Gassedy Jean-Pierre wears his job proudly. The 22-year-old Haitian immigrant was one of eight young people who successfully completed the Shouters Entrepreneur Skill Development program.
He showed up for last Saturday night’s graduation ceremony dressed in the uniform of the security firm that he established earlier this year.
Ligers Security provides security services for commercial buildings, retail businesses and special event venues. The company also employs private and undercover investigators.
“I did security work before I came to this program and I always felt it was an industry that I could have an impact on as an owner,” said Jean-Pierre, who migrated to Canada four years ago. “I want to change the way the industry operates by bringing new and innovative ideas that include enhanced training and honest service to clients.”
With its head office located in downtown Toronto at 502 Huron St. Suite 306, Ligers (www.ligersecurity.com) has five full-time employees.
“We are now in the start-up phase and we are hiring people with commitment and dedication to their job and the clients we serve,” said Jean-Pierre, who was presented with his graduation certificate by Haiti’s honorary consul general, Dr. Eric Pierre. “Completing this program is a proud moment for me and I intend to use the life and business skills I acquired to be the best employer I could be.”
Jameila Thane, 22, feels fortunate that she was introduced to the program by Operation Springboard, which offers effective initiatives for young people involved in the criminal justice system.
“I have made some bad choices,” said Thane, who graduated from high school. “But I have learned from my mistakes and I want to be a contributing member of society. I feel blessed to have been referred to this program and I intend to make the very best of that opportunity that came at a time in my life when I needed a helping hand.”
Thane, who came to Canada from Jamaica seven years ago, has translated her passion for cooking into a career with the establishment of Jahmanda, which specializes in Caribbean cuisine.
“I started cooking when I was about 11 years old and it’s something that I really enjoy,” Thane said. “The Shouters program enabled me to understand how a business operates and I now have the skills to go out there and (realize) my dream of owning an upscale Caribbean restaurant in downtown Toronto.”
Thane catered for last Saturday’s graduation ceremony in Scarborough. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Archbishop Dr. Delores Seivright, the founder and president of Shouters National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith (NESBF) Canada started the program to help young people advance in society.
Aimed at youth between the ages of 17 and 24, it is designed for the less-advantaged already committed to creating their own business. Youth selection is based on assessment and business ideas.
“This was a once in a lifetime experience for me and it felt good to know that there is someone out there who cared enough to believe in me,” said Grenadian-born fashion designer Desire Cave, the owner of Desire Rachael Inc. (www.desirerachael.com) that caters to women ranging in age from 21-38 and size from 2-10.
Event planning specialists Kemar Tucker, who can be contacted at EventPlannning2010@live.ca., and Kwame Marfo own True Reflections Inc. and Black Star respectively, which promise to deliver quality service, while Daniel “Jiggy” Williams runs a film production company.
Dwight Geary created Mood Musik Productions to help young people grow musically and Nigel Johnson started Kartel Comics to provide a revolutionary style to traditional comic books through an interactive online experience.
“We allow the reader to affect the outcome of the storylines or even become part of it,” said Johnson. “We specialize in custom characters in fictional stories for the most part in Canadian settings and we hope to add a 100 per cent multicultural Canadian touch to the genre.”
Centennial College professor Patrick Michalak congratulated graduates of the federally-funded program and offered them some advice that he said they will find useful in their business journey.
“Human beings are not assets and liabilities and you should treat your customers and distributors with dignity and respect,” he said. “If you take great care of those relationships, your business will thrive…You are all pilots and you are in control of your destinations.”
As part of the graduation ceremony and fundraising concert, the NESBF presented a bursary to third-year Carleton University law student Nicole Charles who was unable to attend the event.