The next generation of young Canadians launching small businesses across the country are the future and backbone of our nation and our economy. We celebrated the diverse young entrepreneurs strengthening communities across the nation this Canada Day with the stories of five Futurpreneur-supported business owners from far and wide.

 


 

Nicola Robertson, Diamond Physiotherapy 

 

Nicola is a trained physiotherapist who moved to Canada from Scotland with her husband in 2008. The move opened the doors for Nicola to progress in her career, developing her expertise in orthopaedic and pelvic floor physiotherapy, and explore practices that prioritized an empathic approach over the conventional clinical setting.

 

In July 2017 Nicola became the founder and owner of Diamond Physiotherapy. Through her business, Nicola hopes to challenge and change the norms of clinical practice, instilling a focus on fostering meaningful relationships with her patients.

 

“I want Diamond Physiotherapy to be a place where patients can come and feel comfortable. I want to be able to build relationships outside of the clinic and with other practitioners, rather than being known just for what we’re good at.

 

I want people to see physiotherapy changing and I want to be part of that change where you get one-on-one care, whether that’s a 30-minute ‘I’m having a really bad day and I really need someone to talk to’, or some hands-on treatment, or some education.”

 


 


 

Alex Chunga, iHome Prestige Luxury

 

Alex moved to Canada from Zambia with his wife in December 2015. Alex planned to pursue a career in Wildlife Biology, having just received qualifications in the industry before his move. But, as his job search delivered one roadblock after another, Alex changed his direction.

 

Alex started working in carpentry, and soon after used his experience to start his own company, iHome Prestige Luxury – a “one stop shop for affordable prestige property improvement for home and cottage owners”.

 

Without a credit history, knowledge of the Canadian business landscape and processes, and experience in running a business, getting started was no easy feat. Eventually, Alex turned to Futurpreneur where he was able to secure financing, mentoring and resources to guide him on the journey. As someone running a business for the first time, Alex says the business planning and cash flow processes were especially critical in helping him get his business started on the right foot.

 

For Alex, moving to Canada provided for him the opportunity to explore and experience the freedom of being a business owner.

 

 


 

Gwen Lim-Brydson, Motion and Still Inc.

 

Gwen is the founder and owner of Motion and Still, a video and photo production company that produces visual content for agencies, brands, influencers and businesses. Ironically, coming from the world of corporate finance, a career as a video professional was not on the cards for Gwen.

 

“I had no idea I would become a video professional when I moved to Toronto. When I reached out to Futurpreneur, at the time I was stuck between getting a bad job or taking the risk and starting my own business.”

 

Leaving a job she didn’t enjoy in search of something that offered greater variety and enjoyment, Gwen evolved her hobby for photo and video into a full-time business. Starting from a couch, moving to a basement and now running out of three studios, Gwen says Canada has provided her with the support and opportunities she needed to launch her business.

 

“I went to four different banks and they all turned me down. Futurpreneur gave me, as a woman, access to the same funds that a male counterpart would have been given at a bank,” says Gwen.

 

“Not only is Canada a great environment, but the support structure and the programs the government supports is why I am successful today.”

 

 


 

John Davis, Danforth Brewery

 

John came to Canada to work for one year. Ten years later he is still here and now has a family and a business – Danforth Brewery.

 

Starting a business was not something John ever imagined doing, but a casual conversation with his best friend turned into a hobby and, eventually, their side hustle.

 

“It started as a hobby, making beer, just me and my best friend. We had a conversation about how we had this thing we liked doing, and we had this complementary skill set, and whether we [wanted to] spend more time together combining these two things and whether we can turn it into a business.”

 

For John, creating craft beer is a way of creating a community as well as supporting other local small businesses by being involved in local events and causes.

 

John looks forward to opening a commercial space for Danforth Brewery, welcoming customers to interact with the team, the product, and other like-minded members of the community.

 

 


 

Mary Oliveira, Mary’s Brigadeiro

 

Two years after her first visit to Canada, Mary left her hometown in Brazil to explore her opportunities in Toronto. With her husband, her dog and a business plan in tow, Mary moved to Toronto with a vision to bring a taste of her culture to the city through the Brazilian chocolate experience.

 

“Toronto is a big city full of opportunities for opening a business…a really great place to show a new kind of dessert [where] people were really interested to try new things. I convinced my husband to leave Brazil, and I became focused on educating people about a new experience in loving chocolate through the brigadeiro.”

 

Mary battled mixed emotions of excitement and sadness as she navigated the entrepreneurial world away from the support of her family and friends. By connecting with Futurpreneur, Mary received the support and guidance she needed, particularly through her mentor.

 

Today Mary’s Brigadeiro is one of Toronto’s must-try places for the Brazilian sweet treat.

 

 


 

Starting a business might seem difficult, but we’re here to help! Whether you’re still looking for that business idea, or have already started your planning, we’ve developed a guide to help you get on the right track and learn from other young entrepreneurs who chose to move to Canada and start their journey with Futurpreneur.

 

Find out more: www.futurpreneur.ca/newcomer-guide

 

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