I love supporting small, family run businesses. It makes me feel good to support them because I know the money is re-invested into their families, rather then going to thousands of nameless shareholders. And I have been thinking about them a lot lately. Because I have come to realize more and more, that those small family run businesses are often run by families whom are first generation Canadians.
Many of these entrepreneurs are highly educated professionals in their home countries. They get in to Canada partly because of those professional qualifications. And when they get here, they have to jump through so many hoops, they often find it near impossible to work in their field of expertise.
Which is so frustrating. I understand that we need to ensure that they have the same knowledge and skills as Canadian trained professionals. But there is very little support in place to help them jump through the hoops of Canadian accreditation. Not to mention get support them to find employment once they are accredited.
So many of them, being the amazingly bright people that they are, go into one of the hardest fields to make a living in- running their own business. Sometimes that is a taxi cab, sometimes a restaurant, sometimes a little corner grocery store or gas station. They run franchises. They run independent businesses. They do it all. Some of them go on to run big, successful, businesses that expand and grow. Some of them keep their businesses small.
They take all the intelligence and dedication and hardworking attitude and apply it to their businesses. Running your own business is hard. It is a 24/7 job.
And instead of being bitter about a country that doesn’t recognize their foreign education, they are some of the most warm, kinda, welcoming people. I love going into a little restaurant or grocery store run by new Canadians. Their customer services skills are wonderful. They make amazing food and provide too notch services. They do it with a smile and a hello. They do it all with pride. They know they are doing something important.
And more then just providing great restaurants, stores and services, I feel that these businesses contribute to the cultural fabric of our city. I love that within 5 minutes of our house there are small family run businesses run by Greek, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Lebanese and Afghani families. All with their own stories to tell.
Next time you are in your favourite small, family run business, whether they are immigrants or not, I encourage you to thank them. And then ask them their story. And thank them again. Make no mistake- the Canadian economy runs on small businesses and New Canadians run some of the best.