Honouring Immigrant EntrepreneursMarch 8, 2013
The first annual Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards were launched by the City of Ottawa on October 1, 2012 at the Ottawa Immigration Forum.
These awards recognize the valuable contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs make to Ottawa’s prosperity through job creation, innovation, and global connectivity. It is hoped that this might inspire or encourage entrepreneurship or business development among other immigrants in the city.
There was a strong response to the call for nominations for local immigrant entrepreneurs, and a total of 51 entries were received, with businesses ranging from the restaurant and aesthetic service sector to high-tech production and exports. Nominations were sought in five categories:
- Fast-growth enterprises;
- Innovation-oriented enterprises;
- Social enterprises (with a social, environmental or cultural mandate as the primary concern of the business);
- Women entrepreneurs; and
- Youth business entrepreneurs (under 35 years old).
Submissions were evaluated by a panel of eight business and community leaders who were looking for inspiring stories about individuals who have come to Ottawa and built businesses of all sizes. In their deliberations, the panel considered the nominee’s track record of job creation, business mentorship, and other contributions to the development of the local economy and the broader Ottawa community.
The winners of the Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards for 2012 were:
- Valéry Tolstikhin of OneChip Photonics Inc., for the category of “Fast Growth Enterprises”
- Dr. Dipak Roy of D-TA Systems Inc. for the category of “Innovation Oriented Enterprises”
- Vinod Rajasekaran of HUB Ottawa for the category of “Social Enterprises”
- Dr. Supriya Mishra from VisionTech4u for the category of “Women Entrepreneurs”
- Obaid Ahmed from OAK Computing for the category of “Youth Business Entrepreneurs”.
The Awards were presented by Mayor Jim Watson who remarked in his speech, “It is an honour and a pleasure to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of these ambitious entrepreneurs who provide goods and services, contribute to our economy, and create jobs in Ottawa.”
The Awards are set to be an annual tradition. The list of Award Categories may expand to specifically honour recent immigrant entrepreneurs too.