Community Conversations: Building Back Better BIPOC Small Businesses

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association’s fourth and final spring Community Conversation. We will be focusing on BIPOC small businesses . This is a continuation of a series that started last year. We have had prior conversations around education, environmentalism, and houselessness.

We will be discussing BIPOC small businesses and the difficulties they may face within our communities. We’ll dive deeper into the barriers that these business owners face from all aspects and how we as individuals can become more educated and support them. We hope that everyone tonight will be able to listen and learn valuable knowledge that can help ensure the BIPOC community is supported.

Our guest speaker Nerissa Allen, is the founder and president of the Black Business Association of BC, a non-profit organization supporting black businesses and entrepreneurs through a variety of resources

As the director of Chattel House Health and Beauty here in Surrey, she has spent the majority of her career in leadership roles, redefining how women of colour are perceived in the workplace. Nerissa has garnered valuable experience from all business levels and is excited to share this wealth of knowledge gained to support other entrepreneurs.

This evening will educate us on how each one of us can impact small BIPOC owned businesses within our communities.

Register your spot on Eventbrite (free!) now. Click here to register

Community Conversation: Food Security for Marginalized People During COVID

Date: March 24th, 2021

Time: 6:30pm- 8pm over Zoom

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association’s third Community Conversation will be focusing on how marginalized communities have been affected by the pandemic in terms of food security. This is a continuation of a series that started last year. We have had prior conversations around education, environmentalism, and houselessness.

As many of us have experienced a lack of resources, such as toilet paper, baking goods and even bottled water at the height of the pandemic, this is actually a common occurrence for many communities outside of major cities. While we are so privileged to live in an area that regularly has easy access to goods, marginalized people may not have that same access to traditional foods or spices, as many products were not being imported in from overseas. Our guest speaker Annita, who is the Executive Director of CPAWS-BC, will educate us on the ideas around food justice and how we as individuals can impact the systems around the ideas of food justice.

She is the first Indigenous person to lead a Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society chapter, and brings with her a wealth of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Social Work, served three terms as the President of the Tahltan Central Council, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her vision and leadership. Annita was instrumental in the fight to save the Sacred Headwaters in Tahltan Territory, and was honoured with the Leadership Award from Ecotrust for her work.

Caring for lands and waters has always been Annita’s priority. As a Tahltan woman, growing up on Tahltan and Stikine lands, she was always reminded that Indigenous Peoples in Canada have been stewarding lands since time immemorial. Through CPAWS-BC, Annita is bringing forward these teachings and strengthening collaboration between Indigenous Peoples, conservation groups and governments to secure clean air, water, and nutritious food now and forever.

Annita brings a variety of Indigenous foods, culture and humour every Tuesday to Facebook with her live cooking show, “Cooking with Annita”.

Click here to learn more about CPAWS-BC.

 Register your spot on Eventbrite (free!) now. Click here to register

Community Conversations: Inclusive Classrooms for BIPOC Students

 Date: March 10th, 2021

Time: 6:30pm- 8pm over Zoom

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association’s second Community Conversation of the year will be focusing on ways to better engage with Black, Indigenous and Students of Colour.

For this week’s conversation, we will be doing a deep dive into the ways in which educational institutions can improve upon the accessibility within classrooms, as well as how educators can ensure their spaces are both welcoming, safe and inclusive. Our guest speaker Othniel Spence will be presenting on the current barriers that are within educational institutions that these communities face. Additionally, we will take a look at how places are moving toward creating more welcoming and safe spaces for their students. We will also take a look at how individually we can impact educational systems in order to improve them. Register your spot on Eventbrite (free!) now. Click here to register

Click on Surrey


After a successful Fall 2020, the DSBIA will continue to run the “Click on Surrey” project this winter. For those who don’t know, “Click on Surrey” is a student-intern-led marketing initiative designed to help small businesses in the Downtown Surrey area transition online and implement modern marketing techniques. From website development, social media management, graphic design and other marketing services, this program has a lot to offer local businesses. On top of that, these services are completely free and can be tailored to the needs of each business.

Last year, the Click on Surrey team worked with 14 small businesses and were able to achieve some amazing results. Not only was the team able to support with creating websites and growing businesses’ social media presence, they also assisted in improving signage, business cards, reaching out to suppliers, and providing general business advice.

