Who is your current role model?
My biggest role model at the moment is Kasey Dunn, she is the program
lead at ICUBE, and one of my best friends. Not only is she a kind and loving leader, but she is also extremely patient and never takes anything personally.
She has had a very successful entrepreneurship history, and now she is again going back into that lifestyle by co-founding HopePetFood that just recently won $7,500, all while working full time, and continuing her study towards her Master’s program.
How did your journey start?
When the internet started becoming available through dial-up in our city in my hometown, Shiraz, Iran, I was very excited to start seeing what I can do with it.
First by making a Gmail account, then by starting to make my own blog on blogger.com. After a year or so of just making themes for myself, I decided to make my own website that would offer prebuilt templates and themes for free to people that just want something fun like me.
Fast forward to the day that Iran’s relationship with the USA got worst, this nationwide “problem” caused my dad to lose his job. That was when my family decided that we need to move out of the country, not only because there aren’t any jobs anymore, but also they were scared of any potential wars and didn’t want me to go to war, as military services are required in my country.
We were told that it would take over 5 years for the applications to get processed, and I needed to leave the country before the age of 16, or I would have gotten stuck in the country.
We instead decided to go to Malaysia, at that time, Iranians were able to easily get a Malaysian visa for 5 years, so we ended up getting that and moved out of the country next summer. Due to moving to Malaysia, we were able to move our Canadian application, and that speeded up the processing from 5 years to 3 years, giving me the opportunity to improve my English, diversify my experiences, and learn about other people’s culture.
Now, I am in Canada, I came here in 2015, and took my previous experiences, and made my first Canadian company in 2016.
What helped you get into your Job at ICUBE?
Ever since I came to Canada, I told myself that my parents did their great job of raising me, giving me a safe place to sleep, and providing me with a better life in Canada. Now it was my time to grow, become independent, and pay them back for all they did for me. Because of that, I got my very first job in the summer of 2016 as a cashier at Burger King and worked there until I graduated high school and decided to come to UTM.
As soon as I started university, I managed to get a job on campus within 2 weeks as a marketing coordinator at a club, but the pay wasn’t very good, and I kept on applying for different jobs on campus. One campus organization that really caught my eyes when I was looking for a better job was ICUBE. The reason for that was when I heard that they help
entrepreneurs and business owners (by the way, at that time, I had still no idea what entrepreneur is and who they are).
I got called in for an interview! First of all, I learned that being confident and showing you know what you doing really helps the interviewer to start trusting you and believing in you. I told them, “I can make a better website for you, hire me because I am talented”.
My interviewer was really interested, but I accidentally said “Oh yes I also have my own company” and he got even more interested.
That really helped my application at ICUBE, as not only did it show that I know what I am doing, but I was also ICUBE’s client!
How did you go about building your professional network in Canada?
ICUBE really helped. Before getting my first professional job, I didn’t care much about having a network, but when I started at ICUBE, I realized that it is very important to start building one and that was when I started making my LinkedIn and started bugging people to add me. Every time I had meetings or workshops at ICUBE I would ask everyone or scream out forcing people to add me on LinkedIn hahaha.
Also due to my role and job at ICUBE, after a point, people needed my help and started to find me on LinkedIn and followed me, and that also really helped to build my professional network.
What’s your advice for international students looking to become sponsored within Canada?
While I was privileged enough to come to Canada with Permanent Residency handed out to me, I do help a lot of my friends that are interested to come to Canada plan for their applications. I would say, if
you are looking to get sponsored in Canada, don’t only consider your education and grades. There is simply too much competition there, and you need a very high mark for that and tuns of luck. Look into other opportunities to get sponsored, or even try to find a way to sponsor yourself. Try to build yourself a great portfolio that doesn’t just include schoolwork, because that’s how companies and sponsors find
talent, not marks. Secondly, sponsorship doesn’t have to come from a professor or university, look to see if there are any companies in Canada that are willing to hire you and instead give you a work visa instead.
Finally, I always recommend my talented entrepreneurial fellows to apply for a Startup Visa!
A Startup Visa is the fastest way you can get your hands on a visa to Canada aside from a student visa that requires high grades.
How did you start making friends when you first landed in Canada?
I would say, I am a very introverted person, so I was very lucky that on my first day of school some of my classmates started introducing themselves to me and tried to get to know me. Also in high school, I was the tech god, and I was given the great opportunity to run a team of students and teach them everything I know about technology, and that also really helped me make some very amazing friends that I talk to even today.
Are there any common mistakes you see International Students making or have made yourself looking back?
It is important for students to participate in clubs and organizations outside of just classes.
I think one common mistake made by many students is that they don’t actually know their rights and what they can and cannot do. While as international students you are limited by many things, you are still allowed to take advantage of your time here in Canada to gain valuable experiences. So don’t just come to Canada to study because that would have no value what so ever for your future.
Try to build your own empire as much as you can, even though it maybe just for 3-4 years.
Thank you 🙏 Moe, for sharing your experience with MangoVisa.