Celebrating the Successes of Immigrant Entrepreneurs
CONGRATULATIONS to all Award Recipients and Finalists of this year’s Newcomer Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (NEYA)! And the awards go to…
Startup Category – Sneha Chakraborty, Colors of India
Sneha Chakraborty moved to Saskatoon from India. Her passion to add to the growing diversity of Saskatoon, led her to utilize her entrepreneur skills and take her chances on opening Colors of India on Ave B. Her hard work, passion and growing customer demand for ethnic wares and clothing led to a bigger location within a year on 2nd Avenue. Today, the store is flourishing with her imports coming from vendors in India. She is a source of employment to newcomers struggling to start their careers. Sneha supports fair trade vendors in India and adds to the local colour of Saskatoon, not only with the vibrant colours of India in her boutique but also with her personality that knows no bounds when it comes to supporting the community in which she is involved.
Growth Category – Yufeng Wang, Baydo Development Corporation
Yufeng Wang is the President and CEo of Baydo Development Corporation. Yufeng was born in CHina and received a scholarship to attend the University of Saskatchewan to complete his PhD. Yufeng started Baydo Development Corp. in 2010 and since its inception, Baydo has invested over $100M in commercial, residential, multi-family and single family real estate projects in Saskatoon. Baydo is a family-focused business setting them apart from the normal workplace. Baydo’s core values are simple: develop long-lasting relationships with clients and contractors; value employees; through actions, prove commitment to integrity and clients; and strive for continuous improvement and innovation.
U39 Category – Andy Yuen, Odd Couple
Odd Couple is a locally-owned, family-operated Asian restaurant located in Riversdale, Saskatoon. Andy Yuen started the business in May 2014. Andy was able to identify and create a market niche in Saskatoon to become the premium Asian restaurant of choice. Odd Couple offers modern Asian flavours, local beers/great wine and Asian-inspired cocktails in a sophisticated, modern, upbeat yet friendly and elegant setting. Andy incorporates local products/produce including various products from Riversdale Asian grocery stores. Odd Couple employs more than 20 employees, including 9 newcomers. Since opening, the restaurant has exceed expectations with 2016 sales increasing more than 30% over last year.
Connect Category – Florentino & Myrna Aranda, Manila Cleaning Services
Florentino and Myrna Aranda immigrated to Canada in 1977 from the Philippines. In April 2007, they started Manila Cleaning Services Ltd., a commercial and industrial cleaning company. Operning this business gave Florentino and Myrna an opportunity to help new immigrants and pay them a wage that allows them to have a better life in Canada. From 2007-2009, the ubsiness grew from 5 to 12 janitorial contracts, and from 7 to 16 employees by early 2009. Now, Manila Cleaning Services has over 80 employees working full-time and part-time. Some of the company’s major contracts include: SaskTel and Co-Op Grocery Stores, Home Centers and Gas Bars in Saskatoon, North Battleford, Martensville and Warman.
Due to the overwhelming stories that were received, a special award was created called the NEYA Spirit Award presented to the business that best embodies the spirit of a newcomer entrepreneur.
NEYA Spirit Award – Wajid & Maysoon Toma, First Impressions Hair Design
Maysoon and Wajid Toma imigrated to Canada from Iraq in search for a better life. They overcame many obstacles in their journey to Canada. Once they arrived in Canada, they were energized by the possibilities of a new start. Maysoon and Wajid worked tirelessly to learn English and achieve their goal of owning a hair salon.
NEYA is a showcase of small business owners who have journeyed through immigrating to Canada and have successfully launched and grown their business in the Saskatoon Region. We work with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and see first-hand how immigration is a key component of our diverse and sustained economy.