Interviewing Carlos Paz-Soldan
"I think there are two main areas where the Chamber provides value in my case; one is access to market information, on the supply and demand sides; and second, in facilitating contacts and introductions to people and organizations in Canada and Perú"... declared Carlos.
Successful technology professional and entrepreneur.
NOVA VISION TV – 2016 interview with Carlos Paz-Soldan
Carlos, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Originally from Perú where I studied Industrial and Systems Engineering, I came to Canada in 1980 with my wife, 3 months after getting married. I had been recruited by a Canadian consulting firm and arrived in Toronto with a job offer and Permanent Resident status. This was not unusual in those days, especially if you worked with mainframe computers. While I was working full-time I also did my MBA at the University of Toronto, in what is now Rotman’s School. Upon graduating in 1984, I decided to quit my big-bank job and start a new business, to ride the Personal Computing revolution, which at the time was just beginning.
How long have you been associated with the chamber, and what made you join PCCC?
I became a member of the chamber soon after it opened, in 2006.
I heard about the PCCC through an email from the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto, and I immediately decided to join to support the initiative. I’ve belonged to several business associations in Canada over the years, and I was usually the only Hispanic business owner. I didn’t encounter any discrimination, but I did feel that the Latin American perspective was not there.
What are your current business endeavours? How has COVID impacted your operations?
After starting Tenet Computer Group in 1984 we had a great ride, providing systems and services to corporations and governments, mainly around Toronto, plus we opened offices in Ottawa, Montréal, and even Liberia, in West Africa. We also developed software that we sold around the world by leveraging the Internet.
In 2016 I sold Tenet to a Québec company that wanted to expand in English Canada, but I kept the software development unit, which I spun off as Techmien Corp., a smaller operation where I am currently the President. Fortunately, the pandemic has not affected our operations, since all our systems are on the Cloud and our work can be done remotely.
Any thoughts on connecting the Peruvian business market with Canada? How do you think PCCC can play its part?
Last year my wife and I launched Nexo Mercantile, a trading company with the goal of importing some specialty products from Perú. The PCCC was instrumental in helping us understand the local market in Ontario, as well as the supply ecosystem in Perú.
We were quite advanced in our negotiations in Lima and getting ready to bring the first shipments when the pandemic hit and pretty much shut down our target market in Ontario. But this too shall pass, and we are getting ready to restart in the next few months.
How has your membership with PCCC helped you advance your business?
I think there are two main areas where the Chamber provides value in my case; one is access to market information, on the supply and demand sides; and second, in facilitating contacts and introductions to people and organizations in Canada and Perú. In addition, the PCCC also provides opportunities for social connection, which is quite important for a thriving and proud community.
Besides the technology business, are you involved in any other initiatives?
Yes, I am also the President of Hispanotech, a Canadian not-for-profit, 100% volunteer, that helps immigrant professionals from Latin-America integrate into the job market and succeed in their careers. We’ve been operating for 11 years now and have 950 members who hail from 36 countries. We run a mentorship program for newcomers, as well as educational and networking events, which now are all virtual since the Pandemic started.
Closer to home, I also volunteer at Alma Children’s Education Foundation, a Canadian registered charity focused on improving education in remote areas of Perú and Bolivia. Since starting in 2009, we have completed 53 projects and had 21 active projects when the Pandemic started. To help in the response to the Pandemic, Alma is currently running its most ambitious and transformative project: training all 12,000 teachers in the province of Quispicanchi, Cusco, and Benin province in Bolivia, to improve their skills to offer virtual classes to their remote pupils.
Anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
I would offer two parting thoughts: sooner or later the Pandemic will be over, so make sure you are positioned to bounce back. And finally, don’t forget where you came from, look for ways to give back to your country and your people.
About Techmien Corp.
Techmien Corp. is a Toronto-based software development firm that specializes in creating innovative solutions that incorporate leading edge technologies to give our clients a competitive advantage.
Techmien Corp was created in March 2016 as the spin-off of the Software Business Unit of Tenet Computer Group Inc., a Canadian corporation founded in 1984 that specializes in the design, development, implementation, and support of Information Technology solutions for government and enterprise clients.