The story of Nazli

Nazli, when immigration rhymes with career change. With the help of the Foundation, she was able to start her business and receive business mentoring during a sailing trip.


When immigration rhymes with career change

Nazli is a resilient and inspiring woman who completed the Let’s Start Up Program — Entrepreneurship Stream in Toronto.  

Born in Iran, she aspired to become a teacher from an early age. After earning her Master’s in Teaching, she taught English as a foreign language for over 15 years. In 2019, Nazli decided to move to Canada to build a better future for herself and her family. Upon arriving in Toronto, she chose to begin a career change to obtain a position in administration. After six months of employment, she quickly realized that this world was not for her. As she was always passionate about teaching, Nazli went back to this profession… but the COVID-19 pandemic changed her prospects and undermined all her motivation. Trapped is the word that comes to her mind when she thinks about this period of her life. She had always been confident in her professional choices, but she felt lost, powerless and isolated: “I felt like I had lost my identity in this new country” she says. 

The Let’s Start Up program, a turning point in her life 

For some time now, a dream she cherished in her early twenties has reappeared: to start her own bakery catering business. However, fears and multiple worries prevented her from making a move. What would happen if her project failed, if she couldn’t attract customers, if she couldn’t manage her business finances? Going from teaching to offering bakery catering services, she was aware that these were two completely different worlds!  

In September 2021, Nazli discovered the Let’s Start Up program from the Lise Watier Foundation and it was a revelation! Lacking confidence, self-employment experience and entrepreneurial knowledge, the program was exactly what she was looking for to help her through this big transition. The program gave her access to relevant tools and exposure to risk taking, customer service, branding and networking. With a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye, she confirms that she now has a solid business plan, something she is very proud of! 

Continuing the development of your business on board the sailing boat EcoMaris

In June 2022, Nazli had the chance to receive entrepreneurial mentorship during a one-week stay on a sailboat. This experience offered by the Lise Watier Foundation in collaboration with EcoMaris was a great challenge, but today she is more than happy to have taken part. It allowed her to get out of her comfort zone, to apply the skills she had previously developed during the Let’s Start Up program and to meet women who had followed the program in other regions. 

I still remember the early days when I came to Canada: no friends, no job, and no recognition. I felt like I was in the middle of a desert, hopeless and desperate, until I discovered the Let’s Start Up Program. I am not alone anymore. This program has given me a direction to move forward in life and my business and for all that I am extremely grateful to the Lise Watier Foundation!

Today, Nazli is motivated more than ever to start her business and make it grow. She will soon receive her diploma from Concordia University, which certifies the successful completion of the Let’s Start Up – Entrepreneurship Stream program. She continues her entrepreneurial adventure with new skills, new friendships, and the confidence to fully embrace her professional project! 


Graduate of the Let’s Start Up Program

The Lise Watier Foundation offers the Let’s Start Up program in Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, the Laurentians and Montérégie. More than 200 women a year are committed to taking action through the Let’s Start Up program. They graduate with a better understanding of their strengths and skills, as well as the knowledge and tools to implement their professional project. Women thus begin a new journey towards financial independence through entrepreneurship, a return to school or a more fulfilling job.

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