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Q&A with a Visionary: Exploring the Intersection of Art, Technology, and Impact with Jean-Yves Roux

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey with NATYF TV? For example, where did your passion for media, production and television come from, where did the idea of NATYF TV originate from, etc.)

A: I was born and raised in Montreal, in a poor area named St-Michel. At the age of 16, I wrote and directed my first independent project: a 30-minute drama short film about a young Black teenager navigating his way through gang violence in his neighbourhood. We distributed several copies of it in all community centers in St-Michel and Montreal-North, and it became popular. After this first experience, I knew that my future was written, and someday, this would be my life.

During the first decade of the 2000s, I worked as a corporate advertising video producer, collaborating with many artists and content creators. They frequently complained about the lack of opportunities in the media industry here in Quebec. This was a problem I was keenly aware of, and at some point, I told myself that enough was enough; something needed to change. To me, the ultimate solution was obvious: to control the narrative, we must own a TV station. So, it wasn’t just a dream of mine; it was an undeniable need to help my community. This issue needed to be addressed once and for all. It became a mission to accomplish, whatever the sacrifice; it became a life purpose I was finally ready to embrace.

Q: How did NATYF TV get its start?

A: So, in 2011, we applied for a specialty TV license that the CRTC approved a year later. While my partners and I were developing our business plan, it took over 5 years just to secure our first carriage agreement with a national carrier: Bell. Then, after another full year of preparation, on June 14, 2018, Natyf TV was born. 

Q: When you first came up with the idea, what were some of the larger challenges you


A: Basically, two things: accumulate enough funds to start the business and secure a cable carrier to put the TV channel on-air. You could have a million bucks in your bank account, but without carriage, the money you spend will be a total waste. Even if you decide to launch a media exclusively on the web, it’s almost impossible to monetize it. Why? Because your competition is YouTube and META (FB & Instagram), and they’re monopolizing all the advertising revenue on the web. So the only possible way as a new media to start is to be part of the broadcasting ecosystem—well, as long as it’s still there, because we don’t know how long it will last. Probably between 5 to 10 years at most before the streaming business completely takes over. My prophecy: in a decade from now, broadcasting will be a thing of the past.

Q: Can you share some insight or tips on how you were able to overcome those


A: First things first, you better believe in yourself. Spirituality is also another powerful weapon to deal with adversity. Discipline and focus are non-negotiable. Make sure to surround yourself with people who have skills and knowledge you don’t possess but definitely need. Also, be open to criticism from people you trust and who want you to succeed.

Q: As a FACE loan recipient, what was your experience with FACE like? (How did they

support you?)

A: When I first heard about FACE in 2021, I wasn’t quite sure if the people in charge of this program would understand our vision and the importance of having a TV channel owned by members of our community. Other funding opportunities for racialized entrepreneurs that we tried to apply for didn’t believe we could achieve something like this without ‘established white corporate media figures’ involved in our business. However, the fact that FACE wants to uplift black-owned businesses by allowing us to maintain 100% control of our company with no strings attached makes all the difference.

Q: If there was any advice you could share with like-minded individuals from the POC

community seeking to maintain a successful business, what would it be?

A: To be perfectly honest, ‘this game is not for the weak.’ It takes a lot of guts and sacrifices that most people don’t have the capacity to deal with. So, if you want to succeed as a business owner, ensure that you are passionate about what you involve yourself in. That is what separates those who will fail from those who will be victorious, especially when adversity comes knocking at your door.

1 Comment

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    Posted October 25, 2023 at 4:36 am

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Rob G.C. Sobey

Board Member

Rob G.C. Sobey is a corporate director. Mr. Sobey was the President & Chief Executive Officer of Lawton’s Drug Stores Limited from 2006 until his retirement in 2014 after 25 years with Sobeys. He serves as a director of SeaFort Capital and the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mr. Sobey is Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation, a member of the Queen’s Smith School of Business Advisory Board and serves on several foundation and not-for-profit boards. For his work as an Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Army, Mr. Sobey received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He holds an undergraduate from Queen’s University, a Master of Business Administration from Babson College, and the ICD.D designation.

Denburk Reid

Board Member

Denburk Reid is the founder of Montreal Community Care Foundation (MCCF). Its mission is to empower youth by developing their leadership skills by using programs, workshops, and events, and by building bridges between communities. As the founder of MCCF, he beliefs that the youth hold the key to Montreal’s future and over the past eight (8) years, its programs have helped hundreds of Montreal youth stay on track, perform community services as well as set and achieve academic and life goals. The organization seeks to empower youth to become engaged citizens and leaders in their homes, schools, and communities. For the past five (5) years, MCCF celebrates and promotes community engagement across Montreal through the Montreal Community Cares Awards.

Along with his role as the founder of MCCF, Mr. Reid is the Founder of Red Rush Basketball & Red Rush Basketball Leadership. He has a passion for empowering youth and meeting them where they are lends to a successful outcome.

Abdikhier Ahmed​

Board Member

Mr. Ahmed is a recognized community leader in the non-profit sector with specializations in immigration and refugee resettlement, poverty reduction, and community empowerment. A dynamic, highly motivated individual with extensive experience in program development and delivery, providing strategic visioning and leadership. Over 10 years’ experience managing programs for non-profit organizations and working with communities and people from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds both locally as well as internationally. Fluently multi-lingual: speaks and writes English, Swahili, Somali and basic Arabic. This experience help guide Mr. Ahmed when he was in the role of Director of Policy at the Office of Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Mr. Ahmed is currently the Executive Director of Aurora Family Therapy Centre. Aurora is a progressive, non-profit family therapy centre that offers family therapy on a sliding scale; sees clients through services funded by Manitoba Department of Families and Department of Justice; provides community building groups for Newcomers to Canada; hosts a Psycho-Social Settlement Needs Assessment program for incoming refugees; provides summer youth programming for many newcomer communities; supports its own staff and other agencies through vicarious trauma and resilience programming; develops supportive relationships with community partners, and engages in advocacy for accessible community-based therapy services for all. Aurora is in the process of becoming a Centre of Excellence in providing cross cultural therapy from a systemic lens with a special focus on psychological trauma & recovery and community development.