As a kid, Ransford Fuller dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. However, he was raised by his grandmother as one of 19 in an impoverished family in rural Jamaica and there was very little to go around.
Fuller, who did not complete high school, was therefore totally unprepared for the challenges that newcomers to Canada encounter.
“I never had a steady job in Jamaica and I did not know where to start here,” admitted the 24-year-old who joined family members in the Greater Toronto Area some 18 months ago.
With the help of his sister, Fuller enrolled in the nine-month Shouters Entrepreneur Skills Development program, aimed at youth between the ages of 18 and 29 who are committed to creating their own business.
“I used to watch my grandmother prepare juices from fruits and vegetables that were very delicious,” said Fuller. “I loved the carrot, beet and papaya juices. I had tried my hand at it and thought it was something I would be good at and could turn into a business. As a child, health issues appealed to me and that’s why I wanted to become a doctor. I however grew up poor so the next best thing for me was to produce a health conscious product.
“I received a lot of assistance in the areas of preparing a business plan and how to market your products. Now that I have a road map, my next goal is to try to secure a grant to buy a blender and mixer and then work on getting a location downtown from which to sell my product. We will have a daily special and also provide clients with the option to customize their beverages to create unique juice combinations.”
Archbishop Rev. Dr. Delores Seiveright, the founder and president of Shouters National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith (NESBF) Canada, started the program to help young people advance in society.
She said Fuller has been the revelation of this year’s program.
“When Ransford came to us, he was raw and he had difficulty communicating,” said Dr. Seiveright. “He has come a long way in a short time. He’s very dedicated, genuine and passionate about moving forward and succeeding.”
Fuller was among nine young people who graduated last Friday night.
Ifejika Ramsay can finally exhale a bit in the face of myriad challenges. Her mother has lupus and a younger brother, Shammal Ramsay, who was diagnosed with a learning disorder, was gunned down on the day of his prom in Malvern in May, 2008. His killer is still on the loose.
She intends to set up a mobile canteen and catering service with quality Canadian and Jamaican fusion dishes.
“I have been cooking since a young age and it’s something that I enjoy and I have been encouraged to pursue,” said Ramsay. “This program has given me the confidence and strength I need to pursue my goal.”
Raschad Samuels has been baking since childhood and he aspires to grow Chadlight Café Inc. into a top quality business offering a variety of cookies, cupcakes, brownies and customized options.
West Hill Collegiate Institute graduate, Chelsea Frater, has established Confident Mature Exclusive Studios to provide easily accessible high-end photography services to individuals and businesses; Malvern resident, Brandon Francis, aims to provide a professional mobile barbering service to underserved communities; 19-year-old Shawn Young is on a mission to offer interior and exterior cleaning services through Canadian Cleaning Master and Nicole Kelly is seeking to deliver a mobile hair and beauty salon service to Durham residents.
Cassandra Boston is in the salon and spa business and Kyle Viera founded Bull My Corso to provide cost worthy dogs for breeding to customers.
“This program has helped me to become someone with a vision and mission,” said Viera. “It gave me the confidence to run a business with the determination and focus as chief executive officer.”
Minister of Consumer Affairs, Margarett Best, congratulated the graduates and presented a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal to Seiveright.
“She has made a huge difference in the lives of young people,” said Best. “I am big supporter of what she does having seen firsthand her commitment and dedication.”
Seiveright migrated to Canada in 1969 with the intention of joining her sister in the nursing profession. With no money to enroll in nursing school, she changed course and joined Bell Canada, where she stayed for 27 years, rising to become a project manager before leaving in 1996.
While at Bell, Seiveright attended Tyndale University College & Seminary part-time, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Religion degree. She attained her Masters and Doctorate of Religion from the Caribbean School of Theology and a Masters in Metaphysics online from Arizona University.
During the graduation, the NESBF presented a bursary to 22-year-old Rexdale resident, Antia Asante, who’s enrolled in York University. She aspires to be a teacher.