Free ‘Introduction to Business’ course offered to Toronto’s Black community

The Introduction to Business program is delivered remotely, with lectures and Q&A’s from Schulich Professors and Black Entrepreneurs. (Courtesy of Schulich School of Business)

Schulich School of Business has partnered with A Different Booklist Cultural Centre – The People’s Residence (ADBCC) to provide a free introductory business certificate program to the Black Community in Toronto. The program commenced on October 5 and will run until November 23. 

The introduction to business certificate program is eight weeks long and covers all introductory topics of business, such as marketing and how to create a business plan. All sessions, which are delivered remotely as a webinar, are 75 minutes long, with a one-hour lecture and a 15 minute question and answer portion. 

The introduction to business program was created by Ashwin Joshi, director of the masters of business administration (MBA) program at York. Joshi explains the origins of this program, while stressing its importance in the Schulich School of Business by stating: 

“The low percentage of Black students has been a long-standing topic of discussion at Schulich. The resurgence of Black Lives Matter (BLM) in spring/summer 2020 brought it to the top of the agenda. For the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) at Schulich this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. 

A working group has been created by the SLT to address the issues related to race and representation at Schulich. As part of this overall institutional recognition of the issue, the specific initiative with ADBCC began.”

    “Developing on-going relationships with the Black community is a critical initiative. We want to see greater numbers of Black students graduating from the school.” 

“For the SLT,” Joshi says, “developing on-going relationships with the Black community is a critical initiative. We want to see greater numbers of Black students graduating from the school. This way, we will contribute towards the project of overcoming racism and creating a more inclusive and hence more competitive Canada.” 

This free certificate program is made possible by the ADBCC. A Different Booklist Cultural Centre – The People’s Residence, is a non-profit organization in Toronto which offers different programs, support, and outlets for the arts, culture, and history of Canadians of African and Carribean ancestry. 

Christina Mayers, the program coordinator at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, says that the ADBCC is committed to providing programs that, as seen with the collaboration with Schulich, offer opportunities to the community. “Our main goal is for community and academia and learning to intersect. This is reflected in the introduction to business program because Schulich wants to see an increased enrollment in their MBA programs,” Mayers says.

“The intent is that Black students see Schulich as a business school of choice,” Mayers continues. “Schulich is looking for innovative ways to both engage students and take Schulich into the community. In driving terms this is a ramp,” Mayers adds. “We were chosen due to our innovative ideas, platforms for student voice, and an on-going partnership with York. It is currently a pilot program that we would like to see continue.”

Professor Joshi looks to the future in hopes that this outreach program is just one of many that places focus on diversity within the school of business. 

“We fully intend it to be an initiative that lays the foundation for a series of similar initiatives. It will be very disappointing for all parties involved, if our interaction with the community ends after the webinar series. Our intent is to grow the collaboration with Black community partners,” Joshi says.

About the Author

By Sarah Garofalo

Former Editor

Sarah is in her fourth year of Film Studies at York University. She is passionate about using writing as a tool to educate herself and introduce others to hidden stories and new ideas. In the future, she hopes to continue her studies in film and merge it with her love of writing and journalism. You can always find Sarah sketching, painting or endlessly watching films while waiting to get back into movie theatres.


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