The Hadhad Family | 2017 Recipient of the Startup Canada Newcomer Entrepreneur Award
“The way to reach your goal is the least important thing.”
Tareq Hadhad, the founder of Peace by Chocolate, moved to Canada in December 2015 as a Syrian newcomer.
Having studied medicine at Damascus University and before joining the medical relief efforts for Syrian refugees with UNHCR and World Health Organization, Tareq arrived in Lebanon in 2013 as a refugee himself.
Passionate about peace and youth entrepreneurship, he and his family started their company “Peace by Chocolate” in Antigonish, Nova Scotia to sponsor global peace building projects and support the local economy through job creation.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
TH: As newcomer, I found entrepreneurship my language to innovate, contribute and give back to Canada.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
TH: Startup businesses are tough to manage, but you will learn one thousand steps forward everyday even if you are failing. It is important to identify your key differentiator.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
TH: Life is like a mountain, the summit is the success. You should target the summit but you shouldn’t forget the mountain which is the challenges you will face. The way to reach your goal is the least important thing.
SN: What is the one thing you think we need to do as a nation, today, to position Canada as a global innovation and entrepreneurial leader?
TH: We need to give opportunities equally across the nation for those who are in rural places as well as focusing on building bridges between the newcomers and their right opportunities.
SN: What is your vision for the next 150 years?
TH: A happier earth with a more peaceful world. Canada is the international leader of entrepreneurship and innovation.
SN: What is your message to the world?
TH: Social innovation is the answer to many of the world’s issues.
SN: How have you benefited from being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards?
TH: The award told me to continue, it told me that the start was the beginning of something and that something more beautiful is coming. It gave me huge push forward and boosted my self confidence knowing that there are agencies in this country supporting my success. My family and I were mentioned on five international media reports for winning the award and we couldn’t be more honored to receive tons of messages from other newcomers saying our award also inspired them to work hard and be grateful.
SN: What are the key policy areas you are looking to affect?
TH: Youth power and openness by offering opportunities for everyone.