World entrepreneurs

International students have launched 14 businesses through incubator SURGE since 2018

International students are finding all they need at Mohawk College to begin and sustain their entrepreneurial journeys.

Many international students come from families with family businesses, says Anuraj Bajwa, Dean, International and Partnerships.

“Often the entrepreneurial mindset is already there and they’ve grown up in it.”

These students may want to return to their home country to work in that business or to start something of their own in Canada. So a growing focus on entrepreneurship through the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SURGE and embedded curriculum will attract more international students to Mohawk, says Bajwa.

He points out that international students or alumni have started 14 businesses through Mohawk’s incubator SURGE since 2018.

That includes Jatin Verma’s financial services brokerage World Financial Group. A graduate of Health, Wellness and Fitness in 2015, Verma says a life coach opened his eyes to the entrepreneurial world.

Verma decided to pursue finance and two and a half years after earning his licence, he’s got offices in Stoney Creek, Scarborough, Alberta and British Columbia.

Verma says students will benefit from a grounding in entrepreneurship within their courses at Mohawk.

“Being an entrepreneur requires self-discipline and motivation. You have to be the voice that drives you and you have to be willing to keep working on yourself.”

Abhishek Soni graduated in 2016 but still calls on his mentor for advice about his Smartphone leasing business.

It started out as a phone leasing kiosk at the college and grew into three locations at colleges and universities. But Mobélease pivoted during the pandemic into a downtown Hamilton business focused highly on cell phone activations and mobile device repair services.

The plan is to return to campuses, says Soni, but in the midst of the pandemic, he was scared about the future.

“Initial days of Mobélease I was thinking about going back to India and joining the family business but my mentor encouraged me to keep trying. She motivated me. SURGE has played a vital role in our success.”