12 Asian Entrepreneurs We’re Celebrating this Month
“It’s an honour just to be Asian.” - Sandra Oh
In May 2002, the Government of Canada officially declared May as Asian Heritage Month. This month and every other month, is an opportunity for us to amplify, read, reflect, recognize, celebrate, support, and engage with Asian-Canadian culture. Inspired by this year’s theme of “Continuing a legacy of greatness”, we’re excited to share with you some of our favourite Asian-Canadian entrepreneurs and why we love them.
Nas Neufeld, Kwan Rujira, Off Suriya – Thyme Studio
Your one stop shop for florals and more
Thyme Studio started when co-founder Nas needed a flower bouquet for her wedding in Toronto. To her joy, Kwan jumped at the occasion and offered to create the bouquet. Thyme Studio specializes in crafting dreamy, unconventional, off-beat arrangements through seasonal florals. Beyond their grab & go bouquets, customizable bouquets, and their Floret Boxes, Thyme Studio creates unique items for weddings, events, and special occasions. We love Nas, Kwan, and Off because they created an amazing company that was born out of talent and passion!
Varun, Arati, and Deepika Sharma – Ghlee
“Rooted in tradition and guided by intention, our mission is to create effective solutions with a simple ingredient list.”
Ghlee is a modern-day beauty brand aimed at keeping their ancestors close. Siblings Varun, Arati, and Deepika followed their mother's advice and tried a staple ingredient in South Asian kitchens to soothe chapped lips: Ghee. With help from their father, the transformation of the kitchen staple to skincare was made. We love Varun, Arati and Deepika because they came together as a family with their parents to provide clean skincare derived from cuisines in South and South-East Asia.
Komal Minhas – Executive Coach, Angel Investor, Writer, Interviewer, and more
“We don’t rise through adversity alone. We do it surrounded my people who truly believe in us and our abilities - our community is our lifeline.”
Re-building her life after overcoming cancer and a neurological illness, Komal leads a fulfilling and impact-driven career. As an interviewer and coach, she has interviewed a number of impressive people – her favourite being with Michelle Obama in 2019. Komal cultivates soulful conversations with her interviewees through stories of resilience, growth, and the ways people rise and thrive in life and work. A philanthropist at heart, Komal prioritizes increasing access to education and to hygienic menstrual products and facilities for girls in rural Punjab, India. Komal has also invested in women-led businesses such as Live Tinted, The Helm Co, iFundWomen, and more. We love Komal because she has built an incredible business and life led with purpose and resiliency while inspiring others.
Combining expertise and experience in the world of wine
Founder of the Quvé Group, a sales and marketing firm, and e-commerce brand, Debbie Shing took her 20 years of experience and expertise to start her venture. Debbie is a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 4 graduate and Certified WSET Instructor with a specialization in sales, marketing, events and public relations. She created Quvé with the goal to showcase wine alongside culture and wellness to cultivate a balanced lifestyle. Speaking six languages and rooted in culture, she has a distinct multicultural sensibility that adds character, depth and authenticity to her work. We love Debbie because she is an expert in her field and has created a way to elevate the voices of unique and thoughtful producers and brands.
Charlene & Vincent Li - Eatable
Changing the popcorn industry
Born out of frustration by the lack of clean, yet flavourful packaged snacks and a love for spirits, Charlene and Vincent created EATABLE. The food brand creates a luxurious and refined snacking experience for modern connoisseurs, made with real ingredients and 100% all-natural gourmet popcorn featuring alcohol-infused flavours inspired by classic cocktails, wine, and spirits. Charlene and Vincent are spirit enthusiasts who bonded during a Toronto wine-tasting class. Their new venture combines their two loves: snacking + alcohol. We love Charlene & Vincent because of their goals, ambitions, and creativity to change the traditional popcorn game.
These two are not your average couple.
Owners of Toronto’s best Thai restaurants such as PAI, Sabai Sabai, Kiin, and more. Chef Nuit curates all the delicious dishes served while husband and business partner, Jeff Regular, runs service and hospitality. The couple met in Pai, Thailand, opening up The Curry Shack before moving to Toronto. The Regulars have opened Torontonians' favourite Thai restaurants including Sukhothai, Khao San Road, Sabai Sabai, PAI, and Kiin. They have been awarded by the Royal Thai Government in recognition of restaurants that represent an authentic culinary image and unique character of Thai food. In Ontario, only four restaurants have ever received this recognition, and the Regulars’ restaurants are three of them. We love this power couple, Chef Nuit and Jeff, because they have intentionally divided and conquered their skills to master their industry.
These entrepreneurs and businesses are just a few of our favourites that we wanted to highlight. We’re inspired by the passion and resilience of these founders that led them to translate their creativity into thriving businesses.
What other Asian-Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses inspire you?
(Image description: Picture with a dark blue background with textured motifs from across Asia)