product information in real-time. The application is designed to help licensed cannabis producers (LPs) and dispensaries educate and empower their customers to make informed choices.


WCT Hoops

WCT Hoops is a basketball club that looks to teach kids the mastery of basketball so they can have success on and off the court. They do this by teaching young men and women fundamental skills, along with the importance of accountability and dedication.

Website | Instagram