Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Sarah Wayland, project manager of Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurs, shared with The Globe and Mail her studies on the experiences of entrepreneurs who immigrated to Canada. She found them hungrier to succeed and more hard working. Despite their disadvantages as to language and culture, their willingness to succeed and business acumen have served them well to make it as entrepreneurs. Take the case of Adam Luo and Ginza Zhang of Tea Amore. This couple from China have very supportive business-minded parents who not only gave them advice and encouragement but also provided them a loan to get them started with their special tea business. Other immigrant-entrepreneurs share the secrets to their success.
ADAM LUO AND GINA ZHANG – Tea Amore
Adam Luo and Gina Zhang made a few classic mistakes in their early years of running small businesses in Fredericton.
After six years, Mr. Luo and Ms. Zhang finally succeeded, finding a niche in specialty teas and tea-making equipment. They now offer classes in tea history and they sell products online through their website Tea Amore.
The young couple chalk up their survival, in part, to advantages transplanted from their home country of China: support from business-minded parents and an attitude that gave them an edge.
“We both came from entrepreneurial families,” Mr. Luo says. Both sets of parents provided constant support and advice over the phone, helping the duo weather the rough patches. When the couple decided to set up the new business last year, Mr. Luo’s family provided a loan to cover some of the $150,000 they needed to get started.
It’s a common story among Canadian immigrants, who are more likely to start their own businesses than non-immigrants. They labour under some disadvantages, such as unfamiliarity with Canadian expectations, language hurdles, weaker social networks, and a lack of understanding of the country’s tax and regulatory systems.
But they can also arrive with resources from their home countries. Some are tangible: access to financing from family or financial institutions back home, or business contacts abroad that allow them to import products, staff or ideas more easily. Others are less visible: a willingness to throw themselves at a chance to succeed, attitudes inherited from entrepreneurial cultures, and an outsider’s view of Canada that allows them to spot gaps where there’s a.
“Immigrants by definition are risk takers,” says Sarah Wayland, a consultant who has studied the experiences of immigrant entrepreneurs extensively and who is currently project manager for a federally funded initiative called Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurs.
“I believe they are more entrepreneurial. They can capitalize on their trans-national connections and they can be hungrier because they’re so desperate. They’re willing to work those 80-hour weeks.” …
Photo by cekka. (di nuovo con internet!)