Blast off for BeBlended

Friday, August 30, 2019
by Grace McKinnon

For many black women, simply walking into a hair salon to get their hair done is not an option. This was the experience that Aileen Agada had in Ottawa while away on a co-op term. It turned out, she had to ask community members where they got their hair done and the same response always happened, “a friend of a friend, of a sister in their basement.” 

It was clear, she was not alone and needed to do something to solve this social issue. From this, Aileen founded BeBlended, an online platform that connects black women to hairstylists, beauty resources and networking opportunities. As a part of GreenHouse’s Innovators in Residence Program, Aileen received mentorship, coaching and support for BeBlended, and was a recipient of the Social Impact Fund in July, 2019. 

I am grateful for the practical advice and resources Greenhouse provided me with. Because of them, I was able to further explore my passion for helping black women while expanding BeBlended’s vision.

Taking her previous experiences and the network of black women through BeBlended, Aileen saw the need to launch BeBlended’s first social event, held on August 24th. Members of the BeBlended community came together as a networking and mentorship opportunity to hear from 3 inspirational speakers. 

Aileen noted that the social “created a space for young black women in the community to come together to learn, socialize, and establish strong personal and professional relationships.”

Attendees also received a special lunch, prepared by a professional chef on site. This allowed speakers and attendees to have networking conversations over lunch. The event was a huge success, with many anxiously waiting for the announcement of the next social. Way to go Aileen!

Moving forward, Aileen is focusing on further developing BeBlended’s platform full time while on co-op. She will also continue to grow BeBlended’s online community, and apply for more funding opportunities to help officially launch the online platform. 

attendees at the event
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