According to Statistics Canada's Census report, visible minorities made up almost a quarter (22.3%) of the Canadian population. Visible minority businesses were more likely to face obstacles such as attracting new or returning customers (31%), changing consumer demand (29.7%) and maintaining sufficient cash flow or debt management (28.3%). With this in mind, it is clear Black businesses face more challenges and need additional support to succeed.
The Saint John Newcomers Centre would like to shed light on Black Businesses making an impact in Saint John.
Our first clients to focus are Shamsudeen Olaniyi, and Ayodele Olaogun who co-own Nig Partners Incorporated (NPI). NPI is a unique transport and logistics solution company with business units in areas of shipping, towing, moving and auto-service. Since their incorporation in 2018, business has expanded, providing a variety of auto-services they deliver across Atlantic region of Canada.
Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, ‘AY’ and ‘Shams,’ as they’re fondly called among their clientele, are newcomers with a mission to deliver value by improving customer service. The idea for NPI was borne out of a personal experience which many Canadians and newcomers can relate to, whether low- or middle-income earning face a challenge with purchasing and repairing used cars.
‘We belive the way to say Thank You to a country, or a community, that’s welcomed you as an immigrant, is to contribute to its growth and development, ‘Ayodele says.
Starting and growing their business in Saint John, New Brunswick hasn’t been without its challenges. The main challenges they’ve faced in this regard have been sourcing talent and navigating economic barriers.
‘As employers of labour in the community, we continue to work with government agencies like Working NB to source for the right talent. We also ensure NPI became a designated employer under Atlantic Immigration Project (AIP) so as to source for talents outside Canada.’
The Saint John community enjoys the impact of their business as they identify interns from schools, who get trained and eventually employed to join their workforce.
Overcoming economic barriers is still a work in progress. Required licenses to become an auto dealer and a Motor Vehicle Inspection (MVI) Station have been acquired. However, penetrating the market and growing their business is currently their top priority considering that NPI auto repair garage is the most affordable in Saint John, with the shop rate at $65/hr.
As an encouragement to Newcomers looking to start a business or just getting started, Ayodele says, ‘do your research, make a business plan, get a mentor, if possible, be determined and persistent, and be willing to take personal responsibility for your successes and or failures.’
At the Saint John Newcomers Centre, we are very proud of Ayodele and Shamsudeen, who started out as the Centre’s clients and have grown into community partners. They are a great example of the determination and community-mindedness it takes to succeed here in Saint John.
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