Empowering Entrepreneurs: A Recap of the Inaugural Immigrant Business Expo 2023 Calgary

31 Oct, 2023
Empowering Entrepreneurs: A Recap of the Inaugural Immigrant Business Expo 2023 Calgary

In a remarkable turnout for its inaugural edition in Western Canada, the Immigrant Business Expo – Calgary, was held on Saturday, October 28, 2023, attracting approximately 700 attendees. Organized by the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA), in partnership with New Horizons Media Inc. and the Calgary Public Library, the event stood as an essential platform for newcomers aspiring to delve into entrepreneurship in Canada.

 Since 2016, the Immigrant Business Expo has been a successful annual event in Ontario, tailored for immigrants and refugees interested in entrepreneurship. It offers crucial information and guidance to initiate, develop, and manage small businesses in Canada. The Calgary edition perpetuated this legacy, designed to provide hands-on guidance, cultivate networking opportunities, and fuel entrepreneurial ambitions.

 The single-day expo included engaging workshops, panel discussions, an exhibitor area spotlighting invaluable services and resources, and small business clinics explicitly aimed at supporting new immigrant and refugee business owners. The extraordinary response to the Immigrant Business Expo – Calgary, underscores the escalating interest and demand for such platforms in the region. It exemplifies CIWA and its partners’ commitment to empowering immigrants and refugees to bolster Canada’s entrepreneurial landscape and amplify economic growth through innovative business initiatives.

Over 700 attendees and more than 20 exhibitors converged at the Expo, underscoring the enthusiasm within the immigrant and refugee community in Western Canada towards exploring entrepreneurial avenues. The event’s success highlights its importance and the anticipated profound influence on small businesses in Calgary and the wider region.

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A heartfelt thank you goes out to our generous sponsors, BDC and RBC, for their invaluable support. Collaborating with the Calgary Public Library and New Horizons Media was a delightful experience, and their contributions significantly enriched the event. Additionally, our appreciation extends to all esteemed panelists, workshop presenters, and exhibitors whose efforts and dedication played a pivotal role in making the event a monumental success.

This event bridges a crucial gap by linking attendees with government-funded services, community resources, and mentors guiding them through Canadian entrepreneurship intricacies. Participants can anticipate garnering valuable insights, expanding networks, and acquiring tools to surmount barriers, fostering the success of immigrant-owned businesses in Calgary. As an immigrant myself,  I have dedicated my career to finding meaningful opportunities to support newcomers to achieve their Canadian dream. CIWA is committed to assisting immigrant and refugee women, and many of them aspire to become business owners or entrepreneurs. This event would help them navigate the Canadian business landscape successfully

Paula Calderon

CEO, Calgary Immigrant Women's Association