Jodi-Ann Cambpell wants to see Black businesses thrive; she has built a business and a platform that supports this ambition. In 2019 she founded Malcolm’s Choice; a resource directory that connects Black-owned businesses with consumers in Canada.
She believes that the way Black communities can begin to see systemic change is with stronger, more thriving businesses that have the financial power to impact community decisions.
“With everything going on, including the latest Breonna Taylor verdict, a lot of us are becoming more aware of the necessity to have our own systems…Once we have businesses that are thriving, then we have the capital we need to influence more politics and the legal systems more broadly,” she said.
The recognition of the challenges of Black life led to an uptick in people looking to her platform in support of Black business.
“There was definitely increased traffic in the summer… I’m not sure though if it’s a trend or a new reality yet,” she stated cautiously.
As she moves through the moment, she finds herself somewhat discomforted and overwhelmed by the uncertainty. At the same time, she finds herself confident and hopeful for a better world coming on the other side.
“Positive change can often occur after times of extreme change and transformation.. It feels like a lot of negativity and death right now, but it’s really just change happening.. I think it is important to stay positive and remember the Harlem Renaissance and Black Wall Street happened because Black people came together and made positive changes for themselves,” she said.
Her vision is to see Black businesses in Canada become household names just like Calendly and Fenty. She shared her philosophy around taking the time to swap out products with which we’re familiar, for Black owned products that are of equal quality.
“It’s about knowing what’s out there, many people don’t think they have any other options but that’s not true…it’s about making those small adjustments, swapping your MAC for a Paba product…these are the ways that each of us can do our part, even as individuals..it takes time,” she said.
Above all, Campbell intends to dismantle the belief that Black businesses can’t be trusted or are of less value. She aims to create a space that houses and showcases all that Black business in Canada have to offer.
“I think people are really quick to write-off a small black business when they’re not happy with the service, and tear them down publicly…But say Tim Hortons or McDonalds completely messes up their order, they quietly eat their cold nuggets,” she said.
Campbell wants to be part of the paradigm shift that sees Black business compete and thrive in the mass market and become key players on a national scale. Having created a hub for some of the best Black business in the province, she feels well on her way.