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Building our Future: Celebrating Black Innovators, Founders and Leaders

February 29 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Please join us as we come together as a community to honour Black History Month, inspired by the 2024 theme Black Excellence – A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build.

We will celebrate current and aspiring Black innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses that drive our economy, enrich our communities and enhance our quality of life.

This very special in-person event will feature inspiration, actionable insight and experience with incredible speakers and panel discussions that:

  • Celebrate the talent, thought leadership and achievements of Black innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses
  • Highlight resources available for Black-owned and led businesses across our region
  • Promote Black-owned companies and businesses that are fueling the development of our economy and improving our quality of life

Light refreshments will be served. There is no cost to join us, and all are welcome!

Invest Ottawa, Wesley Clover, the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, and Kanata North Business Association are honoured to host this special Black History Month event with, and for, our ecosystem in partnership with Ottawa Tourism, OCOBIA, and the Ottawa Board of Trade.


8:30 AM: Networking and Showcase of Black-owned businesses and artists

9:30 AM: Opening remarks by Solange Tuyishime Keita; International Speaker, CEO and Founder of Elevate International; UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Event MC

9:40 AM: Overview: The Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) and the new Ottawa CBCC Innovation Hub by Nikki Clarke, National Business Manager

9:50 AM: Panel Discussion: Innovators at the Forefront: Pioneering Paths in Technology with Black Founders and Business Leaders

We are honoured to welcome the following speakers:

Moderator: Sue Odle, Operational Change Expert | Growth, Profitability, M&A Specialist | Founder and CEO @ 8020CS
Diane Watson, R&D Manager – Cloud & Network Services at Nokia | past WCT-NCR Chair | Community Champion and Advocate
Dominira Saul, Founder / Principal at
Emma Todd, Chairwoman, CEO of MMH Technology Group Top 100 Black Women to Watch, Top 50 Caribbean Women in Tech
Shav Hasfal-McIntosh, DE&I Director, Wealthsimple

10:35 AM: Overview of Ottawa’s Chnge Mker Innovation Hub; Mona Abow, Founder and CEO

10:45 AM: Panel Discussion: Empowering Main Street through Black Innovation, Leadership and Creativity

We are honoured to welcome the following speakers:

Moderator: Kevin Bourne, Founder, SHIFTER | Screenwriter/Producer | Multicultural Content & Comms Strategist | Golden Globe® Awards voter | TEDx Speaker
Blessing Okundaye, the founder and CEO of Afrodeez Food and Education
Nikki Clarke, Founder of award-winning Nikki Clarke Show, Global Speaker, 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women 2022
Stacey Martin, CEO, Fashion Designer and Founder, Stacey Martin Lifestyle Inc.
Eric McCrae, Founder of MBO CoWorking Space

11:30 AM: Aquilas K. Dapaah B.A LLB-JD, Small Business Founder; Lawyer, Economic Empowerment Advocate and Coach

11:40 AM: Concluding remarks from Solange Tuyishime Keita, Event MC

11:45 AM – 12:30 PM – Networking and Showcase

Register now to reserve your free ticket to this special Black History Month event.

Join us in person at the Brookstreet Hotel to enjoy light refreshments, networking, and panel discussion.

All are welcome – please join us. Register through this link!

If you would like to explore the opportunity to display your business, art or creation, please contact Julia Lewis, Director of Marketing, KNBA at:

Important Event Details to Ensure a Great Experience for You:

We are delighted to share the following information on transportation to the Brookstreet Hotel and support available upon your arrival.

Parking: Parking at Brookstreet is available in a secure underground garage located to the right of the hotel entrance as well as an outdoor parking lot. The first three hours are complimentary

Transportation by Bus: The closest stations to Brookstreet Hotel are:

Legget / Terry Fox: 265 meters away; 4 minute walk
Terry Fox / Legget: 372 meters away; 5 minute walk
Inclusive & Accessible: Should you have any specific mobility requirements, please contact Audrey Willsey at Our team will be pleased to work with you to make all the arrangements required for a great experience.

By registering for this event, you accept that:

You may be photographed or video recorded as we capture special moments during this event and share memories with our community via our website and social media
You will receive event-related emails, as well as an invitation to subscribe to our mailing list
The Brookstreet Hotel is located on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. We are grateful to have the opportunity to be present in this territory and come together as a community.

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