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HomeNewsCommunityDurham Black business owner finds success networking virtually

Durham Black business owner finds success networking virtually

Judith Tait knows the importance of networking in all her lines of work. Tait, 47, is a 24-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service who also operates two of her own businesses.

These days Tait is doing a lot of networking from behind her computer to support her ‘Move Your Doggie’ and ‘Let’s Build a Six-Figure Business Together!!’ ventures.

“I like virtual because it’s just so much easier,” says Tait. “I’ve got to run to my office now and you know flip over my laptop and be online.”

In the wake of February’s Black History Month (BHM), Black-owned businesses continue to be supported across Durham Region with many online events.

“It seems like there’s a lot of support [of Black-owned businesses],” says Tait. “A little more noticeable this year to me than previous years.”

Tait was involved virtually with a kickoff BHM event in Whitby, Feb. 2. The event was staged by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee, which was formed in the spring of 2020.

Tricia Williams, Chair of Whitby of  Commerce's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commitee.  Courtesy of Trica Williams.
Tricia Williams, chair of Whitby of Commerce's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Photo credit: Courtesy of Tricia Williams

Tricia Williams, Chair of the DEI Committee, came up with the idea to hold the virtual BHM event.

“We absolutely [had] to do something for Black History Month,” says Williams. “I floated the idea and said ‘what a perfect first event for this DEI Committee to be a part of and a great way to sort of introduce the committee’.”

The event gave Black entrepreneurs the chance to be supported in one space – including one-minute video submissions of Black business owners from Durham, one from Tait.

“The reasoning behind showing these videos during the event as we wanted to celebrate Black-owned businesses,” says Williams.

Natalie Prychitko, Chief Executive Officer of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce.
Natalie Prychitko, chief executive officer of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce. Photo credit: Courtesy of Natalie Prychitko

“The business videos were submitted from different businesses so we could learn about them,” says Natalie Prychitko, chief executive officer of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce.

According to Williams, the goal for the event was to focus on business owners and categories with which the public may not be familiar.

Businesses that participated in the event ranged from event planning and development to health and wellness.

“People are doing really wonderful and creative things out there that I think you know the general public should know about,” says Williams.

“It’s just fascinating the submissions we’ve received,” Prychitko adds.

The event also included Black entrepreneurs as keynote speakers and inclusion panels for Black-owned businesses.

Although unable to network in person at the moment, Tait still feels she is supported by the community.

“I get lots of support from the people that I network, and they’ll send business to me,” says Tait.

Although Tait hasn’t reached her goal of having her businesses become household names, she would like to see a hybrid approach for networking continue post-pandemic.

“What has held me back from going to [in-person] events is time and just travels, by the time I travel there, it’s going to be over,” says Tait.

“[Now] we’re all online. It’s like, OK, well, I can make this one.”