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Entrepreneurial Newcomers

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to have meetings with two relative newcomers to Canada and the Ottawa area.

In speaking with them I reflected on their stories of immigration, business, and how they’ve made, or are making, an impact on the community through their endeavors.

A couple of salient features of their stories resonated with me:

  1. Canada is a very stable country that holds great attraction for immigration from abroad. Public safety, education, banking, to name a few domains, are second to none.
  2. Raising a family is a main driver for people to come to Canada.
  3. Communication can be difficult for newcomers to adjust to. Canada, like anywhere else has its own nuanced norms and ways of speaking, verbally or otherwise. This can take time to learn.
  4. Not all communities are open about helping members adjust — in others words, some groups of newcomers benefit from community help; some do not.
  5. From a business perspective, it is possible to reinvent oneself in Canada. A tech person can start a retail business, for example. Or someone with a certain skill set can leverage this to grow into another area of knowledge and work, perhaps un-imagined before coming to Canada.
  6. Though not necessarily the most obvious benefit to being in Canada, so long as ‘the bills’ are paid, to paraphrase one of the people I spoke with, relative anonymity is more or less assured. Put another way, even in smaller communities like Ottawa, most of the time, people are unaware of each others affairs.
  7. On a somewhat humors note, in both cases, the weather was not a major concern.

The most interesting aspect of speaking with the two individuals was how much they wish to give back to their new home. In both cases, making a positive impact is paramount in what they’re doing work wise. This is not to imply that their motives are solely social. Rather, it is simply that they appreciate where they are geographically located and wish to contribute their labors to the community in an good way.

 


Matthew Healy
Matthew Healy

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