25 Year old Ariz Shafi, who moved to Brampton (Canada) at a very young age with his mother and sister for a better life. He was an immigrant in a whole new country that he knew nothing about. Ariz started working his first job at the age of 14. Throughout his school years he worked several jobs, from delivering newspapers, to working in factories to working at parks and retail. He noticed his mother needed support hence he knew he had to do something different. His mother, Zeenat Shafi is very well known in the education field and has contributed to several books on higher education. Ariz teamed up with his mother and sister to start their first business venture, Shafi Education. Neither one of them had any experience in business. However, Ariz’s uncle Asim Fehmi who is the owner of Fehmilights, has always been Ariz’s go to person till date. Fehmi Lights is one of the biggest wholesaler of crystal chandeliers in Toronto. With his guidance they were able to build Shafi Education into a house hold name. Shafi Education today caters to hundreds of students from all over the city. It is one of the only academic learning centre providing students with guaranteed improvement. Shafi Education also runs summer camps and many more activities for kids. All teachers at the academic learning centre are Ontario Certified and have a passion towards helping their students succeed. From Shafi Education, Ariz started several other businesses such as Detail Legends, Aja Investments, etc. He is a high believer in giving back to the less fortunate, every year Ariz makes it a point to provide meals for hundreds of people back home. Thousands of meals have been provided till date and Ariz aims to grow that number every year.
In your own words what do you do?
My main responsibilities include but are not limited to Brand creation, marketing, partnerships with various organizations to help the growth of business.
What led you to your current business?
Shafi Education was started due to my mother being a teacher. She was teaching at another learning center. I noticed a need in the market for highly trained teachers to provide an excellent after school program. It wasn’t easy as we dint have a huge amount of money to start. However, my family believed in me and we invested all that we had. We took a big risk at that point however we knew we would do whatever it takes to make it work.
Did you encounter any particular difficulties in the beginning and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest hurdle we got was finances, we got rejected for a loan from the bank due to our lack of business experience.
What is your long term plan?
Our long term plan is to grow Shafi Education into a brand that it will provide high level of educational services to students all over the country.
Could you share with us some industry insights?
The need for education after school is extremely important in the industry these days due to a high number of students in each class, teacher not giving that individualized attention. Every student is different, they have their own unique ways of learning. At an academic learning centre after school we are able to cater to their individualized needs. We create individualized programs for our students to ensure we give results.
What are some important lessons you’ve learnt about business?
In the business world, you need to develop rhino skin. You need to know exactly what your goal is and how you will get there. There will be friends lost, you will feel alone at times but you have to stay strong.
Any tips for achieving success?
One of my greatest tip would be, take advice from the right people. Associate yourself with people who have what you want in the future, people who have the experience, learn from them and that would help you grow. Never let your ego get in the way, EGO stands for Everyone’s Greatest Obstacle. If you are doing great its because of the people who have helped you, its due to your customers, your staff your team. If you are not doing great never blame anyone but yourself. Ask yourself how can you change this situation, what is it that you can change about yourself to ensure you do better. Never be scared of failure, fail forward and learn from your mistakes.
Whats your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Old Delhi (India), I completed middle school at Cambridge School in Delhi. I have a beautiful house in Delhi built on architecture. We recently renovated the mansion and also built a beautiful rooftop café called The Walled City Café.