Montreal entrepreneur and talk show host promotes black businesses – Montreal
Keithy Antoine is the founder and co-owner of Espace Urbain, a store in the plaza St-Hubert based on the cooperative concept.
“But it’s one of the things I do,” she said, pointing to a long list of projects she’s been involved in.
“I am also the founder and director of the organization Union Urbain,” which she says is partly responsible for organizing the annual Afro Urbain festival that celebrates the cultures and arts of people of African descent.
Antoine is also an artist, TV presenter and DJ.
Her goal with all these projects, underlined the single mother of two children, is to give more visibility to Afro-descendants.
“To be where you don’t expect,” she said.
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She believes that black businesses, cultures, artists and professionals need more visibility and support to help them succeed.
Ceendy Mostova, her business partner, agrees, saying ignorance is a huge barrier and more needs to be done to normalize black cultures and businesses.
“To overcome stereotypes, misunderstandings and for people to get to know each other,” she noted.
This is one of the functions that the store fulfills, according to the two women.
It is a shared space where different entrepreneurs rent a section to market and sell their products.
“We have over 100 different people in Montreal selling their wares in the store,” Mostova said.
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It’s also a coworking boutique where entrepreneurs can meet clients, have meetings, and network — the kind of mutual support those who use the space say they need.
“It’s extremely important because we exchange information as professionals, as artists, as project managers, and it’s also a place that promotes businesses,” said Oumalker Idil Kalif, a chef. project that uses the space for its work.
Still, Antoine is heartened by what she believes is a shift in public opinion toward black businesses and cultures, saying people are demanding change.
“You can slow down evolution or revolution, but you can’t stop it,” she said.
“So I guess that’s what we’re seeing.”
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