As many of you may know from participating in our programs, attending our events or just seeing our social media feed, the BITS community is incredibly diverse. We’re from countries around the globe, speaking every language under the sun. We represent a broad spectrum of gender identities and house a multitude of religious and political beliefs. Our passions have led us to design spaces, write content, capture video, recruit staff, support fitness goals, bake cakes, build websites, code software, resell products, produce music, and so, so much more.

It’s from that diversity, we wanted to share with you this blog post titled #BlackResilience. As over two-thirds of the BITS community identifies as African-Caribbean, we wanted to use this blog post to highlight some of the stories our news and social feeds may very well be missing as well as help promote all of our community to #shopblackowned. Below, you’ll get a peek into what many of the Black-owned businesses in our community have been up to – with a not-so-subtle nod to the collaboration, celebration, and compassion that we see shared every day.

P.S. BITS has also been thinking a lot lately about our role in creating a more diverse and inclusive community.
Learn about the commitments we’re making, here.

At BITS, we know that it’s really about putting your money where your mouth is. A lot of people talk about the entrepreneurship game, but it’s a long walk from those who, well, walk it. Ready to support Black-owned? We’ve got you covered with our list of Black-owned (and alumni) businesses.
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We asked our alumni to share some recent updates and this is what just a few had to say:

Brittany Charlton’s (@ohhfoods) delicious allergen-free snack bites were shouted out by Dragons Den’s Michele Romanov! Epic right? On top of that, they’ve dropped their new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

Leshan Patterson (@crownedspice) has since graduated from the University of Waterloo and is now back selling his world famous sauces. Congrats, Leshan!

Rachel Lambo (@sadebaron) was just accepted into BeautyUnited’s inaugural Mentorship Program. There, Rachel will have the chance to learn from industry leaders in organizations like L’Oreal, Sephora, and Estée Lauder – show ‘em what you got, Rach!

Sarah-Jane Gwira (@sarahjanegwira) released her first online course “How to Get More Leads w/ Facebook Ads”. Learn all about it here.

Afia Agyeman (@afia_beauty) is just about ready to wow you all with her new lash line coming in the next few weeks!

Leave it to entrepreneurs to run towards a problem rather than away. When word got out that the world was experiencing a shortage of facemasks to help in the fight against Covid, these amazing BITS alumni hit pause on their business in order to repurpose their fashion know-how for good!

Check out their websites if you’re looking to up your mask game with a little more personality:

Jamila Doncher and Robin Hamilton (@hyfa) https://shophyfa.com/
$15-20 (pictured above)

Lily Hibbert (@loveleedesigns) https://shoploveleedesigns.myshopify.com/collections/african-print-fashionably-safe-masks
$15-25 – (with options for matching headwraps)

Melissa Falconer (@melissafalconer) https://www.mfalconer.com/apparel/face-mask
$20 (and you get to look like Rihanna)

If there’s one thing the BITS community understands it’s that no entrepreneur can do it alone.  Here are a few examples of what our community has been doing to stay apart, together:

Cola and Rochelle Bennett (@unforgivinglypur) just completed their rebrand and have now partnered with alumni K’brina Morgan (@kapostrophemedia) to help drive online sales for their natural skincare line.

Karlena Waugh (@thebizmixer) collaborated with Ignite Capital recipient, Alyssa Bertram (@easyperiod) to host a 4-hour Instagram Live event showcasing local entrepreneurs and creatives including alumni Idil Farah (@idilsworld) and a frequent speaker and pitch day judge, Makini Smith (@therealmakinismith)

Desiree D’Aguiar (@winifred.taylor) showed some love to Nabz Johnson (@shopadia) by sharing shelf space at her Stackt Market pop-up provided in partnership with BITS and the City of Toronto!

Are you a BITS Alumni and want to be featured on our Shop Black-Owned Businesses Directory? Simply fill in the details here and we will get your business added to the list.