“The entrepreneurial spirit in Edmonton, I think, has a lot to do with NAIT."
–Ashif Mawji (Computer Systems Technology ’92)
CEO, NPO Zero and Top 50 Alumnus
When Ashif Mawji thinks about Edmonton's technology industry, he doesn't hesitate to think big. “We can help launch the next Apple, the next Facebook from right here. I have no doubt in that,” he says.
“A lot of startups gather here in places like Startup Edmonton, where they’ll come together, they’ll share ideas, learn from each other and get better. I think Edmonton is very unique in that.”
Mawji would know. He’s been an entrepreneur since his childhood in Kenya, when his parents told him he could have anything he wanted as long as he paid for it. He brought that entrepreneurial spirit with him to Canada, starting his first company a month before he graduated from NAIT. Since then, he has sold two successful businesses and started two more.
“The entrepreneurial spirit in Edmonton, I think, has a lot to do with NAIT. I found that at NAIT everybody was really creative, very innovative, and very much thinking about ‘what does the market need,’” he says.
NAIT also responded to his need for skilled workers. When Mawji's second company required programmers with a specific skillset that nobody else was teaching, he turned to NAIT. “They also saw the market demand,” Mawji explains, and within a semester, that training was part of the program.
“I think that’s why NAIT is so successful, working with industry, and that’s why industry counts on NAIT to supply the talent pool that they need.”