Inaugural Event Honours Newcomers

Recognizes and supports new Canadians’ business efforts

It was an impressive group of business leaders and immigrant entrepreneurs who came together to celebrate the inaugural Most Promising Immigrant Entrepreneur Award winners of Connect Legal.

Paul Sy, senior manager, client strategies, Royal Bank of Canada; Imtiaz Seyid, VP, South Asian and Middle East markets, Royal Bank of Canada; Amir Tehrani, head, client strategies, Royal Bank of Canada.

Connect Legal, founded by lawyer Marion Annau, fosters entrepreneurship in the immigrant community by providing legal educational services and pro bono commercial legal assistance to low-resource immigrant entrepreneurs.

Stats about immigrants and new business show that despite on average being highly educated, immigrants have lower employment rates than native-born Canadians, which cause many to turn to selfemployment.

The Maytree and Metcalf Foundation Report of 2011 found that linguistic barriers, including lack of business, technical and legal vocabulary, prevent immigrants from starting businesses.

“Obtaining legal services is often a stressful and expensive undertaking, and Connect Legal provides assistance to immigrants who would not otherwise have the means to access those services,” said Jason

Kenney, minister of citizenship and immigration. “In doing so they are helping these new members of our society integrate and succeed, and in turn are contributing to Canada’s diversity and our growing prosperity.”

The winners at the event held in Toronto at RBC offices included Carolina Velez, Colombia-Exotic, importer of exotic fruits; Sanjay Pandrala, Bugman Pest Control Landscaping Services & Trading Company.

“I launched Connect Legal three years ago,” says Ms. Annau, “because Ontario is home to so many talented and hard-working immigrants, and their success is Canada’s success. We also have a legal community in Canada that is supporting our efforts by providing expert pro-bono advice to this group of entrepreneurs to help them achieve their goals.”

  • Sourced from: National Post / 18 May 2013