Small Business Week: Being a Diverse Founder in the Food & Bev Industry

By Vaughan Economic Development


Date and Time:

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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Tickets: Free

Held virtually, in celebration of Small Business Week, VBEC in partnership with The Black Entrepreneurship Alliance is hosting an intimate event to share practical tips to enter and succeed within the food & beverage industry as a diverse founder.

Join us for a fireside chat over food with our founders and find out what BEA has to offer to support your food & beverage businesses.



6:00 to 6:30 PM – Introduction + Keynote Presentation from the BEA

6:30 to 7:15 PM – Fireside Panel

7:15 to 7:30 PM – Q&A & Wrap Up


The Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA) is a Black-led initiative that exists to amplify and advance the next generation of Black entrepreneurs. The BEA gives Black entrepreneurs and professionals access to fully funded programs and partnerships so they can launch successful ventures against the challenges of systematic racism.

The Food & Beverage Program presented in partnership with YSpace, York University, the BEA Food & Beverage programming is designed to reduce barriers for Black-led Food & Beverage founders. The program supports Black founders in launching or scaling their food products in retail through customized hands-on workshops led by industry professionals, access to resources, practical mentorship with seasoned entrepreneurs, and networking opportunities.

Hosted by the VBEC every October, Small Business Week is a nationally recognized celebration of the contributions small businesses make to the economy. This year’s theme will focus on helping businesses become more inclusive while driving the Canadian economy. The content will focus on diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on cultural diversity and representation as well as industry and sector variety in small business.

Registrations are currently open to small businesses and entrepreneurs. For a full schedule of events, including descriptions, please visit


About the Panelists

Chanee Dowdie- Co-Founder, Honey Soul Food

A Rexdale neighbourhood native with parents from the Caribbean, Chanée has worked her way into the world of entrepreneurship with values of honesty, creativity, and love. Her ingenuity has helped her launch Honey Soul Food, a prominent restaurant in the city of Mississauga. As a product of a broken cycle, she’s making it her core mission to help end generational poverty through ways of business and opportunity.


IG: | FB: @honeyyyto




Gilles Tchianga, Founder of Taltis Foods in Ontario

Gilles Tchianga is Founder and CEO of Taltis Foods Inc., a manufacturing food company that brings unique African-oriented products to Canadians. After many years of not finding African cuisine products in grocery stores, he started cooking his own meals using ingredients from local African markets. This inspired him to make a range of sauces and beverages and led him to start his own food company. Gilles’ vision is to democratize African Cuisine in Canada and North America.

You can find Taltis products in retail stores like Loblaw and on their website:

Inst/Fcbk: @taltisfoodsca | Tik-Tok: @taltisfoods




Tamara Shelly, Co-Founder Classic Juice Co.

Tamara started Classic Juice Co. for a few reasons. She wanted to share the powerful effects of raw, cold pressed juice. She also wanted to create an experience she couldn’t find while experiencing her own healing journey. Tamara started the business in 2018 and two years later the pandemic hit, which meant having to overcome all kinds of unforeseen obstacles. Today, Classic Juice offers a variety of over 48 cold-pressed juices, superfood drinks and nutritious food products.

Tamara and her team at Classic Juice Co. believe that healthier people make a healthier planet.


IG: @ClassicJuiceCo