Montreal conference teaches success skills for Black-run not-for-profit organizations

More than 300 organizations gathered in Montreal this week for a first-of-its-kind convention on how to make Black-run not-for-profit organizations successful.

Annick Kwetcheu-Jamo is with a new organization called Code F, which teaches people in Quebec City about financial literacy.

"Black people are resilient. But how can I transmit that resilience into my not-for-profit? That’s what I really need to know," said Kwetcheu-Jamo.

"I want to network because to see other entrepreneurs in the social business is very interesting for me."

From youth groups to cultural centres, Groupe 3737 organized the event to bring together non-profits to network and to share ideas.

The Jamaica Association Of Montreal attended because it wants to grow in a big way.

"We’re looking to buy a building. We’re looking to expand in many ways and we want to see what the opportunities are definitely to get that," said Sharon Nelson of the association.

Who better to speak with than Louis-Edgar Jean-François, president of Groupe 3737?

His organization, which provides coaching and support for BIPOC businesses, is based in one of the poorest neighbourhood in Canada — Saint-Michel — a place he wanted to see people invest in.

"If we use the vehicle of entrepreneurship and create business, jobs, create this micro-economy in Saint-Michel, we could bring resources and be a vector of change in the neighbourhood," said Jean-François.

The organization built a 12-storey building in Saint-Michel that he said supports more than 1,200 employees, has helped create 700 jobs, and collectively, has generated more than $180 million in revenue.

"There was no trust in that neighbourhood. I think investors didn’t feel that neighbourhood had this potential of growth," said Jean-François. "So we said to ourselves, ok, other investors don’t believe but we believe. So let’s be that proof of concept."

And now his team is helping other Black-centric non-profits across Canada connect with one another to encourage growth, leadership, and visibility.

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