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16.04.2005 Diaspora (Canada)

Asante of Toronto Wins Harry Jerome Award

By Toronto Sun

AWARDS RECOGNIZE OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUALS THE HARRY JEROME Award recipients all have one thing in common -- they didn't quit. The Black Business and Professional Association is honouring 13 outstanding individuals this evening at the annual awards named after the sprinter who became one of the greatest Canadian athletes.

- As the only black owner of an employment agency in Ontario, many companies shut their doors on Kabu Asante, 43, when he tried to solicit their business.

Their rejection only fuelled his determination to succeed. Honoured in the business excellence category, Asante says the award has strengthened his resolve to help African Canadians, especially immigrants who are turned down by employers because of a lack of Canadian experience.

'PEOPLE RELY ON US'

"I gain strength from the fact that a lot of people rely on us to put food on their table," said Asante, who now calls Brampton home.

He came to Canada from Ghana in West Africa in 1986. After banks refused to give him a loan, he and his wife dug into their meagre savings to start their business.

The company now has an annual turnover of $5 million and a staff of more than 300.

"There's nothing a person cannot achieve, if one puts their heart and mind to it,"Asante said.

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