New Canadian Jumps and Spins into Her Own Company

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by Shawn Mintz

At eight years old, Shirley Wang had given up on learning skating until entrepreneur and professional figure skater Wei (Cherry) Zheng offered to teach her some new techniques. Zheng at 15 years old was the sixth best figure skater across China. Today she is 43 years old and has been in Canada for one year. With limited English skills, she was unsure if she could find work here.

On the recommendation of her husband, she went to ACCES Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services and met with employment consultant Mufan Wang who saw her passion for skating and encouraged her to start a small business.

“I always feel self employment is a good option for many people,” Wang said.

Many newcomers to Canada are becoming increasingly interested in starting their own business. Following in Zheng’s footsteps and aligning your product or service with something that you are passionate about will boost your sales. Even if most of your business is conducted in your native language, continuing to learn English will help to broaden your markets. It is also wise to listen to advice and ideas from others. You never know who may come up with a great idea.

Being an entrepreneur can be exciting – each day can present a challenge and a new learning opportunity. It’s a known statistic that a lot of small businesses do not last over a year. This may be because some entrepreneurs expect to make money quickly. They are not prepared for the time it may take to make a profit and become established. For some, it is easier to give up than to keep trying. So if you love what you do and see potential in your business, keep going. Your efforts will pay off in the long run.

You can find Zheng’s figure skating classes at selected Scarborough community skating rinks, with students from ages five to 18. The rates are affordable and parents send their children not only to learn the art of skating, but also to enhance their Mandarin speaking skills. For further information about these classes call 416-261-0584 or e-mail

Shirley Wang has just completed her eleventh month of figure skating classes and says. “I love the spinning and my teacher.”

Shawn Mintz works for ACCES Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services that provides a wide range of free employment services for both job seekers and employers. 85 percent of their candidates are internationally educated. For further information call Toronto 416-921-1800 Scarborough 416-431-5326, Mississauga (905) 361-2522 or visit their website at

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