Louis Lendoye admits he didn’t know what to expect when he registered for a Business Immigrants Essentials Course.
However, when the course, organized by The Hive/ LaRuche, an arm of the 3 + Corporation, Greater Moncton’s economic development agency, ended on Feb. 15 Lendoye had expanded his business knowledge and was optimistic about opening his new enterprise.
Lendoye, a 46-year-old native of Gabon in central Africa, was one of 16 newcomers to Greater Moncton who are looking to start their own businesses and enrolled in the two-week course.
Volunteers from several companies and agencies shared their expertise in areas like finance, bookkeeping, business etiquette, market research, marketing, planning, real estate, communications, taxation, employment standards and more.
Lendoye, who moved to Dieppe with his wife and three young children two years ago, said the course was helpful and he was grateful for the opportunity to meet so many business experts.
“Everything is very different here and I have a lot to learn,” Lendoye said before graduation ceremony at Dieppe City Hall.
“In Gabon, you can start a business and think about all of the legal procedures later, but here you have to do your legal work, insurance and accounting done before you start the business,” he said.
“There is more to think about here. You have to be ready or your business may nor work.”
Lendoye has been working as a truck driver and his business idea will allow him to build on that experience. He would like to create a registry of drivers who are available to fill in on local and long-haul assignments.
“Companies are looking for relief drivers all of the time,” he said. “If we have a list, companies could call us to help out. It is a service that could grow.”
Karina Al Hejani, husband Ammar and four children moved to Greater Moncton from Syria four years ago and they are looking to establish language training for students who want to learn Arabic or Arabic speakers who want to learn English or French.
“I liked the course and found it very useful,” Karina said. “It was well-organized and I got a lot of information that I need to help the business.”
Vu Do, a Vietnamese newcomer who came to Greater Moncton about 18 months ago after moving from Mississauga, Ont., also praised the course.
“I like it here because people are friendly and life is not rushed like Ontario,” said Do, who wants to be involved in property sales. “This life is good and I think a lot of immigrants will come here for this kind of life. I would like to help the immigrants with their properties.”
Tanya Doucet, a commercial broker with Vienneau Insurance and one of the volunteer facilitators during the course, said the participants showed a lot of business knowledge.
“They were concerned about details and they asked a lot of questions,” Doucet said. “I am sure they will study what they learned and apply it to their businesses. These newcomers are going to bring a lot of positive energy to our communities. I enjoyed helping them.”