In-TAC’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Corner 2015

The OCCSC’s International Talent Acquisition Centre held its first Immigrant Entrepreneur Corner 2015, an alternative career event, on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at the RA Centre.

In-TAC’s goal was to bring together business development resources from the Ottawa/Gatineau area, established immigrant entrepreneurs who have successfully started their own companies in Canada, and newcomer professional interested in starting their own businesses.

Over 60 aspiring entrepreneurs eagerly listened to the informative panel presentations offered. The first panel featured local business development resource providers who presented the services they offer and explained how they help new entrepreneurs develop their business ideas. Speakers included; Dr. Tony Bailetti, Director of the Technology, Innovation, Management Program of Carleton University and great champion of entrepreneurs, who has helped to launch over 250 ICT companies in the Ottawa area since 1998; Peter Stewart of Invest Ottawa; Jill Hawken, Business Librarian at the OPL’s Business Centre; Christine Racine of the OCLF; Pamela Eastwood, Director of the YMCA YWCA’s Enterprise Centre; and Edith Duarte, Case Manager with the Business Development Bank of Canada.

The second panel consisted of four moving testimonials of inspiring immigrant entrepreneurs who have successfully established local and global businesses in the Ottawa area. Panelist included Mustapha Amraoui, founder of InterCultural Intelligence Inc., Dr. Linda Manning, Intercultural Economist and founder of Leadership Mosaic Inc., Julia Chen, former President and CEO of AM&M Advanced Machine and Materials Inc. and recipient of the City of Ottawa’s 2013 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award and Ottawa’s top 40 under 40, and Dr. Jonathan Sowah, President and CEO of AstraQom International, one of Canada’s fastest growing telecom operators and business VoIP providers. All four presenters shared their compelling journeys of entrepreneurship and offered the audience great advice on starting a business in Canada.

There were also 15 booths of exhibitors who showcased their programs and resources, and were open to answering aspiring entrepreneurs’ questions. There was plenty of time for networking before, between, and after the presentations.

When asked whether visitors would recommend the IEC event to others, one participant responded: “Yes, because the event was highly relevant, it provided direct and immediate assistance, and provided actual and moral support.”

Canada needs the drive and passion that newcomers bring to help grow our economy. In-TAC’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Corner 2015 demonstrated that newcomers are eager to access more information on entrepreneurship as a viable alternative career option.