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Forerunner Fridays: Highlighting Achievements of Black Canadian Pioneers & The Next Gen In STEM & VC

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honour the unique achievements of Black pioneers, innovators and torchbearers in Canada and across the globe.


As the first Canadian institutionally-backed Black-led venture capital firm, BKR Capital aims to encourage and empower our community, and by both looking to the past, to the present and into the future, we’ve found ourselves equally inspired by the work of other trailblazing Black Canadians, particularly in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and venture capital.


We like to think of them as forerunners. People who lead and have had (or will have) a lasting impact on the world. That is why we titled this 3-part series Forerunner Friday.

 

Our first post focuses on inspiring Black Canadians who have made STEM history. Read on to find out about Alan Emtage, William Peyton Hubbard, and Dr. Donald Holness.


Alan Emtage – Computer Scientist


Alan Emtage  – Computer Scientist

(Photo courtesy of the Internet Hall of Fame)


Barbados-born Canadian computer scientist who created and implemented one of the world’s first public internet search engines, Archie, in 1989. His work laid the foundation for and provided the principals from which modern search engines, like Google, are still built on today. Emtage attended McGill University in Montreal for both his undergrad and post-grad degrees, living in the city from 1983 to 1997.


Further Reading:


https://mcgillnews.mcgill.ca/s/1762/news/interior.aspx?sid=1762&gid=2&pgid=1768

 

William Peyton Hubbard – Inventor & Politician (1842 – 1935)


William Peyton Hubbard – Inventor & Politician

(Photo courtesy of Heritage Toronto via The Canadian Encyclopedia)


A Toronto-born investor and politician who invented and patented a globally popular commercial baker’s oven, the Hubbard Portable. Also cited as one of the first Canadians of African descent to be elected to office, he helped establish the first publicly-owned hydroelectric company in Ontario, as well as co-founding what is now known as Toronto Hydro at the municipal level.


Further Reading:


https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/william-peyton-hubbard

 

Dr. Donald Holness – Defence Scientist (1937 – 2018)


Dr. Donald Holness – Defence Scientist

(Photo courtesy of Black In Canada)


Dr. Donald Holness was a Defence Scientist who most prominently worked for the Department of National Defence’s Research & Development Branch in Ottawa, ON. Born in Jamaica and educated at both McGill and Western University, his scientific research in the fields of diving and aerospace medicine led to the development of improved technologies for use by the Canadian military, particularly for divers and pilots of high-performance aircrafts.


Further Reading:


http://www.blackincanada.com/2010/12/29/donald-holness/