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“Immigration is very important to Alberta, both culturally and financially,” Zein explains.“Considering how young Alberta is, immigrations brings to the province a richness in culture, knowledge, and experience that a young province needs.
“There are lots of reasons for why people come to Canada, and they are positive ones,” quotes Abboud. There are no limits to what a person can do in Canada, but it also benefits the welcoming community who is looking to expand and develop.Layoffs and job losses now mean Alberta is already starting to lose its skilled labourers as they relocate to find work elsewhere, and that means Alberta might not have the work force it needs to meet the demands of a booming economy when things start to pick up again, and that will push it right back into another recession.However, as many industries are struggling to find a way to keep skilled labourers employed in Edmonton, one aspect of Edmonton’s economy is still bringing in—and maintaining—new skills and insights: immigration.“I believe it is a great thing to have an organization that can truly help newcomers and give them all the support possible.When my family and I were new to Canada, there was not much of a support system in place for newcomers,” notes Zein. Edmontonians respect and accept the ethnic mosaic that makes up this great country.” Immigration has proven to be crucial to Edmonton’s economic environment, too.Increased immigration to Canada has increased the earnings of Canadians because immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods.” If the key to Edmonton’s economic success is through holding onto its skilled workers, then the diversity of skills that can be brought into Edmonton through immigration is an important aspect of Edmonton’s ability to move forward, both financially and culturally, towards a stronger economy.
In the three months since investor Kevin Rose backed off some of his duties at Google Ventures to create another startup, the entrepreneur-turned-VC has been reminded daily just how cushy his life was when he was just investing in new companies, not creating them.
“Even though there are not enough jobs in specific industries, there are still jobs in Edmonton, and immigrants are willing to work different jobs. They want to help the communities they’ve been welcomed into, they want to earn wages, and they bring new insights, skills, and wisdom into the work force as a result.” Sponsored by her husband, Abboud immigrated to Canada from Lebanon when she was 17, after finishing her exams and receiving her diploma as a doctor. It made me realize that I wanted to be a change maker and make opportunities for others.
“I noticed a business opportunity where I could open cafeterias and have immigrant women build on their experiences, improve their English, connect with other women, and understand more of what is available so they can make their own choices.” That’s how Viva Café got started.
“They all have big dreams, and not many people have believed in them or taken them seriously, but we can learn so much from them if we just listen.
“What makes Edmonton so rich and unique is its diversity,” Abboud concludes.
“It is so much work,” laughed Rose, who previously founded startups Digg and Milk.