“One of our most successful clients, who was averaging less than $25 a day before our support, had an impressive increase in revenue of up to $200 a day after we had implemented Google and Facebook ads and helped improve the outside store sign,” said Sophia Sato, the Marketing and Social media intern from Fall 2020.

The business owners who were a part of the “Click on Surrey” initiative also had a lot of positive things to say about the support they received. For instance, Janice Davis, the owner of Royals Beauty Supply had this to say: “I just wanted to say a big thank you to the DSBIA and the Click on Surrey team for reaching out to me in a difficult time like this. They did not stop until I was happy with their work and most importantly they were willing to go through the fight with me.”

This winter, the new interns, Aidan Bain (Marketing), Siobhan Denny (Social Media and Special Events), Rebeka Roga (Communications), Tiffany Wong (Graphic Design and Social Media), and returning intern, Priyanka Krishna (Community Engagement) are excited to build upon the previous team’s progress. They are currently in the process of not only supporting the past year’s businesses but recruiting new local businesses as well.

For details on how to become a part of the program, visit, email or call 604-580-2321.

Community Conversations: Mental Health within the BIPOC Community During Covid


Date: February 24th, 2021

Time: 6:30pm- 8pm over Zoom

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association is happy to welcome back our Spring Community Conversations. The first conversation to bring in the new year is the idea of mental health within the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities. This is a continuation of a series that started last year. We have had prior conversations around education, environmentalism, and houselessness.

For this week’s conversation, we welcome our guest speaker Hussein Elhagehassan who will be presenting on the current barriers around mental health that these communities face.

Register your spot on Eventbrite (free!) now. 

Click here to register 

Gingerbread Village 2020 Winners

The Downtown Surrey BIA is pleased to announce that Gingerbread Village that took place at Central City from December 5-13 raised $2670.00 for the Surrey Christmas Bureau..

The winning entries are:


People’s Choice Award

KB Woodward Elementary School

Runner-up: Hughes Family



1st Place:  John Volken Academy

2nd Place:  Young Families Program

3rd Place: Community Living


Elementary School

1st Place: KB Woodward Elementary

2nd Place: David Brankin Elementary School


Secondary School

1st Place: Surrey Schools Foundation Youth Program


Post Secondary School

1st Place: Anju & Karin


Open A (adults)

1st Place: Veronica’s Team

2nd Place: Savannah

3rd Place: Amber

4th Place: Hughes Family


Open B (teens)

1st Place: Samantha

2nd Place: Ian


Open C (children)

1st Place: Charlene and Cassidy

2nd Place: Holden and Ellie


Pictures of the Gingerbread creations are available here

Gingerbread Village 2020

This holiday season the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association presents Gingerbread Village for the fourth year in a row. Come visit Central City Shopping Centre from December 5th to December 13th to appreciate the wonderful gingerbread creations people in the community have made, and vote for your favourite one by donating to the Surrey Christmas Bureau!

Each gingerbread creation will be different, so take the time to appreciate the details and hard work our participants have put into their festive creations. As you take a look around the Gingerbread Village, you will also enjoy the delicious and warm scent of cinnamon and nutmeg surrounding the display.

When you vote for your favourite gingerbread creation you will also be donating money to charity. Each dollar given to a gingerbread creation will be counted as a vote and donated to the Surrey Christmas Bureau. The Surrey Christmas Bureau will be donating toys, stocking stuffers and groceries to over 2000 low-income families this holiday season. So, not only will you have the pleasure to admire and vote for your favourite gingerbread creation, but your vote will be going towards helping families in our community.

We will also be holding two different giveaways for people that come out and vote! When you vote and donate online, you will be automatically entered to win one of two $250 gift cards to Central City Shopping Centre. And remember when we said to pay attention to details? We will be asking three questions related to the gingerbread display. Those who answer correctly could win one of three $50 gift cards!  That’s a lot of money that could be used on holiday shopping or to treat yourself, so be sure to visit our display and join in on a fun holiday festivity!  

