Fijian In Canada Is Nominated For Top Immigrant Award

When Raghwa Gopal left for Canada 38 years ago, he only had US$300 (F$625.06) to his name, but a dream several times more that amount. Today, the Fijian who lives
21 Apr 2017 11:00
Fijian In Canada Is Nominated For Top Immigrant Award
Raghwa Gopal.

When Raghwa Gopal left for Canada 38 years ago, he only had US$300 (F$625.06) to his name, but a dream several times more that amount.

Today, the Fijian who lives a comfortable life in Kelowna, Canada’s British Columbia province, is well-regarded and respected for the contribution he’s made in modern technology and education.

The 59-year-old who was born and bred in Kasavu, Nausori has been nominated for Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants.

This is an annual campaign that recognises outstanding immigrants who have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living in the country.

Looking back on his formative years, Mr Gopal remembers his humble beginnings too vividly when he worked at a grocer cleaning bottles and filling it with kerosene.

From that to being nominated for Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants, can be described as a story of determination and inspiration.

He co-founded the very first high-tech company Vadim Software the same year, which became the primary supplier of software and services to municipal governments across Canada. But how?

“One day while touring Kelowna, I stopped at a store to buy some supplies and spotted a small computer company next door and decided to go inside to see what it was about,” said Mr Gopal.

Inside, he spoke with Mike Schleppe who not only gave him a job but would become his future business partner for the next 30 years.

“Since then I have invested in at least a dozen companies which focus mostly in technology,” he said.

Mr Gopal attributed his success to his wife of 36 years, Sarita Gopal and their two children and his mother, who has been a pillar of strength.

“I owe a lot to my mum who was adamant and persistent that I get an education even though it wasn’t easy in those days.

“And a lot of credit goes out to the late P.R Patel who not only gave me my first job but also paid for my education from Class 6 until university.”

He also thanks Lionel Yee, a former general manager of the Fiji National Provident Fund, where under his leadership he got to learn about business.

Mr Gopal over the years has launched numerous successful businesses and volunteered to support disadvantaged groups at home and abroad.

He has mentored over 100 business and entrepreneurs, employing 1200 people, help raise over CA$22million (F$34.03m) in equity funding and help create over 400 local jobs.

He was recently appointed Governor for the University of British Columbia and is the first Fijian Canadian to hold the post.

Last year, he was named Man of the Year for the city of Kelowna amongst other accolades.

Although he has been away from Fiji for almost 39 years, he still considers Fiji home and comes home annually.

His family is passionate about helping the poor and needy.

In the past, they have supported St Christopher’s Home, Treasure Home and helped raise funds for the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston victims.

“Paying it forward has been my life’s calling and I believe all citizens should find a way to show gratitude for the small and large blessings bestowed upon them.”

His advice to those who want to make it abroad is to have a good work ethic, focus, and drive and to be risk-taker.

“I’m extremely excited and humbled to be nominated for Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants as it is a highly coveted award and I hope this will inspire others to follow and do the same,” he said.

You can vote for Mr Raghwa Gopal at

Generate on the QR code below, follow the instructions and vote for Mr Gopal.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa




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