Kafia Barkat (She/Her) is the photographer and Co-Creator of the Melanin Project www.themelaninproject.ca.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Kafia is a passionate individual with the drive and commitment to elevate the voices of the Ottawa-Gatineau Black community.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
To me, entrepreneurship means being brave enough to share your ideas with the world around you. It means being comfortable enough to take your space in the areas where you feel you have something to contribute. In my opinion, you are an entrepreneur when you realize that whatever you create in life, it will fill a need where there is a gap and it might simply be a gap in your own life which is often shared with others. I learned that it’s one thing being excited about an idea and it’s an entirely different thing to actually bring that idea to life. I think entrepreneurship requires confidence and if you are lucky, a lot of it can come from the encouragement of those close to you.
How are you entrepreneurial?
As a black, Muslim woman, I am entrepreneurial because I am comfortable enough to take space. I did not study photography, I graduated from the University of Ottawa in biomedical science. I did not work in photography, my career journey led me to technology as a business analyst consultant and now I work as a project officer. Photography is a passion where I did not see a place for me because, I didn’t see many black, Muslim women in it so, I didn’t even consider turning my passion into profit. In 2018, I launched my photography business www.kafiasomeday.com with the support of friends who made me realize that I could actually earn work from doing something I love.
Last year, I decided to elevate my photography game and with the support of my co-creators, we launched the Melanin Project in the hopes of increasing the representation of black people in this city who aren’t afraid to take their space and do what they love.
How does an entrepreneurial mindset contribute to your life?
At some point in my life, I felt like I was meant to do something bigger. Something more meaningful and that I truly love. The entrepreneurial mindset gave me the drive to start “doing” and stop doubting myself. My parents blessed me with an incredible opportunity to succeed in this country I call home but, I know that it is my responsibility to act when I see an opportunity and turn it into success. I don’t believe you can succeed alone but, accountability is my biggest drive because no one will do the work and succeed for you.
*This feature was published as a part of the Faces of Entrepreneurship Campaign, 2021.