Our monthly Immigrant Entrepreneurship Newsletter features some of the incredible immigrant entrepreneurs in Alberta that we support, like Everest Siwira, CEO and Founder of Parcelpik Delivery Services. We spoke with Everest about his journey as an immigrant entrepreneur in Alberta and his experience in Business Link’s Peerpreneur Sessions.

What is your background?

My background is in mining, mineral processing and oil and gas. I am a professional engineer with over 26 years of experience. I have a BSc Metallurgical Engineering Degree from the University of Zimbabwe and an MBA from Athabasca University.

Tell us about your business and what it does.

Parcelpik Delivery Services provides on-demand and scheduled pickup and delivery services in Edmonton and its surrounding areas. Our services are provided through our application platform, Parcelpik Customers, which is available from the App Store or Google Play and has two mobile applications, a desktop booking form, and a dashboard. Once our customers create an account, they can place pickup and delivery orders on their mobile devices or desktop. Our delivery agents/drivers download the “Parcelpik Agents” version of the app and also create an account. Once their account is approved, delivery agents can start receiving and accepting delivery orders. When a delivery order has been accepted, our customers can track and communicate with the agent in real-time throughout the delivery process. Our state-of-the-art software enables us to provide seamless delivery services through:

  • Route Optimization
  • Confirmation and Notifications
  • Ratings
  • Delivery Windows
  • Real-Time Tracking
  • Delivery Instructions and Driver Messaging
  • Order Redirection
  • Trusted Reliable Agents
  • Continuous Delivery Model

What motivated you to start your own business?

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was young. When I was in secondary school, I used to sell cookies at school and sell clothes in mining and out-of-town villages. At my first job after finishing university, I used to sell truck accessories as a side gig. Since I moved to Canada in 2004, I have invested in real estate in Fort McMurray and Edmonton. In February 2020, I came up with the idea to develop my own app for parcel delivery and I started working on it as a side gig. When I got laid off in June 2020, I decided to work on my idea full time. That’s when Parcelpik Delivery Services was born.

What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success?

This has been and remains a challenging journey but what I am most proud of is the courage and resiliency I have had to push through with my business idea. In many situations, I have felt like giving up but I have soldiered on and I see light at the end of the tunnel. My biggest success so far is that I have been able to acquire some customers that are now using my app and paying for my services.

What has been your biggest challenge as an immigrant entrepreneur in Alberta?

My biggest challenge has been acquiring the resources I need to grow my business. I have no connections at all and have had very little knowledge as to where and how I can find the resources I need.

What has been your biggest challenge in light of COVID-19? How have you had to pivot your business?

My biggest challenge in light of COVID-19 has been the inability to meet with potential customers face-to-face. In order to grow my business, I need to market it extensively. This requires hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since I do not have that amount of money and I cannot secure any funding at this stage, the best way for me to grow my business is to do door-to-door sales. Due to COVID-19, I have not been able to do this as many businesses are not allowing visitors into their premises. In order to keep my business afloat, I have had to look for subcontract work with bigger companies in the industry.

Everest Siwira

“The pandemic has taught me that I must expect the unexpected at all times. I must make sure that I can easily and quickly change my business model to adapt to a changing environment due to evolving regulations, customer needs, or the economy as a whole.”

What advice would you share with other immigrant entrepreneurs in Alberta who want to start or grow their own business?

The advice I would give to other immigrant entrepreneurs is to do their homework prior to launching their businesses and to do it very well. Conduct thorough market research, know and understand your customer segments, understand your business model and test it, put together all resources you will need or at least know where to find them. Finally, have a good business plan that you can stick to or update as you go.

My other piece of advice is that as an immigrant entrepreneur you have to be able to distinguish between your battles and wars. If you can’t, you will use the same strategy for both and you will lose both.

How has Business Link/our Immigrant Entrepreneur Program helped you?

Business Link has helped me with industry reports and data that I needed to get a better understanding of my industry so I could make some informed decisions while I developed my business plan. I still refer to the reports/data from time to time if I need more information on certain aspects of my industry. I participated in the Peerpreneur Sessions in June and I benefitted a lot from the sessions. I learnt a lot from my peers, especially the challenges they are facing as they grow their business as well as what they are doing to overcome those challenges. Great sessions!

What’s coming up next for you?

I want to take our application platform to the next level. I would like to acquire some funds to hire a marketing agency or consultant to help me develop a comprehensive marketing plan. We will implement the marketing plan over the next 12 months and see how the business grows.

Anything else you would like to share?

The immigrant community is very fragmented, we need to come together. We have many small immigrant communities but they don’t interact. This puts us at a disadvantage because our small communities have limited resources to support/help their members. If we come together, we will have a large pool of resources and can leverage each others’ strengths. There is power in numbers.

Where can you find Parcelpik Delivery Services?


facebook  Parcelpik on Facebook

Parcelpik Delivery Services on LinkedIn