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Beyond Black History Month: A Q&A with the Black Entrepreneurs behind Excluzeev and CoverQuick

Black History Month, and every month, is an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the achievements of Black entrepreneurs and the role they play in shaping our economy, city, province, and society. A 2021 survey by Abacus data discovered that 76% of Black entrepreneurs said their race makes it harder to succeed as an entrepreneur. This is an alarming statistic that needs to change. One way we can create a more equitable and inclusive business environment is by supporting and celebrating these entrepreneurs.

We caught up with a few Black entrepreneurs making waves in their industries. Chard Joseph is Founder/CEO of Excluzeev, a dynamic Web 3.0 ecosystem built on the blockchain. Divine Adekanmbi and Tosin Kuye are the Co-Founders of CoverQuick, an AI-powered job application platform. In this blog post, we will share their responses to three entrepreneurship-related questions.

What inspired you to start your business?

“It started from a personal pain and struggle of mine… I got fed up with the entire process of trying to write a personalized cover letter and resume for every job. With the latest tech emerging, I thought, why can’t AI to help? And that’s where the idea was born.” – Tosin Kuye, Co-Founder of CoverQuick

“I found a problem that I was very passionate about… not knowing how to write a proper resume and spam applying to jobs led to a very frustrating and depressing job hunt. After sharing this with my parents, it turned out that as immigrants to Canada, knowing how to write a winning resume and cover letter was also something they struggled heavily with.” – Divine Adekanmbi, Co-Founder of CoverQuick

“I was inspired to start my business after seeing how blockchain technology was revolutionizing business…Web 3 technology offers businesses new ways to reach customers and create an entirely new ecosystem of products and services. I wanted to join in to revolutionize the industry and make an impact.”
Chard Joseph, Founder/CEO of Excluzeev

What are the best ways to support Black founders or Black-owned businesses all year long?

“Whenever possible, buy from Black entrepreneurs and invest in the products and services they offer. This shows a commitment to making sure their products are visible. Share on social media, be a sounding board, provide skills or knowledge, or make financial investments in their businesses. Show your appreciation for the powerful work of these inspiring people who, despite the odds, have created something new.” – Chard

“There needs to be more programs and resources to inspire Black entrepreneurs further. Access to funding and other mentorship programs is critical when you’re early into your journey. Programs that specifically support Black entrepreneurs are crucial to furthering growth and development in this ecosystem.” – Tosin

What advice do you have for aspiring Black entrepreneurs?

“Aspiring Black entrepreneurs should be sure to keep their goals realistic and short-term; this helps to break the long-term goals into manageable chunks. It’s also important to surround yourself with successful individuals and cultivate meaningful relationships with mentors that can support you along the way.” – Chard

“One piece of advice for Black entrepreneurs is not to be afraid to be proud and Black. I used to shy away from discussing any issues about being a Black founder… That was until I was told ‘For years, people like you were not given a spotlight. Now that you finally are, you should own it!’” Divine

“The best advice is to take a leap of faith…You can be sure to find forms of support within the ecosystem to turn your idea into a reality, so take the plunge and try.” – Tosin

Black History Month presents an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Black entrepreneurs in shaping the economy, society, and community. Unfortunately, the reality is that these same entrepreneurs face systemic barriers that make it harder for them to succeed. However, we can make a difference by supporting and celebrating Black entrepreneurs during Black History Month and throughout the year. By highlighting the experiences and insights of Black entrepreneurs like Tosin, Divine, and Chard, we can learn from their experiences and understand how we can provide support and meaningful change. Whether through funding, mentorship, or becoming customers, we all have a role in promoting equity, inclusivity, and diversity in innovation and business. That’s why programs and community collaborations like ANZA and ELITE are so important as they bring together partners and expertise to create a more welcoming and diverse innovation ecosystem.

Let’s continue to work together to create a more supportive and inclusive environment where Black entrepreneurs can thrive and succeed.

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