While in Iran, the founders of Coursana Canada — Peyman Fattahieh, Maria Hashemi Amiri, Mohamed Rohani and Mohammadreza Alishahian — recognized that proper qualifications were critical for attracting employers and that online courses could make it possible for migrants to garner the right qualifications from wherever they might reside. Starting as an online academic institution for migrants from varying countries, Coursana soon changed direction from an online educational institution to an online platform offering various certified courses. They then turned their sights to Canada, knowing it had many immigrants that would benefit from learning and acquiring certificates remotely.
In 2019, Coursana completed the Pioneer Program through Spark Centre’s sister company, Synergy Lab, where they learned how to narrow their target market to that which would impact sales the most. Coursana first heard about Spark Centre during the Pioneer Program and decided to apply to Spark Centre through the Start-Up Visa program.
“During the Pioneer Program, we received much positive feedback from other startups who were working with Spark Centre, and its personnel left an excellent impression.” says co-founder Peyman Fattahieh, “We decided to continue our journey with Spark Centre, and we are very happy we made that choice.”
Acceptance into the Start-Up Visa Program is only the beginning of launching and establishing an international business in Canada. There are many other facets of the business to consider as well, and Coursana Canada realized that they required guidance to lay the proper foundation for the success of their company.
“Initially, we needed Spark Centre to support us through Start-Up Visa as an international company in Canada, but this was only the start of their support.” Fattahieh says, “Since we had signed up with them, we received more support services and information than we could have imagined.”
“Spark Centre not only helped us to register our company and establish a financial foundation, but they also guided us through the proper way to run a business in Canada and related practices like taxation rules and regulations.” Fattahieh adds, “Spark Centre also provided us with workshops that were valuable for targeting new markets and attracting new customers and helped us to implement an effective CRM system.”
Coursana is a prime example of the success that international startups can achieve in Canada with the proper support. Having landed in Canada in 2021, the Founders are proud to be Permanent Residents in the country today and have since experienced a steady trajectory of growth. Not only has Coursana secured vital collaborations with numerous colleges and course providers like Evergreen College, ITD Canada and Lead Academy, but they have also introduced additional features to their platform, including a mobile app. With more than 5000 courses offered on the platform and having been named by Paradiso as one of the Top Canadian eLearning companies, Coursana has come a long way from a startup in Iran to a Canadian leader in online career development and e-learning.
Peyman Fattahieh had this to say when asked what advice he had for fellow international startups: “To run a new startup in Canada (or any other country), there are many barriers and complications. But never get discouraged by them. Focus on your goals and find solutions to your problems. If you keep focused on whatever it takes to achieve success, you will reach all of your goals.”