5 Black-Owned Businesses to Watch in 2024

As the month of love comes to a close, it’s a perfect time to turn our spotlight towards the vibrant tapestry of Black-owned small businesses in Canada. February, celebrated as Black History Month, is not just a period of reflection but also a celebration of the impactful contributions and entrepreneurial spirit of Black Canadians. 

Why Black-owned businesses are vital for the Canadian economy

In 2018, Black business owners represented 2.1% of all Canadian entrepreneurs, a number that only hints at the vast potential waiting to be unlocked with the right support and recognition. Black businesses owners in Canada are younger on average and incredibly resilient, often adapting swiftly and creatively to economic changes like those brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic such as quickly pivoting their businesses online, launching new ventures, and turning part-time gigs into  full time ventures. Many Black entrepreneurs started businesses out of desires to create new opportunities for others, for greater flexibility and freedom, or and in response to the pervasive anti-Black racism they experienced in the workforce

Our commitment

Our commitment at VFC is to promote entrepreneurial skills and support businesses from underrepresented backgrounds so they can thrive in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and beyond. Here, we spotlight five Black-owned businesses within the VFC community that are set to make significant impacts in 2024. These businesses exemplify the innovation, drive, and community spirit that define our country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

1. BrainSTEM Alliance   

About: BrainSTEM Alliance is a nonprofit company, specializing in youth outreach programming in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Founded by D’Andre Wilson-Ihejirika who has a degree in Chemical Engineering and Master’s of Applied Science. The organization is made up of volunteers, who work directly with community partners to develop customized programs, workshops, conferences and activities to foster awareness, increase engagement, and inspire the use of STEM in our daily lives.

Impact: BrainSTEM Alliance’s program STEMtrepreneur combines STEM and entrepreneurship to inspire innovation! They also hired entrepreneurial youth through our Intrapreneurship Program.  

Connect: For more information about BrainSTEM Alliance check out their website or follow them on social media.  

IG: @brainstemalliance 

TW: @brainstemally 

FB: @BrainSTEM Alliance 

2. Impact Toolbox 

About: Impact Toolbox was founded by Segun Fatudimu. His vision is to empower leaders to transform their ideas and passion for social change into viable businesses and community development projects.  

Impact: They’re making a difference by instilling mindset change, skillset development, and toolset access (e.g. theory of change canvas). Their results include incubating and launching new social ventures and community development projects, increasing social entrepreneurship knowledge and capacity with social change leaders, and training social entrepreneurs. In fact, through our Internship and Intrapreneurship Programs, they’ve been instrumental in honing real-world entrepreneurial skills for our students. 

Connect: Take a social entrepreneur course with Impact Toolbox and follow them on social media: 

IG: @impacttoolbox 


LI: Impact Toolbox 

3. COLO Studios Inc.

About: COLO Studios Inc.’s vision is to tell true stories of the African people, from the African people. Founded by Chibie Louis-Okoye who realized the power of storytelling and wishes to bridge the gap of African people benefiting economically from their own stories. 

Impact: Her first feature film that she produced, KOFA (2023) was inspired by the events following the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. This film won the best feature film and other awards at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). She was the associate producer for the award-winning feature, THE TENANT (2008). Chibie also believes in helping others develop entrepreneurial skills. With our Intrapreneurship Program students got to work on a part-time project for this innovative small business. 

Connect: Keep an eye out for COLO Studios newest project, The Third Coming: An Africanfuturistic Sci-Fi Drama. Follow COLO Studios Inc. on social media: 


4. Hidden Gemz

About: Hidden Gemz is an innovative startup that aims to transform the way Gen Z’s explore their cities. Founded by Ranique Mclaughlin, who created this fun and immersive game that takes players on a journey through their city in search of unique restaurants, arcade rooms, arts galleries and so much more.

Impact: Hidden Gemz connects with local businesses and tourism boards to create a new way for people to experience their city and uncover all the amazing things it has to offer. Their mission is to inspire adventure, curiosity, and a sense of community among their players, and to help them discover the local favorites that make their city truly special. Hidden Gemz has also connected with over 10 of our students to develop real-world entrepreneurial skills through our Internship and Intrapreneurship Programs. 

Connect: Download the game and follow them on social media:

IG: @cluez.in.calgary

LI: Hidden Gemz

5. Tribe Network

About: Tribe Network is a community of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) pursuing entrepreneurship and innovation in Canada. Founded by Alfred Burgesson, Tribe Network is on a mission to improve the wellbeing of BIPOC by supporting them to build, grow, and accelerate high-growth and high-value companies in emerging industries.

Impact: From helping budding entrepreneurs online through their marketplace and job board to in-person with a sizable coworking space in downtown Halifax. They also have innovative programs for youth interested in entrepreneurship, like their “Youth Climate Pitch Competition” and “Accelerate Black Tech” residency. Speaking of innovative programs, through our Internship and Intrapreneurship Programs, they’ve played a crucial role in developing practical entrepreneurial skills among our students.    

Connect: Become a member for free and make sure to follow them on social media:

IG: @tribenetwork.ca

LI: Tribe Network

Why support Black-owned businesses?

Supporting Black-owned businesses is more than a monthly observance; it’s a crucial step towards economic equity, social justice, and a richer, more diverse entrepreneurial landscape in Canada. 

Economic Empowerment: reducing the racial wealth gap and redistributing wealth in a way that promotes equity and empowerment.

Community Development: when we support Black-owned businesses, we can ensure that they continue to serve as a vital resource for their communities. 

Diversity and Inclusion: encourages diversity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This diversity leads to a wider range of ideas, creativity, and innovation. 

Social Justice: Black entrepreneurs face systemic barriers to starting and growing their businesses, including limited access to capital, markets, and networks. Supporting Black-owned businesses is a form of social justice, helping to counteract these disparities and break down systemic barriers. 

Strengthening the Economy: a diverse and inclusive economy is a strong economy. Black-owned businesses contribute significantly to the economy by creating more jobs, providing innovative solutions, and solving social issues. 

So, how can you support Black-owned businesses?

Here’s how you can help!

We encourage you to explore, support, and celebrate these and other Black-owned businesses throughout the year. Share their stories, engage with their products and services, and join us in fostering an inclusive, vibrant economy that reflects the best of Canadian values and diversity.

Rebecca Scott