ISANS Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards 2021

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of this year’s ISANS Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards. Presentation of the awards took place virtually and in person at our Small Business Week event on October 20th at the Halifax Public Library.
The recipients and honorable mentions are the following for each award categories:

Innovative Business of the Year

Winner: Graphite Innovation and Technologies Inc.

“We feel immense pleasure and gratitude to be selected for this award. We are so fortunate to call Nova Scotia home – we can’t think of a better place to start and grow a business! It’s always nice to have our teams hard work be recognized by others and we appreciate ISANS efforts to help build a better future for Nova Scotia.” Marciel Gaier

Honorable Mention: SmartMed Inc.

“ISANS Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards shows that the community appreciates the hard work that is done by immigrants and wants to help them increase their visibility and network.” Arman Izadi

Honorable Mention: Cafmotel Technologies Inc

“Getting recognition from ISANS have put a zeal in me to push myself to do more than what I was expecting earlier.” Rohit Wanchoo


IWEN Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner: Funmilayo Odeniyi founder of MichNat Fashion 

“To my business, it shows that the community is watching and also appreciates what we are doing which aligns with our goal of multi-culturalism, diversity and innovation. For me personally, this win is a testament to dedication, commitment, perseverance, hard and smart work and passion for the job. At a point of giving up, this gives a kind of hope, catalyst and motivation to keep pushing up.”

Honorable Mention: Mufaro Chakabuda founder of Maritime Centre for African Dance Inc. (MCADInc) 

“This award is so meaningful to me because when no one believed in our business YOU did. 15 years ago, back when I was a graduate student fresh from University You were my first YES and I will always be appreciative of this! I knew no one in the community, no connections but ISANS provided a home and leveraged the business through advice and guidance.”

Honorable Mention: Temiloluwa Opemipo Ologbenla, Temi Bakes 

“It was such a pleasant surprise to be recognized by ISANS and the community. I truly appreciate the acknowledgment and the lovely certificate and Halifax Chamber of Commerce membership that I was presented with. Thanks ISANS for always being in my corner.”

Honorable Mention: Yoko Irisawa founder of Iris Linguistic Agencies 

“I would like to thank ISANS for holding such a wonderful Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Event of the year yesterday. I was lucky to be able to attend the event in-person and could meet with many immigrant entrepreneurs who are contributing to make the HRM colourful with their ideas from all different cultural backgrounds to contribute to the economy of the HRM. It was very nice to meet with my business counsellor, Mai Alnabhan, and all the nice team members who have been helping us to start business, educate, and support immigrant entrepreneurs at ISANS.”


Small Business of the Year

Winner: Sparrow Acoustics founder Nadia Ivanova

A local recognition means a lot for our company. We are trying to build a large corporation here in Nova Scotia and it’s very important to know how supportive our community is, it gives us strength to move forward and one more time shows that what we do is important for people of Canada.

Honorable Mention: Mr. Gonzales Mexican Cuisine

“The Honourable Mention to Mr. Gonzalez Mexican Cuisine for being the “Small Business of the Year”, means that years of hard work, and tireless effort no matter the circumstances pays off.  We have done things the right way, the Canadian way. It is thanks to the support of my Family, our people of Yarmouth and all or our People from all over Canada who have enjoyed our dishes. It is an honour to me. I feel very grateful. Thank you ISANS!” Leo Gonzales


“It is my pleasure to help international students know this beautiful place Nova Scotia and guide them come to study and live. Thanks, ISANS! Providing so much useful advice and resources to newcomers!” Iven He

Honorable Mention: Rapid Wheels Mobile Tire Services Inc. 

“It is very special to receive this Honourable Mention from ISANS for the Small Business Award of the Year, especially considering the number of successful businesses which were in the running!” Rafael Thomas

The ISANS Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards recognize the positive impact immigrant small businesses have made on our prospering Nova Scotian economy. They celebrate the talent, dedication, and success of immigrant small businesses in Nova Scotia.