A Black Canadian woman in the tourism sector has secured funding to grow her business. René Boudreau founded Elevate and Explore Black Nova Scotia, a tourism company geared towards Black travelers within the Atlantic region, according to Toronto Star.
She recently got accepted into a mentorship program through American Express called Blueprint: Backing BIPOC Businesses, geared towards business owners who are Black, Indigenous, and other minorities.
According to Toronto Star, each business accepted into the mentorship program received a $10,000 grant to put towards their business.
“When I started it, I wasn’t registered as a business or anything, I was kind of just starting it with the goal to create a business out of it,” said Boudreau of her tourism business which she started with a single Instagram post of an African Nova Scotian visitor to Africville Park, Toronto Star reported.
“I just started posting pictures of Black people exploring the province. It would be pictures that I took or pictures that I would ask people to send me, and I would just post them. From that I was able to form partnerships with different businesses and organizations.”
Elevate and Explore Black Nova Scotia, through its tours, highlights Black Nova Scotian history and culture to potential Black tourists.
“The goal and the vision of Elevate and Explore is to encourage more Black travelers to visit the province, but also to inspire people from all backgrounds to explore the province as well,” she told Toronto Star.
She added: “I thought that if more [Black] people could see themselves traveling around the province, then we would probably feel more comfortable to go to different paces or more inclined to want to visit.”
Boudreau is planning to improve the visibility of her tourism company by launching an official website so as to promote her business and other Black-owned businesses and experiences throughout the province.
“It will be a good resource for people from away to go on this website and just browse through. And if they do decide that they want to visit Nova Scotia, then here are some different Black-owned businesses that you can support; here are some Black-owned Airbnbs you can stay at; here are some cites and attractions; here [is an “about” section] for Elevate and Explore; there will be pictures [from my] social media.”
So far, she has received interest from people in the U.S., Montreal, and Ontario and other countries with African ancestry.