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9-year-old Regina juice producer plans to own her own restaurant

Saskatchewan’s Bright and Dark Future: Na’illah Grant

While other nine-year-olds have priorities like figuring out which cartoon they want to watch after school or choosing between apple or orange juice, nine-year-old Na’illah Grant has her sights set on more pressing issues.

Over the summer while at camp, she started her own juice business. The Grade 4 student from Regina was inspired by helping her dad make juice at home when she was younger.

“I was very young, I think I was probably two or something,” she said. “My dad and I were in the kitchen and I was giving him the carrots to make the juice. I helped blend it.”

Nine-year-old Na’ilah Grant hopes to one day run her own restaurant. (Submitted by Na’illah Grant)

Originally called True Juice, Grant decided to rename the brand after returning from camp.

The new Starbird Juice brand has had a slow start to the year so far, as Grant has had to focus more on schoolwork. However, she is already planning to start taking on customers again and is eyeing a future beyond juicing.

“I will probably open a restaurant,” she said.

Grant said she thinks juicing is a good way to start working for a restaurant.

“To be honest, my favorite thing about the juice business is serving it,” Grant said.

Grant fell in love with juicing as a toddler when her father showed her how to do it. (Submitted by Na’illah Grant)

The Canhari summer program that inspired Grant to start the business has done the same for many other black kids over the years by creating an event that has inspired kids to find something they love to do.

One of the program coordinators, Obianuju Juliet Bushi, said the program provides unique opportunities for black teens and youth to focus on developing professional and business skills.

“Black youth and teens are creative, smart and brave,” Bushi said. “They just need someone to encourage them to develop their talents and although we are operating with limited resources, the community support of parents and our elders has been our driving force.”

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of.

(Radio Canada)