A Charlottetown company is working to support people who immigrate to P.E.I. by organizing inclusive events.
Overtime Entertainment began in 2015. The events and entertainment company is currently based in the Startup Zone in Charlottetown.
It consists of four African entrepreneurs who came to study at UPEI. They run their own events, manage other organization’s events and do social media marketing for other organizations.
Daniel Ohaegbu, the company’s director, moved here from Nigeria, and during his early years at UPEI, he and some friends would meet to discuss diversity on the Island.
International students can struggle when they first arrive here. For Ohaegbu, the Island wasn’t very welcoming, and some events around town didn’t accomodate international students.
He and some friends wanted a better support system for student immigrants.
“For us, it was trying to establish an environment that would be more inclusive, a community for not just international students, not just newcomers, for basically the world population of P.E.I.”
- Daniel Ohaegbu
“For us, it was trying to establish an environment that would be more inclusive,” he said, “a community for not just international students, not just newcomers, for basically the world population of P.E.I.”
So, they decided to stop talking about it and start acting on it, he said.
“No one did it for us, so we are trying to do it for other people.”
The company has since headlined events like WorldBeats, a dance party featuring music from around the globe, and the Masquerade Ball, a formal showcase for people in the creative industry. The events are well-attended by Islanders and the international community, he said.
The group has also held mental wellness campaigns at UPEI and worked with the Black Cultural Society of P.E.I. to run events for Black History Month 2019.
When they first started organizing events, low attendance was an issue, but Joshua Daniels, who is originally from Nigeria and does communications for Overtime, said that has changed as people realized what the company was trying to achieve.
Now, event turnout has improved because their brand is more recognized.
“We’ve come a long way from where we started.”
They’ve been receiving more support, which the entrepreneurs need to keep going. The company aims to provide a diverse networking system for people living and working on the Island,” said Daniels, “trying to get people from different aspects of life to meet up and interact, to share an experience together.”
However, one challenge the members of the team face is securing their permanent residence on P.E.I.
Jonah Chininga, the company’s finance marketer, said because they’re entrepreneurs, it’s proving harder for them to get their permanent residence.
“The only way you can get your permanent residence in P.E.I. right now is going through the workforce,” said Chininga, who moved here from Zimbabwe.
Their company is a full-time job, and they want to keep it going if they can. Having the government’s support would help them continue contributing to P.E.I.’s economy and international community, Ohaegbu said.
“That would be very, very helpful.”
They want to support P.E.I.’s immigrants in pursuing their goals. Overtime Entertainment is a platform to enable this, he said.