BEHIND THE BUSINESS: Strengthening diversity in the maritime tech start-up sector Regional Business | business


When it comes to innovation and fresh business ideas, industries can achieve new and exciting results by bringing many different components and resources into the mix. When these components and resources include people with rich and unique perspectives, they serve as a strong foundation for success – based on diversity.

With this in mind, Volta, one of Canada’s largest innovation centers, has partnered with the Black Business Initiative (BBI) and Ulnooweg with the support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to support the growth and development of black and indigenous entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada .

Boost, a 16-week program, starts in mid-March and guides BIPOC entrepreneurs through skills development workshops and sessions to develop their business ideas and achieve their professional goals. During the workshops, participants learn more about leadership, branding, finding customers, adapting to employment trends and much more – and at the same time have access to a work laboratory in Volta’s co-working space.

Organizers say ideal program participants are people with early business ideas or career development goals who need support to move their project forward. They add that preference is given to those with a tech-savvy start-up idea.

“We really want to see people with more traditional business ideas, or maybe running a more traditional business, and they’re just looking for a way to add a technical component,” said Meghann Coleman, Volta vice president of programs and partnerships. “That could mean creating a website and tweaking something online. It can be traditional companies looking to just grow a technology-based aspect of their business. “

Coleman notes that Boost attendees also work with consultants and mentors who can help capitalize on what they learned in the workshops and turn their ideas into reality with a real-world business plan. Program partners say the initiative will only benefit the business community near and far.

“Black and indigenous businesses are a major contributor to Canada’s economy. We are pleased to announce this partnership with Volta and ACOA. Starting a program of this caliber offers significant business opportunities, ”said Matthew James Martel, BBI’s chief operating officer. “We firmly believe that greater participation by the BIPOC founders in the startup ecosystem will strengthen business not only in our province, but worldwide.”

Due to the great response from potential participants, the registration period for Boost has been extended to February 21 at midnight. The program encourages and welcomes applications from all black and indigenous founders. Given the need to increase representation within the sector, preference will be given to applicants who identify as women and / or members of the LGBTQIA + community.

While the application deadline is still open, Coleman knows she has great ideas and even bigger thinkers are on the horizon.

“I’ve had conversations with some amazing entrepreneurs who have really innovative ideas, but they’re just looking for support to scale their process and streamline their activities,” says Coleman. “There are some amazing ideas that we are very excited about and we are very excited about the entrepreneurs. It gets to be a really good group of people. “

While the program enables entrepreneurs to innovate and build on their ideas, supporting diversity is innovative in itself and can transform the startup and corporate sectors for the better – for all.

“The best innovation comes from a multitude of voices. The more diversity you bring to the table with an idea, the more innovative it is, ”says Coleman. “I think it’s time we brought more people to the table, more communities to the table, and from there we’ll see a lot of really cool, innovative ideas.”
To learn more about Boost or to apply, visit:

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