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The winners of 16th Annual Small Business BC Awards have been officially announced, and 鶹ӳý has come out on top in the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur category.

鶹ӳý founder Ruairi Spillane at the Small Business BC Awards Gala 2019
鶹ӳý founder Ruairi Spillane at the Small Business BC Awards Gala 2019

Founder Ruairi Spillane convinced the judges that 鶹ӳý was a sustainable business with a strong purpose and immense growth potential, and in doing so, he held off four worthy competitors. With the award he is recognized for his strong leadership in business and service to the local immigrant community, and for both overcoming the challenges of starting a business as a newcomer to Canada as well as building a community to help other newcomers from around the world succeed in their new home.

The judges for the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur category had this to say about 鶹ӳý: “This business has found a niche and is serving it brilliantly. They have a keen entrepreneur’s spirit and innovative ideas, and it was easy to see the passion demonstrated by the business owner and how his personal experience as an immigrant enabled him to tackle the challenges of creating and growing a business.”

Ruairi Spillane received the award in the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur category at the Small Business BC Awards Gala 2019
Ruairi Spillane with Tricia Chio of BDC Bank and the 2018 winners of the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur category at the Small Business BC Awards Gala 2019

“For me the purpose of 鶹ӳý was always to pay down the support I received after I moved to Canada. In a year when immigration looks set to be front and centre on the national political agenda, winning the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award is a strong signal to our community that their efforts matter, that immigrants supporting immigrants is recognized in Canada, and that paying it down keeps paying off,” said Ruairi Spillane after accepting the award at the Small Business BC Awards Gala in Vancouver on February 21, 2019.

“To my mind, this award is a recognition of the hard work my team has put into building this community and it definitely gives us added drive in promoting Canada as a great place to live and work.”

In attendance to bring awareness to the critical role entrepreneurship plays in Canada’s economy were the Honourable Mary Ng, Federal Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, as well as the Honourable Bruce Ralston, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology.

“Congratulations to all the nominees of the Small Business BC Awards. Owning a successful business takes hard work, determination, and talent,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to making it easier for small businesses to start up, scale up, and access new markets. When small businesses thrive, our economy grows and middle-class jobs are created for Canadians.”

“The Small Business BC and Open for Business Awards honour small businesses and the communities that help them succeed,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “The awards showcased the achievements of some of the province’s most innovative entrepreneurs who continue to drive B.C.’s economy forward, creating good jobs for people in every corner of the province.”

Speaking about his business idea, he added: “Canada is a fantastic product to share with the world. We have a unique culture defined by immigration. To live in such a diverse, peaceful country with strong economic conditions and where cultural diversity is celebrated, is a dream for many people who want to improve their lives. I was keen to find a business idea that would solve a real problem and provide an innovative solution. So I asked myself, what if we could build a community-focused one-stop-shop with information that’s up-to-date, scalable and free? That would be a game changer for newcomers! As 鶹ӳý, we make moving easier. Our team have all walked this same path before and take pride in building an independent platform for our growing community.”

The 鶹ӳý business model is based on a community-first approach. Ruairi did not want to become just another gatekeeper of information, and instead wanted to open the gate and ensure that 鶹ӳý could be used by immigrants from all over the world. He decided to study the needs of immigrants and focus the commercial model around creating partnerships with products and services that could add value to his audience. “Our magic formula is that we understand our community and have become experts in serving the needs of this pre-arrival segment, at a time when scant few Canadian brands are engaging with them”, he concludes.

Commenting on the challenges of an immigrant entrepreneur, one of the main criteria of this award, Ruairi had this to say: “All entrepreneurs face challenges. When you combine the entrepreneurial world with the immigrant world, the challenges become even larger. Sometimes it’s a lonely journey as we chase our dreams. The lack of a support network was the biggest challenge for me. Working long hours away from home in a new country left me feeling isolated. The Irish immigrant community in Vancouver became my support network.”

The 鶹ӳý.com website, and its sister-site Outpost Recruitment, attract more than 450,000 visitors globally every month. Since 2012, the websites have been helping people plan their move and find work in Canada. 鶹ӳý has been endorsed by Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada and the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre (I/CAN).

Learn more about Small Business BC and 鶹ӳý:

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

He/Him
Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
Citation "鶹ӳý wins Small Business BC award for contribution to immigrant community." 鶹ӳý. . Copy for Citation

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