March 31, 2023


Moving Forward

Entrepreneur helps immigrants succeed with new business ventures

Mario Escoto Damas arrived in Canada to expand his family’s company. Now the Honduras-born entrepreneur is assisting other newcomers establish their very own enterprises even though placing Thunder Bay on the map as a burgeoning innovation hub.

“I was elevated in a family of entrepreneurs,” claimed Escoto Damas. “My mother and father, who labored in the fields, moved to San Pedro Sula in research of options. There had been no employment, so they commenced their personal firm.”

In 2019, Escoto Damas landed in Toronto to participate in an immersion bootcamp offered by LatAm Startups, an accelerator that will help worldwide businesses to scale in the Canadian industry. LatAm Startups opened the door for him to immigrate under the Startup Visa application, a federal method that aims to entice entrepreneurial talent so that they can develop their organizations in Canada, building work opportunities and producing prosperity.

In accordance to official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stats, 1,860 individuals have been admitted as lasting citizens as a result of Startup Visa involving 2015 and March 31, 2022. According to Sobirovs Regulation Agency, the plan has a success price of far more than 75 for every cent. 

In 3 many years, Escoto Damas has developed a successful business in this article and was lately appointed government director of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre.

“It was a way in which my journey came entire circle,” he stated. “I suggest, I experienced by now been spending appreciable quantities of time mentoring and coaching business people. But continue to, my primary task was to operate my business and to oversee the functions of our spouse and children business enterprise, both of those in Honduras and for our Canadian expansion.”

For Escoto Damas, the visa acceptance course of action was complete of hurdles. 1st, the method bogged down in 2020 owing to the pandemic. Then he had to overcome his hesitancy about shifting to a new state.

“My intention, originally, was not to immigrate to Canada. I saw it as a small business possibility, as a way to increase our operations and obtain a flourishing marketplace,” he explained, introducing that soon after significantly deliberation, and even even though he had a at ease existence in Honduras, he chose to consider the leap and come to be the only just one of his relatives to move to the Great White North.

“Even then, I planned to be back again and forth between Canada and Honduras.”

Escoto Damas took edge of the electronic transition that was happening in 2020, and launched BeltecHub, a technology-driven manufacturing hub for conveyor belts, timing belts, and other gear. The technological component has been vital for the corporation to thrive in Canada, and it has grow to be a achievement story of the Startup Visa system.

“We presently use five individuals right and four people today indirectly, all Canadian citizens or inhabitants, so we have achieved a person of the ambitions of the Startup Visa system, which is to create careers,” he stated. 

In addition to functioning his company, one of Escoto Damas’s passions has generally been to mentor new entrepreneurs. It is a thing he has carried out because he commenced working in the loved ones business enterprise in Honduras. He is primarily fascinated in aiding newcomers because he understands from his very own encounter how grueling the adaptation approach can be.

Nonetheless, he hardly ever predicted his penchant for mentoring would be the essential that opened doors to a new phase in his career.

“I really feel grateful that we can be an instance of how we can lead and in my circumstance, I’m actually fortuitous simply because now I use that working experience to assist other people who are in the exact footwear that I as soon as was.

“And I am searching ahead to assisting much more newcomers get settled with their small business.”

As he speaks about the prospective of Thunder Bay, Escoto Damas perks up. The Northwest Innovation Middle presently has achievement tales these types of as Meaglow, a large-tech company in the semiconductor sector that counts NASA among the its purchasers and that been given the RBC Innovation Award. And BioNorth Options, an environmental firm that is developing imaginative strategies to absorb contamination spills.

“Thunder Bay presents significant opportunities, for example, in fiber optic, in mining, and quite a few other sectors. And our intention is to match these with the talent that is coming in,” Escoto Damas mentioned.

“Many international learners arrive to Thunder Bay, possibly to Lakehead or Confederation College or university. As of now, most of them depart, but our aim is to get them to remain, to show them the prospects that exist and say, ‘Here’s a put for you to develop your future, and to lead to the neighborhood.’”

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