A Serendipitous Meeting

Chris Pelham is the former executive director of the Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Now retired and living in Tantallon, he is part of a group privately sponsoring refugees. The father of a family he helped sponsor works at a bakery in Bridgewater, had owned a bakery in Syria and wants to open a bakery here in Nova Scotia. Chris contacted ISANS Business Development Services in the hope that ISANS could support the client in his business goals, despite having limited English language skills. The client was referred to George Hanna, a Business Counsellor who speaks Arabic.

Several years ago George received training through the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. He was shown a tool, the Small Business Decision Making Model, that uses graphics to help entrepreneurs understand business decision-making processes. For one of his assignments, George transposed the tool into a canvas model with the goal of making it easier for immigrants to understand. The Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre liked it so much they adopted it. In 2015 they presented it at the National Canadian Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference (CCSBE) in partnership with the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. George’s canvas model was well received.

In June, Chris, George, and the client met face-to-face for the first time. During this meeting, George learned that it was Chris who had developed the Small Business Decision Making Model and Chris learned it was George who adapted the model. Best of all, they saw it in action together as they worked with their Syrian client.

Chris has a wealth of business experience that allows him to support the client behind the scenes. George is committed, understands of the newcomer experience and has Arabic language skills. The client’s employer allows him to use their kitchen to test market his products. Together they are champions for a more welcoming and inclusive province!