Starting a business is a lot of hard work; whether you buying a business, opening a franchise or starting a business from scratch. And it can be a lot harder if you are new to Canada, even if you have a strong business background in your home country. But that did not phase Leon Zhao.
Leon arrived in Canada with a solid business background, having previously run an office furniture manufacturing company in China. What he did not know, was how to run business in British Columbia.
Finding Help to Find New Opportunities
After attempting to start a trading and construction business, he decided to look for a business opportunity where his passion lies. He approached the BIIS Business Counsellor again in May 2014 to discuss about his next business attempt. Knowing that he could not do it alone, he looked for help in the community.
He found the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Business Immigrant Integration Support program (BIIS) where he many training courses, one-on-one counselling and mentorship sessions. Through the program, Leon was able to better understand the Canadian business culture, and how to make good business investment decisions.
Leon’s mentor, a leading local business broker, not only helped guide him through the buying a business process but also lead him to finding the opportunity he had been looking for, Hell’s Gate Airtram.
With the advice of his mentor, Leon started to do his due diligence of the business. He drove to Hope, where the business is located, with his business partner Junping Yang to understand the area and take a more detailed look at the business and location. After just one week, Leon made an offer on the business and completed the sale in just two months.
Leon and Junping successful took ownership of Hell’s Gate Airtram on September 3rd 2014. They now have plans to create jobs and contribute to the local tourism economy.
Opportunities for Business Immigrants
Leon and Junping are just two of the business immigrants that have been helped by the Business Immigrant Integration Support Program. The program, supported by the BC Government, supports a whole range of immigrants with professional guidance, reliable information resources and one-on-one case management that is tailored to each unique client.
With over 250,000 immigrants entering Canada each year, these programs help accelerate the economic integration process of entrepreneurial immigrants, who in turn contribute to the larger business economy.
BC's Best Immigrant Entrepreneur
Are you an immigrant entrepreneur, who has been in Canada for less than 10 years, or do you know someone who is? We're looking to recognize an outstanding new Canadian who has started a successful business in BC. Who has overcome adversity, exhibits leadership both in their community and within their business, and has strong track record of business growth. Small Business BC's Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award is open for nominations, so nominate your business, or a business you love today!