RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants ‘Where are they now?’ Series: Akram Al-Otumi
April 20, 2018
By Canadian Immigrants Magazine |
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, we are looking back at some of the past honourees over the years in this special “Where are they now” series.
Spotlight on Akram Al-Otumi (RBC Top 25, 2014)
Since receiving Canadian Immigrant’s RBC Top 25 award in 2014, Akram Al-Otumi has been busy growing his business — actually, now businesses — in Halifax. His first entrepreneurial venture, Azal Student Agency, launched to assist students in settling in Canada has evolved to become Spritely Technologies — an online platform that connects newcomers and tourists with experts in the city to help make the transition to life in a new place or visiting a new city easier, faster, fun and less stressful.
And Al-Otumi’s entrepreneurialism hasn’t stopped there. “In addition to Spritely, I have developed a company called 3D next, which offers 3D printers, equipment and consulting services on 3D printing technology. I have also started a company for business consulting called Al-Otumi Consulting,” he says.
A far cry from Al-Otumi’s first wobbly steps in Canada. Having arrived as a teenager with limited English language skills and a shy demeanour, he found his initial experience in his adopted country pretty isolating. He found comfort in shared experiences from other international students and newcomers who faced similar challenges and that’s when Azal Student Agency was born.
Since then, Al-Otumi has garnered several prestigious awards and even upgraded his education. Having recently completed his master’s in technology entrepreneurship and innovation at Saint Mary’s University, he is one project away from finishing his second master’s in interdisciplinary studies focusing on business leadership and systems thinking at Royal Roads University.
A key player in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nova Scotia, Al-Otumi has been recognized for his efforts with the Provincial Representative Award from the Province of Nova Scotia and the Enactus John Dobson Fellow Award, among others. But the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award remains close to his heart.
“Receiving the Top 25 award was such an incredible honour. As a self-made newcomer entrepreneur, it helped me to integrate further and decide to continue building businesses and ventures in Canada. Receiving this type of distinguished recognition fuelled my energy to continue to give back to the community, and to continue to work on the projects that are helping our community. I felt empowered and inspired to do more,” he says.
Final question: Who of the other Top 25 immigrants we’ve honoured in the past have inspired or made an impact on you?
“Every person who has received the designation as a Top 25 Canadian Immigrant has truly inspired me. However, if I had to choose one individual in particular, I would have to say Arlene Dickinson. Arlene is someone who very much inspires me, as she is highly entrepreneurial, and a very powerful woman in business who has built her own empire from the ground up, and who deserves a lot of respect.”