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Empowering Dreams: SEED Winnipeg’s Path to Entrepreneurial Success for Skilled Immigrants

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In a bustling city like Winnipeg, where diversity thrives, stories of skilled immigrants moving to Canada with high hopes only to find themselves stuck in underutilized jobs due to unrecognized licenses are all too familiar.

Priscila Calderon, a former participant of SEED Winnipeg’s transformative program, aptly captures the struggle when she notes, “Once international professional skilled immigrants move to Canada, they are often unable to find a job in their field of expertise due to their licenses not being recognized in Canada.” 

This dilemma prompted the inception of SEED Winnipeg, a non-profit agency committed to fighting poverty, renewing the inner city, and providing financial empowerment through various programs and services.

At the heart of SEED Winnipeg’s mission is a dedication to building strong communities and expanding opportunities for individuals through financial empowerment programs. One of the agency’s standout initiatives is aiding skilled immigrants to start their businesses. 

Farahnaz Afaq, Outreach Coordinator at SEED Winnipeg, emphasized the focus of the program, stating, “The intention is to equip people with the tools to understand the regulations, the market, the financial aspects, as well as the licenses and permits required to run a business successfully in Canada.”

The program is designed to guide aspiring entrepreneurs through the intricate process of establishing a business in the Canadian landscape. “We are here to support you by providing a clear path to starting your business idea,” adds Afaq. Through carefully curated resources and mentorship, SEED Winnipeg ensures that participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the steps involved in launching a business, from conception to execution.

Priscila Calderon’s journey from program participant to advocate underscores the impact of SEED Winnipeg’s efforts. When Calderon arrived in Canada, she was brimming with motivation and inspiration yet lacked a structured plan to turn her ideas into action. Reflecting on her experience, Calderon expresses her gratitude for the program, which enabled her to channel her ideas into a tangible action plan. Today, her mission revolves around paying forward the guidance she received by helping others realize their dreams of entrepreneurship.

SEED Winnipeg’s focus extends beyond just equipping individuals with knowledge; the agency recognizes the critical role of financial support for skilled immigrants pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. The program catalyzes economic mobility, enabling individuals to transition from underemployment or unemployment to becoming self-sufficient business owners.

A remarkable aspect of SEED Winnipeg’s approach is its deep-rooted sense of community. The agency’s mentors acknowledge the challenges newcomers face, particularly in a foreign land where their professional accomplishments might not hold the same weight back home. The program aims to bridge this gap by providing the necessary resources, guidance, and support to empower skilled immigrants to forge their paths and contribute meaningfully to the Canadian economy.

In a country where diversity is celebrated as a strength, it’s disheartening to see highly skilled professionals unable to leverage their expertise due to the complexities of license recognition and market adaptation. SEED Winnipeg’s program for aspiring entrepreneurs is a beacon of hope, illuminating the path toward economic self-sufficiency and community growth.

Farahnaz Afaq poignantly states, “A lot of really skilled professionals can’t find a job in Canada, and even if they were successful in their careers back home, they need to have a survival job here in Canada.” SEED Winnipeg’s initiatives are not just about survival but about thriving. They’re about converting dreams into reality, unlocking potential, and creating a future where skilled immigrants can flourish, enriching the fabric of their communities and the nation.

–Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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