Location: Central City Shopping Centre

Date: Dec. 5 – Dec. 13, 2020

Time: 11pm – 6pm

Community Conversations: Amplifying Bravery & Strength within Indigenous Communities

Date: Thursday, November 19, 2020

Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm

Where: Zoom

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association wraps up this year’s Community Conversations series by shining light on the bravery and strength of Surrey’s Indigenous communities. With guest speakers from the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee’s Skookum Lab, Community Conversations aims to inform community members on how methods of Indigenous Social Innovation have lead to the closing of gaps and societal inequalities. And above all, how Indigenous Social Innovation methods empower Indigenous youth and persons by making their lived experiences visible. What barriers do Indigenous persons and youth commonly face today? What does it mean to be an Indigenous person living through the COVID-19 pandemic? What are some tangible steps that communities can do to support Indigenous populations? Join us on Thursday, November. 19th from 7:00pm-8:30pm to learn how you can support the empowerment of Surrey’s Indigenous communities. Register FOR FREE today!

Click here for EventBrite link.

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association is excited to have Skookum Lab Ambassadors, Megan Rosso and Krystal Dumais-Ziprick, as our Community Conversations guest speakers. Megan Rosso is a Carrier Sekani woman from the Lake Babine Nation, in Northern interior of British Columbia. She comes from the house of the firekeepers and belongs to the Caribou clan. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communication studies with Simon Fraser University. Megan has experience supporting indigenous communities for over 10 years in a variety of roles. She often utilizes her own array of experiences to engage actively within the indigenous communities that surround her. Megan’s previous community support initiatives have exemplified her dedication and commitment to assisting and encouraging her community members. She is currently working as an Employment Advisor with Aboriginal Community Careers Employment Services Society (ACCESS) and is an Ambassador with Skookum Labs in Surrey.

Krystal Dumais- Ziprick is Plains Cree from the Treaty 6 Nation in Saskatchewan. She is a small business owner and hairstylist in Surrey, B.C. for Simply Style Mobile Hair Design. She travels across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island where she does mobile hairdressing for families, group parties, event styling, clients with special needs, children with behavioural and special designations. She graduated from Surrey College Hairdressing Program, The Pics Best Program, the Ch’nook Aboriginal Management Program at the Sauder School of Business, and Community Leaders Igniting Change program at the Beedie School of Business at SFU. Krystal is also the PAC co-President for Kwantlen Park Secondary and Vice President of the PAC for KB Woodward Elementary School. Krystal is a Skookum Lab ambassador and has been a part of Skookum Lab since the beginning. She likes being a part of like-minded and strong Indigenous ambassadors that help with Skookum Lab and SUILC with their methodologies of addressing and tackling Indigenous Youth in Poverty. She enjoys presenting on behalf of Skookum Lab and has developed the skills to do so thanks to the leadership education she has received since joining. She has made some great friends and enjoys beading and making ribbon skirts with some of the different groups Skookum Lab have going on.

For more information about Skookum Lab, go to

Christmas Craft Bag Event

This month The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association will be handing out FREE Craft Bags for the City of Surrey Tree Lighting Festival at Central City Shopping Centre.

Each bag will include 4 crafts. You can also colour the bag & use it as a gift bag!

Location: Central City Shopping Centre

Date: November 13, 2020

Time: 1:00pm – 8:00pm

Community Conversations: COVID-19 and the Accessibility of Education for BIPOC & LGBTQ2s+ Youth

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association brings you another pressing topic that affects our current daily lives in the age of COVID-19. Especially for youth within vulnerable communities. Our upcoming Community Conversations event encourages participants to question whether our education system is doing enough to fulfill the accessibility needs of BIPOC and LGBTQ2s+ youth. How has COVID-19 altered educational support systems for BIPOC and LGBTQ2s+ youth? What kind of gaps are present in our education system that have not been addressed yet? How can communities continue to be supportive networks for youth within vulnerable communities? Join us on Thursday, November. 5th from 7:00pm-8:30pm to learn how you can be a supportive accomplice within our community. Register FOR FREE today on EventBrite: 

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association is honoured to have Annie Ohana as our guest speaker. Annie Ohana is an Anti-Oppression Teacher-Activist and Curriculum Specialist with a Masters in Equity Studies. She works from the local to international level with a variety of orgs on curriculum, initiatives, and pedagogy to bring forward intersectional, equitable, accessible education opportunities focused on empowerment, Justice, and liberation. Throughout her work in educating communities on anti-oppression, Annie is one who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action” (Annie Ohana, 2020). Annie is a force to be reckoned with, and we cannot wait for you to meet her!

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