Adrian Chu (Chu Ming Yan), his partner Gloria and their son moved from Hong Kong less than a year ago. It was a long immigration journey.
Adrian applied to the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP) Regional Pilot in Penticton and met all the requirements of establishing a viable business in Penticton. Then, it was a waiting game.
It took Adrian around two and a half years to receive his work permit in the midst of the pandemic.
Back in Hong Kong, Adrian worked as an IT professional for over 20 years, after completing his studies in the United States. He worked a lot but tried to find time to play basketball and golf, swim and cycle. He used to participate in running marathons as well. But his favourite activity has been gaming.
“I met Gloria online. It took a while... but we get along pretty well,” chuckles Adrian. Gloria worked as an Office Manager and now is helping Adrian with his business.
Adrian’s decision to immigrate to Canada was influenced by many factors besides the obvious desire to provide a safe and secure life for his family. He really enjoyed his life in the U.S. while studying there and appreciated life/work balance and multiple opportunities for sports and recreational activities.
While exploring various immigration programs, Adrian found that there were very few provinces and communities that offered opportunities for IT professionals. Penticton was the first choice because of its beautiful environment and development allowing it to establish a sustainable business.
“It was a long process to settle here. Through online search we found out that housing was the hardest part. Not many places were available at the time, but we got lucky. Because of the time difference, I had to make multiple midnight calls to property managers in Penticton, and somehow, we found a rental apartment. It was really lucky because we would have spent thousands staying at an Airbnb for weeks looking for a permanent place,” explains Adrian.
When the family arrived in Penticton in May 2022, they didn’t know anybody, and had to figure out a lot of things on their own – how to apply for IDs, where to buy a car.
“We needed local IDs to buy cellphones and those took weeks to get. We didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere. Sometimes it took hours. Luckily, it was nice and warm,” Adrian adds.
Purchasing a car made their lives much easier. They found a nice bright office on Martin street, and the property manager connected them with the contractors to help renovate the office.
“The hardest part was ordering furniture. Delivery was just horrible. They had to deliver twice because they said there was no parking, so they just left. And then I had to re-arrange the delivery again.”
Adrian’s advice to newcomers is to do a lot of research about Canadian systems before arriving, which will speed up the settlement process.
Adrian created the name for his company ACZZLE, to sound like axel – an integral part of a vehicle that works in the background. It is not visible or flashy, but without it, a car won’t move. Just like Information Technology solutions. Businesses can’t function without them.
ACZZLE offers system integration, cloud solutions allowing you to access your files anywhere anytime, technical support for home and office, servicing hardware and servers, as well as security systems.
“I am also pretty good at physical security systems, such as cameras, alarms, and detection systems for retail. I heard there are a lot of thefts going on in the retail sector. So, I hope to use my knowledge and over five years of experience working with Ralph Lauren to help local businesses protect their assets and reduce losses," says Adrian.
It’s been a slow start for ACZZLE, but Adrian has been actively working on building his professional network by joining the Penticton Chamber of Commerce and attending business events.
“These events are a great opportunity to meet other business owners. I've been able to practice talking about my company and what I do. And through this, I hope I will be more comfortable talking about my business," he says.
Adrian misses his family and friends, and, like most newcomers, he misses ethnic food – the authentic tastes and a wide variety of cuisines.
“I don’t know why people say that living in Western countries is boring. I have no time for anything," adds Adrian with a big smile. “But I still find time to play sports and have fun gaming with my friends online. Our child is definitely much happier here as well. He’s made a lot of friends, plays sports, and doesn’t have homework. Every day he goes to school to play and enjoy his childhood, which is lovely.”
“This is the life I want. I imagine myself getting retired here. Maybe having a vintage car that I could work on, and drive around. Have fun and enjoy life.”
This profile, written by Elmira Galiyeva, is a part of the Community Champions campaign of the South Okanagan-Similkameen Local Immigration Partnership (SOSLIP). The Partnership project is led by the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (SOICS), which provides a range of services for newcomers to the region. The article was previously published on Castanet.