Past News & Events


BDC workshop

On July 11th the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) welcomed Jumpstart’s Refugee Talent for an interview skills workshop at their King St office. At least one of the talent present is guaranteed to be hired for a full-time paid internship with BDC.

Interviewing at BDC headquarters on King St W.

Interviewing at BDC headquarters on King St W.

Talent discuss their strengths with each other.

Talent discuss their strengths with each other.

The morning began with networking and presentations led by BDC Human Resources Officers, Christine and Elizabeth. They emphasized the importance of interview skills and elevator pitches when meeting with potential employers. Our talent then shared their own stories with representatives from both Jumpstart and BDC.

Participants were later paired with experienced hiring representatives from BDC for one-on-one “speed” interviews. In just six minutes, the talent discussed past work experience, skills, and career strengths and weaknesses with the interviewers.

All in all a successful event hosted by BDC! Jumpstart is grateful for their valuable support in the economic empowerment of refugees. As always, our ultimate goal is to help refugee newcomers find meaningful employment in Canada.

Jumpstart co-founder Mustafa Alio with Sharon Connolly, VP of BDC’s Newcomer Entrepreneur Success Team.

Jumpstart co-founder Mustafa Alio with Sharon Connolly, VP of BDC’s Newcomer Entrepreneur Success Team.

Jumpstart Refugee Talent Noah speaks about his workplace strengths.

Jumpstart Refugee Talent Noah speaks about his workplace strengths.

Representatives Elizabeth (left) and Christine (right) pictured here.

Representatives Elizabeth (left) and Christine (right) pictured here.

Thank you for hosting us, BDC! 

World Refugee Day 2019


On June 19th, Jumptart hosted a Gala for World Refugee Day at the WeWork office at 240 Richmond St West. We had a stellar turnout of over 140 attendees, the largest event to have ever been hosted there! 


Our panel featured honoured speakers such as Minister of Women and  International Development Maryam Monsef, Rana Khan of UNHCR Toronto, and James Madhier of The Rainmaker Enterprise. Opening remarks were delivered by our co-founder Mustafa Alio. The distinguished speaker list discussed important refugee issues and made remarks to mark the celebration. Mustafa brought up the importance of supporting refugee economic empowerment and James stressed the effects of climate change and infrastructure on refugee groups. 

Works of art by refugee artist Omran AlFalour were displayed around the venue, including his famed paintings Illiteracy, Massacres, and Never Let Go. His visual style aims to “communicate to the wider world what he was observing around him” during the Houla Massacre of 2012 (Imranovi artist website).


Despite a short fainting mishap, the event went on -- thanks to the emergency assistance of one of Jumpstart’s volunteers, a doctor from Sudan who himself was also a refugee. The event also featured a fundraising raffle  featuring prizes such as a $500 Paramount Foods gift card, 3 bottles of Jack Daniels, and a Culture Package (including Hot Docs and Gardiner Museum tickets and a private documentary film screening of From Syria with Hope). Delicious catering was provided by Soufi’s, a Toronto-based refugee-led business, as well as a special cocktail list courtesy of Brown Forman honouring some very impressive refugees.

Overall, our World Refugee Day Gala was a success, and we couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to bring the community together for such an incredible day! Jumpstart is thankful to its sponsors, attendees, and team for making it all possible. We are proud of the strides Canada has made to improve the lives of refugees and look forward to contributing towards this goal in the future.

Canadian association for forced migration and refugee studies annual conference

RCJP was invited to speak at three panels for the Canadian Association for Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Annual Conference (CARFMS) on Interrogating Integration, held at York University May 14-16. One of our founders, Mustafa Alio, was a keynote speaker on Refugee Agency and Influence in Multiple Spheres. In the first panel, we discussed refugee agency and influence in multiple spheres, which emphasized the importance of creating programs that help refugees get employed & the necessity of working with and for refugees globally. 

The second panel was about a newly published book entitled, Refugees' Roles in Resolving Displacement and Building Peace: Beyond Beneficiaries. It discusses the roles refugees play in local communities, diaspora, conflict, and advocacy. 

The third panel was about building partnerships that last, a reflection on the integration of critical post-colonial and localized perspective in refugee and forced migration studies. This panel emphasized the need to protect Indigenous people and refugees, and to create a bridge between these two key communities. It was an honor to both speak and hear what others had to say about these crucial topics pertaining to our own organization’s mission.

WTC OPEN house in toronto


Our Welcome Talent Canada Program held an open house event, at its new office space at WeWork in Toronto, in order to familiarize community members with the program's mission and create an environment conducive to connecting, networking, and recruiting. Employers and job-seekers were able to make meaningful connections and learn more about the Welcome Talent Canada Program’s aims.

Economic Mobility pathways project: the first success story

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RCJP has worked with the government on its Economic Mobility Pathways Project, which started out as a pilot program to test the possibility for refugees to immigrate as skilled workers. Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) successfully admitted its first skilled immigrant, Mohammed Hakmi, to Canada this past March. 

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Driven by a love for web development, Hakmi had successfully completed the information technology program at Al-Baath University. He was forced to flee Homs in 2011 due to the war, and was settled in Beirut for eight years. TBB worked with Hakmi over the summer, helping him with his resume and job interviews. By the time his residence application was submitted, he had already secured a job at Bonfire, a procurement tech startup based in Waterloo. This amazing feat highlights a new process that empowers refugees to find meaningful work and security.

Omar Salaymeh, one of our co-founders, is also Bonfire’s Executive Director of Client Success. He met Dana Wagner, TBB’s partnerships advisor in Toronto, through RCJP, which allowed the facilitation of Bonfire’s refugee hiring process.

After announcing a federal investment program that will scale up high growth firms and create more skilled jobs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with tech company employees in Kitchener on Tuesday, April 16;  during this time, Hakmi was able to share his story with Trudeau. RCJP is extremely proud of these accomplishments and wishes all the best to Hakmi and the Bonfire team.

Visit from Minister Ahmed Hussen at LinkedIn Toronto


In February of 2019, RCJP was honored to be chosen by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Ahmed Hussen, to visit and talk about what we do for refugees. The Minister met with the team, as well as some of our mentors and mentees, to discuss both our Entrepreneurship Program and the new Welcome Talent Canada Program. We explained some of the amazing projects our refugee entrepreneurs are pursuing. We also told the Minister about the success of the WTC program—the largest and only mentorship program in Canada for refugees—and how it employs the LinkedIn Learning platform. The team was both delighted and humbled by the experience.

Event report: Jumpstarting careers and rebuilding lives

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This report presents key takeaways from the documentary Human Flow and panel discussion in Toronto on July 26, 2018 during the “Jumpstarting Careers and Rebuilding Lives” event. The event was hosted by Jumpstart and Participant Media at the Art Gallery of Ontario and brought together refugee newcomers, employers and community leaders for a conversation on leveraging refugee talent. The discussion panel focused on ways to improve employment outcomes for refugee newcomers in Canada and the role of the private sector. The event was a powerful reminder of the scale of the global refugee crisis through excerpts from Human Flow, a documentary directed and co-produced by internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei.