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Find your passion and the rest will follow

Sara Barreto is conquering our city's streets, one waffle at a time.

When Sara Barreto first arrived in Canada from Colombia, she couldn’t speak English. Today, she’s an innovative business owner with a new favourite word: waffles.
 
Only a year a half after coming to Canada, Barreto won VentureQuest, the College’s business competition. Now, she has opened a food truck for WafflePops, the business idea that earned her the top spot at VentureQuest. 

But before Barreto achieved these milestones, she studied in the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement here at the College. She took Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), and Youth in Transition. 

When she told her instructors that she wanted to participate in VentureQuest, they all encouraged her to do it. So they didn’t just help her with her English, they supported her as she pursued her bigger goals. 

It’s no surprise this ambitious entrepreneur believes in the power of working hard. That’s the very advice she gives to learners entering English Language Learning courses. “Work hard every day no matter what,” she says.

That means practicing your English a lot. “Don’t go home and speak your original language. Listen to music in English. Go out with people who speak English,” she says. 

She adds to take advantage of what the College has to offer. “It’s a really good opportunity to have access to the teachers, and all the facilities that Bow Valley College gives to newcomers.”

Another trick to feeling more comfortable speaking the language? Find your passion. When asked if she ever finds it difficult to communicate with her food truck customers, Barreto says no. “When I’m making the waffles, and when I’m talking to my customers, I’m feeling so good. I love what I’m doing. I love it.” 

So when she’s happy, her English comes more naturally. 

Next, Barreto is setting her sights on hiring staff. “When I came to Canada, I said to myself, ‘You’re not going to Canada to take a job. You’re going to give jobs,’” she says. 

Barreto credits her innovative mindset to her parents, who are both entrepreneurs. But her unwavering devotion to hard work? That’s something anyone can learn. “It hasn’t been as easy as I thought,” she says. “But I’m happy. This is what I love to do.”

   
 

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