GBC alumni receives immigrant entrepreneur award

Roza Diaz recognized for her contributions to improve the lives of newcomers

Rosa Diaz, a George Brown College (GBC) business and marketing alumni was awarded an Immigrant Entrepreneur honour from the County of Simcoe for her contributions in improving the lives of newcomers.

Her company, Road Map to Canada Immigration Services, helps individuals and families navigate the process of immigrating to Canada.

As an immigrant and past international student herself, Diaz wanted to start a company where she could see the impact of her work.

“I was an immigrant as well, I could understand the challenge and I like helping people,” said Diaz.

The Newcomer Recognition Award came as a surprise to Diaz, who initially thought they were calling her about an opportunity to work together.

Diaz attributes much of her success to her active volunteer work in her community of Barrie and Simcoe County.

“Helping the community, I’ve been working very hard at that,” said Diaz. “The mission of my company has always been helping people and helping newcomers.”

Last year she worked with immigrants at GBC’s career centre, and speaks highly of the college, often recommending it to prospective international students.

“You make those kind of connections, even peer connections, that help you in the future,” she said regarding the college’s environment. Location is a factor too. Diaz said that the buzzing downtown Toronto location is inspiring to those who have come here with a dream of a better life.

Rosa Diaz received the Immigrant Entrepreneur award at a ceremony hosted by the County of Simcoe

Vimal, an international student from India in the information system business analysis program, agrees with Diaz, saying he chose GBC for both its curriculum and the optimum location.

He said that when he first came to Canada in January, he was not used to the extreme winter climate, but that he could “feel the warmth” in the people and friends he met in his first days at orientation.

Vimal, who is the Casa Loma campus director on the board of college’s Student Association (SA) added that the college did a great job with connecting him, and gave him “confidence that this is a place where I can be open with my thoughts, ideas, concerns.”

For Vimal, one of his challenges in migrating to Canada was securing a job.

“International students will not find a job easily outside (the college). They don’t know anybody else. It may be easier for a domestic student because they may have a connection,” he said.

He is calling on the college to provide opportunities to assist international students with job connections, considering the higher fees and tuition they are required to pay.

Vimal says he will likely start his career in Canada, due to the skills he has learned that are relevant to the local labour market.

The Canadian Bureau for International Education states that in 2018, 51% of international students plan to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada—but it’s not an easy process.

This is where Diaz comes in. She runs workshops on applying for PR and work permits, also working with various resource centres and an English academy in Barrie.

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GBC alumni receives immigrant entrepreneur award