ByBlacks.com spoke with Shereen Ashman, Entrepreneurship Programs Coordinator at Community Empowering Events (CEE), about the upcoming event Signature Style, to talk about the work the organization is doing in the GTA.
How did this event come about?
In my position as the Entrepreneurship Programs Coordinator at CEE, a part of my role is to develop and host professional development events aimed at young entrepreneurs, ages 18-29, from priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. The subject matter of these events is determined by the clients we serve, acquired through conducting focus groups, feedback discussion and/or surveys.
Brand development was one of the subject matters identified by our clients. In response, this past February, CEE hosted the Branded Conference in partnership with community agencies in the Jane and Finch community. Approximately 100 young professionals attended the conference and voiced a desire for CEE to host smaller events, which would lead up to the annual CEE conference. This was the genesis of CEE’s Event Series. Thus far, we have hosted a Link & Learn Trip to a music industry event called I AM MUSIC T.O; The Beauty of Business Brunch and Grooming Businessmen– the latter two hosted in partnership with JVS Toronto.
Signature Style is the final CEE Event before the launch of our new entrepreneurship program called Company Challenge. Signature Style is a free workshop that focuses on personal brand development. Participants will have the opportunity to spend focused time developing 3 elements, in 3 hours with the support of over 3 experts.
Is this the first time you're doing it?
Yes, it is the first time that we are hosting a Signature Style. However, the response from the community and from our client base, in particular, has been positive. We have received reservations from participants from a number of priority neighbourhoods. As it stands, we are near capacity for the event; only 10 spots remain available.
Great concept. Do you plan to do these events across the GTA?
We plan to continue holding events in different neighborhoods in Toronto, at the moment our funding is specifically for the city of Toronto, not the wider GTA. Currently, we are in the process of organizing the first Startup Shop Conference for the summer of 2014.
Is the event open to all races? I see that the flyer says "priority for Black Entrepreneurs".
Events and programs developed under CEE are mandated to focus on young black Canadian professionals ages 18-29 who reside in priority neighborhoods. Priority is determined accordingly. However, the event and all of our services are open to individuals of all backgrounds.
Follow the event updates on Twitter @cee_toronto