Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce joins SONAMI to diversify opportunities for Black Canadian-owned businesses as newest ecosystem partner

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Tennyson Harris, Founder and CEO of Technical and Automation Help Corp., who partnered with SONAMI’s network partner Sheridan College on a collaborative applied research project.

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) has formed an ecosystem partnership with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), a bilingual non-profit organization formed as a Cultural Chamber of Commerce that’s committed to connecting Black Canadian businesses to local, regional and international markets. The partnership between SONAMI and CBCC will drive innovation by connecting CBCC members to Ontario manufacturers, providing opportunities for potential events, mentorship, procurement opportunities and process-to-product commercialization, including an opportunity to work together on supplier diversity initiatives.

SONAMI and CBCC will support each other in their ongoing engagement with companies in advanced manufacturing and technologies, clean-tech, automotive, aerospace, energy systems, and the food processing sector. By extension, both parties will proactively support the organizational goals and initiatives of the other, while collaborating on bilateral funding proposals and joint events for visibility such as networking, production demonstrations, pitch competitions, industry days and more.

“This ecosystem partnership between SONAMI and CBCC will support Black Canadian businesses and drive diversity amongst manufacturing across the country,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Vice President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Enterprises at Niagara College. “By formalizing this partnership, we hope to better support Black-owned companies in the strategic and critical areas of advanced manufacturing, cleantech, automotive, aerospace, energy systems and food processing. By working together, we can create more inclusive opportunities and drive innovation in the industry, while exposing our students to the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

“Opportunities like this can serve as a foundation for inter-generational wealth. We are fortunate to partner with SONAMI in developing successful entrepreneurs and a stronger workforce – both with and for the betterment of Black Canadians and the greater Canadian economy,” said Michael Forrest, Founder of CBCC.

The CBCC is focused on economic development and a future-forward mindset that provides access and elevates opportunities for our members and the Black community. We will accomplish this by working collaboratively to remove barriers and equipping our members and Black entrepreneurs with the applicable tools, resources and education for success. As the national voice of Black Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs, this partnership is a vital commitment that will allow for the continued expansion and identifying economic development and innovation partners that serves to grow the Canadian economy.

Our new ecosystem partnership with SONAMI brings the CBCC, our members and the Black community closer to the equity and inclusion we continuously strive and advocate for.

Led by Niagara College, SONAMI is a network of 11 postsecondary institutions that, through their respective research and innovation centres, collaborates with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tackle their manufacturing-related challenges. The award-winning network leverages faculty, students, and state-of-the-market equipment together with funding from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Government of Ontario through Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), to support manufacturing in Canada. Additionally, SONAMI assists SMEs across all industries to plan out their commercialization strategy and protect their intellectual property rights.

Together, this partnership will enhance the support framework available for Black-owned companies in the Canadian manufacturing industry.

Representatives from interested businesses can contact SONAMI to access the advanced manufacturing network. For more information about the network, please visit the SONAMI website.

(Original article published on InsideNC here)