‘My hard work is paying off’: Immigrant woman in N.S. wins entrepreneurship award

October 29, 2020

By Salt Wire |

An immigrant woman who persevered after being unable to find work in her field and losing her restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic has come out on top — and she’s won an award to show for it.

On Wednesday, Shivani Dhamija was presented with the Immigrant Women Entrepreneurship Network Entrepreneur of the Year award during the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia’s Small Business Week event.

“I (couldn’t) believe it for one whole day, because I was always working and never expected that I’ll get an award,” said Dhamija inside Shivani’s Kitchen’s production plant in Windsor.

“But it’s great.”

Getting a start in the food industry

The journey to get here, however, did not come without its challenges, she noted.

Dhamija and her husband Abhishek Asthana immigrated to Canada from India in 2012.

After arriving in Nova Scotia, Dhamija was on the hunt for a job in her field: communications.

But for two years, she had no luck.

During that time, she took on multiple jobs, slinging french fries at McDonalds, working as a dishwasher and eventually landed a gig at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax.

While at the Canada Games Centre, Dhamija said her friend approached her one day and asked if she wanted to “make some extra bucks” working for a meal delivery service.

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