‘Entrepreneurship is in my blood’
Anurag Aggarwal may have come to Canada by chance, but he brought his entrepreneurial spirit with him.
Mr. Aggarwal, 34, was born and raised in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh in northern India. He studied at the Baba Farid university of Health Science in Punjab and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in homoeopathy.
Like his father before him, Mr. Aggarwal promptly opened a business in his hometown. “entrepreneurship is in my blood. No one in my family has ever worked for anyone else, so starting my own business came naturally,” he says.
After spending three years building his health and wellness clinic in India, Canada came calling in the person of his future wife. “I had no plans to move anywhere,” Mr. Aggarwal says, “but my girlfriend, who I had met at university, persuaded me that Canada was the place to be. We moved to British Columbia in September 2009 and got married.”
They planned to open a health and wellness clinic in their new hometown of Surrey, B.C. But it took a year for his credentials to be validated. during that time he studied Canada’s business environment and worked for a security company where he learned about customer service and the Canadian culture.
“I gained a lot by working on the front line with people and recommend that everyone who comes here from a different country take the time to understand the culture and the way that business is conducted,” he says.
He also connected with Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) a non-profit organization that provides a range of education, employment and social programs to immigrants, seniors and others. Through PICS, he learned about the Canadian youth Business Foundation (CyBF) who provide business assistance and funding to entrepreneurs under the age of 40, including newcomers.
“It takes time and money to start a new business in Canada, but there is a lot of help to get you going,” says Mr. Aggarwal. “PICS provided connections and funding for advanced courses and CyBF provided a business mentor and startup financing.”
His persistence and passion for his chosen profession paid off. Today, Aggarwal Health and Wellness Centre in Surrey, B.C. is thriving. Since opening its doors in early 2011, the clinic has doubled in square footage and is triple the size of his original business in India. He has a business partner, Swami Aggarwal (no relation) who is also his personal mentor, and one employee. Services have expanded from homeopathic consultation and medicines to include yoga sessions, personalized diet and nutrition programs, and a retail store selling organic mineral supplements.
Canada is a good place to do business, he says. “Canadians are very conscious of their health and it is a wealthy nation. People appreciate and can afford the services that we offer.”
It is also an honest, open and organized place to do business, he says, and he gives the banking system high marks. “I love the banking here. It is very easy and you can even bank over your cellphone. It is well organized, takes less time, and response and customer service are very good.”
It’s not just the business environment in Canada that he enjoys. The weather and mountains on the West Coast remind him of his former home, emergency services are available when needed, and Canadians are a welcoming people, he says. “I like everything about Canada.”
Suffice to say, citizenship is on the near horizon. Mr. Aggarwal expects to gain his Canadian citizenship in 2014. His wife will gain hers in July of this year. “I am looking forward to building the business over the coming years and continuing to give back to the country that has adopted me,” he says.
The Aggarwals not only started a new life and a new business in Canada, they started a family. Their daughter was born here in July, 2010 — on Canada day.
Business owner Anurag Aggarwal calls Canada “a good place to do business.”