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In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
We were pleased to be part of 2014WOW and discuss how we could make sports more inclusive for Ottawa’s immigrant population.  We received wonderful ideas.    

Kelly Robertson
Manager, City-wide Recreation Programs, City of Ottawa
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
Our 2014 WOW workshop contributed significantly to building momentum on the issue of equity by connecting professionals who wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Yumi Kotani
Manager, Ottawa Equity Project
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa

Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards of the City of Ottawa

February 3, 2013

The City of Ottawa has been key in the adoption and implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (OIS). It aligned OIS priorities with the City’s strategic plan and is now developing an immigration strategy of its own that reinforces OIS priorities.

In addition, the City’s Economic Development department launched the Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards at the first annual Ottawa Immigration Forum on October 1, 2012. The awards showcase the entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants bring to the city. This ground-breaking initiative helps shift the perception of immigrants as an economic drain to one that recognizes the contributions that newcomers make to the local economy through business development, job creation, enhanced exports, global connectivity, mentorship, and philanthropy.

The profiles of the 51 entrepreneurs nominated for awards are impressive. They show a diversity of talent, creativity, entrepreneurialism, and community-building. Many of the nominees have created businesses in the IT sector, which ranges from small software development start-ups to advanced sonar, radar, test and measurement applications with multi-million dollar annual revenues. There were also nominees from financial and business services, food services, and fashion design, as well as a business specializing in custom handcrafted eco-friendly eyewear.

A panel of eight business and community leaders assessed nominees in five categories: young entrepreneurs; women entrepreneurs; innovation-oriented enterprises; social enterprises (with a social, environmental or cultural mandate); and fast-growth enterprises. The nominees were evaluated for their contributions to the local economy, among entrepreneurs, and to the broader community as a result of socially responsible behavior.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson presented the awards and thanked nominees for making a difference to the city.

The awards ceremony generated considerable local media coverage, which helped raise awareness about the benefits of immigration. By highlighting the concrete achievements of some of Ottawa’s most successful immigrant entrepreneurs, this initiative develops a new storyline that has the potential to change stereotypes.