THE City of Ottawa, in partnership with the Economic Club of Canada, presented the 2014 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards last week to four local businesspeople – Anand Aggarwal, A. Haseeb Awan, Mona Kalra and Peyman Yazdani.
The recipients were selected for their business success, contribution to the local economy, entrepreneurial spirit, and serving as an inspiration to new Canadians to start their own business.
“These awards are an important component of the City’s Economic Development Strategy,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “Today’s recipients demonstrate how important immigration is to our city, our cultural vitality and our economic prosperity.”
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Bruce Lazenby, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa, also spoke on the occasion.
Recipients of the 2014 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards
Anand Aggarwal, Manor Park Development: Anand was born in a small village in India, and immigrated to Canada in 1967. A graduate of IIT New Delhi in India, and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, he has spent the last 35 years as a real estate entrepreneur in the National Capital Region. He has grown his early acquisitions into one of the region’s most enviable multi-family residential portfolios and recently has broadened his approach to include assets across the real estate value spectrum within Eastern Ontario, including office, retail, industrial and hospitality.
Mona Kalra, Maple Care Physiotherapy Inc.: Mona came to Canada in 2002 after running a successful physiotherapy clinic in India for seven years. Since her arrival she has not only obtained her license to practice physiotherapy in Canada, she now runs her own successful physiotherapy practice, Maple Care Physiotherapy Clinic Inc. As the principal co-owner, she provides services to patients with neurological, orthopedic and geriatric conditions, both in the clinic and at patients’ homes. Mona has spent the last decade engaging, empowering and supporting a generation of local entrepreneurs and change agents through her engagement with not-for-profit entities and local community organizations.
Haseeb Awan, BitAccess Inc.: A. Haseeb moved to Canada from Pakistan in September 2010 as an international engineering student at the University of Ottawa. He is now an electrical engineer by degree, and an entrepreneur by profession. He is co-founder of BitAccess Inc, a world leader in digital currency (Bitcoin) ATMs with a client base that has spread to 48 cities in 13 countries within only 12 months of launching. Mr. Haseeb has served in different capacities with several successful start-ups and has won a number of awards for entrepreneurship.
Peyman Yazdani, Subway Restaurants: Peyman got his start while still a youth living in Iran selling items to street vendors. Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Peyman’s family escaped from Iran in 1985 and lived in Pakistan for a year before settling in Ottawa. Peyman studied mechanical engineering at Algonquin College, however, after not finding employment in his field, he began working as a sandwich artist, soon rising to assistant manager and then store manager. Business ownership was always a dream of Peyman’s, so with the help of a partner he opened his first Subway location in 1994. Since then, the partners have grown the business to 17 stores.
The Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards are presented annually to celebrate and recognize local businesspeople who have immigrated to Canada, achieved success in their entrepreneurial endeavours and contributed their time and support to make a difference in their community.