When Ahsen Mohammed and his partner Riyaz Agha arrived in Calgary last year, they came determined to make a difference in their new home through entrepreneurship. I remember my first meeting with them in June 2018 and how resolute they were to prove that entrepreneurship was a viable path for new immigrants. I remember Ahsen saying,

“I want to show new immigrants that they can start and run successful businesses in Canada. I want to be an example, proof that it is possible”

Ahsen has extensive marketing experience implementing digital channel strategy for global brands such as Adidas, Reebok and s.Oliver. He also holds a digital strategy specialization from Columbia Business School and a Digital Marketing specialization from the University of Illinois Urbana Champagne. Riyaz has an IT background and years of experience in providing solutions driven software development and implementation.

Their company Raydius Digital was founded in 2018 (less than 6 months after they arrived in Canada) with a mission to help local small businesses create successful online marketing strategies through customized digital solutions and tools. Their inhouse brand audit tool helps businesses identify gaps in their digital marketing and proposes optimal solutions to improve their online presence. They help small organizations with business listings, search engine optimization, digital ads (Google & Facebook), website development, social media, online reviews and so much more. Watch this video to learn more about Raydius Digital’s services.

The major challenge for them as first-time entrepreneurs and as newcomers to Canada was the daunting task of figuring out resources, connections, networks and acquiring a client base to kick start the business.

“As newcomers to the city we found several resources for new businesses but understanding what each did and how they could benefit our business was a challenge. The team at Business Link provided immense support, resources, guidance, and connections”

They describe Business Link programs and services as a “speed factory with tonnes of condensed information” that brought them up-to-speed with the Calgary business community. Business Link was instrumental in connecting them with Platform Calgary where they were accepted into a full-time business residency program – Junction.

Another major challenge they faced was building trust with clients and finding opportunities to grow their network. They worked on expanding their network by actively seeking strategic partnerships through various organizations like the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Calgary Foundation leadership development program GenYYC.

For Raydius Digital, their big audacious goal is to insulate small businesses from the impact of big brands in the digital space. They are constantly reviewing their strategy and offerings to ensure their clients remain digitally relevant in a rapidly changing world. They are working on rebranding the business and developing vertical teams for different industries.

One word of advice for new entrepreneurs? Be persistent, stay in a stretch zone and leverage all resources!