Chamber News

Former Syrian chocolatier is Chamber lunch and learn guest speaker

TRURO – One of Canada’s newest residents and an inspiring young entrepreneur will be the guest speaker at a Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce lunch and learn Feb. 1 at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro.

Tareq Hadhad, owner of the Antigonish-based business, Peace by Chocolate, along with his father Assam and mother Shahenaz, will share his family’s personal journey from war-torn Damascus, Syria, to a refugee camp in Lebanon then starting a new life in Canada.

“Tareq and his family have overcome unimaginable dangers and challenges to flee their native Syria and start a new life here in Canada,” says Chamber president Andrew Lake. “His resilience and determination has extended to the opening of a chocolate shop in Antigonish that employs a number of individuals. His story demonstrates the value that immigration offers to the cultural and economic prosperity of the province and country.”

The Hadhad family once owned a thriving chocolatier business in Syria employing 30 people, many of whom fled Syria with them in 2013. Tareq was the first member of his family to arrive in Canada in late 2015, followed soon after by others, where they began to quickly rebuild their lives surrounded by strong community support in their new hometown of Antigonish.

The family opened the now nationally acclaimed Peace by Chocolate in August 2016 in a small shed built by volunteers and they are already in expansion mode. Last November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the family’s story at a UN summit on refugees and personally stopped by the newly opened business.

In addition to guest speaker Hadhad, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Immigration, Lena Metlege Diab, will provide an update about the province’s support of refugees and Darrell Kuhn, president and CEO of Community Credit Union will speak about its small business financing/loan guarantee program, a joint initiative of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia, local credit unions and Nova Scotia Economic Development, which supported the Hadhad family in their entrepreneurial activities.

The cost to attend is $20 plus HST for members, $25 plus HST for future chamber members. The event will begin at noon (12 p.m.) To reserve a seat contact the chamber office at 902-895-6328 or email [email protected].