A wide range of industries were represented Thursday when the city of Ottawa, in partnership with the Economic Club of Canada, handed out the third annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards.
Anand Aggarwal of Manor Park Development, Abdul Haseeb Awan of BitAccess, Mona Kalra of Maple Care Physiotherapy and Peyman Yazdani of Subway restaurants are this year’s recipients.
The awards were created to honour people born outside of Canada who now make Ottawa their home, contributing to Ottawa’s economy and inspiring other new Canadians to follow in their footsteps.
Mr. Aggarwal arrived in Canada from India in 1967. With degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, he has spent the last 35 years as a real estate entrepreneur in the National Capital Region.
Mr. Haseeb moved to Canada from Pakistan in September 2010 as an international engineering student at the University of Ottawa. He is a co-founder of BitAccess, which has set up Bitcoin ATMs in 48 cities in 13 countries in its first year in business.
Ms. Kalra operated her own physiotherapy clinic in India for several years before coming to Canada in 2002. She now runs her own practice in Ottawa.
Mr. Yazdani, who was born in Iran, moved with his family to Pakistan in the mid-1980s before coming to Canada. He studied mechanical engineering at Algonquin College, but when he couldn’t find employment in his field, he became a sandwich artist at Subway. He quickly rose to store manager, and eventually became an owner in 1994. Today, he owns 17 Subway restaurant franchises.
The awards were presented at a luncheon at the Westin Ottawa, with Mayor Jim Watson, Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby and federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander among the guests.
“Today’s recipients demonstrate how important immigration is to our city, our cultural vitality and our economic prosperity,” Mr. Watson said in a statement.