The province is continuing to support the growth of African-Nova Scotian businesses with another year of funding to the Black Business Initiative (BBI). The Office of Economic Development is putting $500,000 to work in the BBI in 2005-06. The province has invested $4.85 million in BBI since its inception in 1996. “For the last decade, the Black Business Initiative has showcased the success of African Nova Scotian businesses,” Wayn Hamilton, interim executive director of African Nova Scotian Affairs, said today, June 17, on behalf of Ernest Fage, Minister of Economic Development. “The province is proud to be a supporter.” Research shows that the number of businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs grew by 40 per cent between 1996 and 2001, the period during which the BBI was getting established. Figures also show that BBI investments have led to nearly 500 full- and part-time jobs throughout urban and rural Nova Scotia. The organization is also forging links with the broader business community throughout the province. To date, they have established working partnerships with the Greater Halifax Partnership and Blue Water Community Business Development Corporation in rural Halifax Regional Municipality. This year, the BBI raised another $100,000 under its Community Economic Development Investment Fund, bringing the fund total to $240,000. The first investment under the fund has gone to a Halifax-area recycling firm, the Bin Doctor. “We appreciate the continuing investment of our funding partners and believe these commitments recognize the positive contribution the BBI is making to business-development and job-creation among African Nova Scotians,” said Rustum Southwell, executive director of the BBI. The federal government, through ACOA, also continues to be a major funding partner of the BBI.