This fall, we hosted training for immigrant entrepreneurs in Grande Prairie in partnership with the Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning. The 12-week Ready to Launch program covered a range of topics on starting a business, including market research, business finances, and marketing. We spoke with some of the students about their experience in the program.

My name is Jasmer. I have a B.A. degree from Guru Nanak University in India. My subjects were English, economics, political science, and Punjabi. I moved from India to Grande Prairie in 1976. I want to start my own business because, from childhood, I always wished to have my own business and help people. I want to be my own boss and not have to answer to others. I want to take responsibility and become independent. I want to use my own creative and innovative ideas in my business. [Ready to Launch] has helped me gain confidence, taught me business English vocabulary, the steps of starting my own business, how to do market research, arrange finances, about products/services/customers, how important it is to pay taxes on time, and how important it is to network with business associations and attend other business events to expand my knowledge. I’ve learned that I will need to spend at least 25% of my own money to start my business. I plan to start a business partnership with a friend. We will test the bistro business market, make a business plan, secure funding, brainstorm ideas, and build a great team.

Alemtzehai Tzeggai

Hello everyone! My name is Alemtzehai Tzeggai. I am from Eritrea and I have been in Canada for a few years. Canada is a wonderful country and my home country now. [Ready to Launch] has been a great experience for me because I’m learning so much about opening my own business. The teachers are very knowledgeable and ready to answer my questions. We are learning about marketing, customer service, customer relationships, cost structures, management skills, business development, business jargon, and a lot more. It makes me more confident than before to go for my dream job. With the knowledge I have now, it will be much easier for me to start my career as an entrepreneur. I would like to open my own organic bistro with freshly roasted Eritrean coffee, chai, herbal tea, and homemade cakes and lunches. All products will be locally and organically grown. It will have healthy food and be environmentally-friendly, people-friendly, child-friendly, and have a low-key, warmly intimate atmosphere.

Hi, my name is Mayra. I grew up in a big city in the country of Mexico. I love living in Canada for the beauty of its landscapes and the warmth of the people. My favourite hobbies are reading, hiking, cooking, and spending time with my husband and our lovely dog. I own a snow removal business with my husband and I’m considering opening another business. I enjoy autonomy, creating our own rules and guidelines, and working for ourselves. [Ready to Launch] has helped me a lot because it is very complete and detailed. One thing that really stuck in my mind was learning workplace safety and rights.

The Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning is a registered society and charity. Founded in 1984, the Council provides adult learning services related to employment, literacy, numeracy, upgrading, and public education. Our main thematic program areas are English Language Learning/Testing, Adult Learning, and Family Literacy.
Vision: The Council for Lifelong Learning is the pre-eminent provider of impactful adult learning that transforms learners’ lives
Mission: The Council creates inspiring experiences for learners so that they want to learn for a lifetime
Values: Accountability, Respect, Ability, Support, Opportunity