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Creating your opportunity

A friend recently asked me if Halifax really is a good place for immigrants to come make a new life. As the founder of a magazine that’s all about answering that question in the affirmative, my first response was obvious.

“Of course it is,” I replied.

“Why,” he asked, “are there a lot of jobs available?”

That made me pause. Are there a lot of jobs just waiting for immigrants to come to Halifax to fill? There are some, but if working for someone else is your only end goal, I realized I had to admit Halifax may not offer you the most opportunity.

Instead, where Halifax really shines is in offering immigrants the best chance for creating their own opportunities. If being your own boss and creating jobs for others is what you’re after, then this town is filled with examples of those who have done just that.

Entrepreneurism is alive and well in Halifax and in this issue we’ve collected several excellent examples that illustrate the scope of what your Halifax experience could be. Consider Saeed El-Darahali, featured in our cover story (page 14). As president and CEO of SimplyCast, he has built a high-tech company with clients around the world and which seeks to give back to the community and encourage young Haligonians and other students to stay here to pursue their careers.

Not sure you can do the same thing? Maybe all you need is a little support. The Greater Halifax Partnership (page 18) and the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (page 20) have a variety of programs all aimed at assisting immigrants to find the tools they need to establish themselves in our city. Need a mentor? The Partnership can help you. Need to learn how to access funds to get started? CEED has you covered.

We’ve also reached out to the traditional and non-traditional sources of entrepreneurial funding to create a resource to assist you in finding the type of funds you need to back your idea (page 7), as well as a guide (page 8) to help navigate the waters as you search for your perfect opportunity.

And we take a look at the language of business (page 22). Not everyone speaks English when they arrive in our city and that can be a barrier to success. We offer some advice on how to overcome this challenge in order to make your dream come true.
However, just pointing you to others is not the same as providing assistance ourselves. That’s why My Halifax Experience, in conjunction with our annual Halifax Experience event, is creating a bursary program targeting international students in our community. The program will award four $1,000 bursaries to deserving students looking to further their education and build new lives for themselves here in Halifax.

To qualify, students need only follow My Halifax Experience on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram), register with our website, and write an essay on their Halifax experiences so far. We’ll publish the winning essays in future issues of My Halifax Experience. For more information on the bursary, go to
page 25.

We’ll name the four winners at the Halifax Experience event in November, taking place this year at Saint Mary’s University. We hope to see you there for this celebration.

About Ifeanyi Emesih

Ifeanyi Emesih
Ifeanyi Emesih is the Founder and Publisher of My East Coast Experience and he is also the Creator of My Halifax Experience. My Halifax Experience is a marketing, publishing and event planning brand aimed at telling the stories – and, yes, sharing the dreams – of new immigrants who have found success in Halifax, while encouraging others to stay in the province’s largest city to pursue their own dreams.

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