Allan Gao moved to Prince Edward Island with his wife and son from Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China in July 2013. Before they came to PEI, they stayed in Toronto for a year and a half, where the son went to a local elementary school. Allan thinks that compared to Toronto, the community in PEI is safer and quieter, and the landscape more beautiful. He and his wife agreed that PEI offers better environment for their son to grow up. The family enjoys their life in PEI. They go fishing and swimming in the summer and go skiing and hiking in the winter.
When Allan first arrived in PEI, he found there is an information gap between the Chinese immigrant community and the local community. Often times, new immigrants fail to obtain essential information like when they should have their vehicle registration renewed, where they can find storm cancellations, or what and where events are being held. This can get very frustrating and costly to the immigrants. On the other hand, local businesses couldn’t reach out to immigrant market due to culture and communication barrier. As a result, in June 2014, Allan started a non-for-profit Wechat (a free social application) page, called “Enjoy PEI”, as a platform to share helpful tips and resources to immigrants in PEI. After 8 months of work, “Enjoy PEI” now has over 1600 subscribers who receives daily dose of useful information sent to their mobile devices. These subscribers include newcomers who now reside in PEI, and people who are not residents in PEI but share an interest in moving to PEI. Allan attends PEI Connectors’ workshops and information sessions frequently and learned about how to start a business in PEI, how to promote the business, and other things. He also received advices from the program officers and connectors in PEI Connectors Program.
With the audience base keeping to grow, Allan has made “Enjoy PEI” part of his business and is planning to branch into advertisement/website designing, marketing and application development service. The official website for his business is now online (edwardnewtech.ca) while the website for Enjoy PEI is being constructed. The company currently hires two newcomers, Eileen and Amy, for business development and bookkeeping. Allan plans to hire additional local employees for marketing and administrative work as the business grows.