Bridging cultures with a new startup

Robert BeamishExploring and learning about different cultures may seem like a dream come true for some. An Economics and Business student has taken his intercultural experiences to launch a startup that seeks to connect Aboriginal communities and their resources to investors in Asia.

Robert Beamish is the Business Development Manager of Anokasan - a company that connects Aboriginal communities to Asian investors through natural resources, energy and infrastructure. Robert’s partner Evan Wilcox discovered the idea while working in Hong Kong and meeting with the Canadian Consulate. Their hope is to be the first choice for Canadian Aboriginal communities with an interest in natural resources, and serve as the primary creator of meaningful development partnerships for non-incumbent investors.

Robert credits UWaterloo for the support he received while building the startup. They received foundational support from the alumni community in Hong Kong through their critiques and listening to ideas. The team's idea even earned them top spot at the UWaterloo Alumni pitch competition in Beijing.

Back on campus in Waterloo, the first person Robert reached out to was Geoff Malleck, the Director of the International Trade Specialization. They also connected with St. Paul's GreenHouse and the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre, which has been important for gaining momentum and strengthening awareness of Anokasan and its mission.

Robert developed a passion for new cultures during his undergrad, learning new languages, and understanding different perspectives on the world. This experience has allowed Robert to work with his passion while enhancing his skills.

We are facilitating the bridging of two very different cultures and truly understanding both is key to being able to do that. Being a student in Economics and Business in the International Trade Specialization, I thought I would end up doing something in entrepreneurship not related to my studies. But Anokasan is able to cover my passions, skills and academics - I think I got really lucky there. -Robert Beamish

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