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Sana Kapadia

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Chief impact officer, Spring Activator Inc.; Age 36
Photo credit: Rob Kruyt

Recognition as a Forty under 40 winner carries a special meaning for Dubai-born Sana Kapadia.

“I only became a Canadian citizen earlier this year,” says the chief impact officer at Spring Activator Inc., an incubator that helps entrepreneurs and innovators get off the ground.

“The award coming at a time when you … also get to call yourself a naturalized Canadian in the same year has been a very emotional and amazing milestone.”

Kapadia’s first experience in Canada was also her first time being away from home, leaving the United Arab Emirates in the early 2000s to attend the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

The 35-year-old sees a large part of her role as one of advocacy for social justice, and so the opportunity to set down roots in Canada and raise her two young children in a country closely aligned with her own values has synced well with her personal journey.

But before settling in Vancouver, Kapadia cultivated a decade’s worth of experience in impact investing across Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

Since joining the team at Spring, she’s worked with more than 100 entrepreneurs, helping advise them on the path to creating purpose-driven businesses.

Kapadia has been spearheading her organization’s new business immigration assistance program, which will by next year have helped 14 entrepreneurs move to Canada to launch their own enterprises.

Beyond her workplace responsibilities, Kapadia volunteers with the +Acumen organization to help Syrian refugees better integrate into the local community.

She’s also taken leadership roles in female-driven initiatives such as the Raise Collective, which has been building a network of female investors and founders over the past two years.

After identifying barriers such as a lack of resources facing many female founders seeking capital, the Raise Collective’s WeRaise program helped seven women raise nearly $1 million in 100 days.

Kapadia also supports Room to Read, a non-profit that boosts girls’ literacy and education in Asia and Africa.

Birthplace: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Master’s in development economics

Currently reading: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas; The Ways of the World by David Harvey

Currently listening to: Startup Pregnant Podcast; jazz, folksy music

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: An archeologist or a writer

Profession you would most like to try: Travel writer

Toughest business or professional decision: One that comes to mind is leaving a career in equity research and banking at a senior level where I was leading a sectoral practice and team to pursue my master’s and shift gears into the social impact and finance space

Advice you would give the younger you: Keep yourself open to possibilities. A career path is not straight, we all meander and take different turns to settle into our groove, so keep yourself open. Also know that you need to harness the power of partnerships, as collaboration comes in different forms and can be very formative

What’s left to do: Everything :) World changing is not easy and is a moving goalpost. With my passion for investing in diverse and inclusive teams, creating solid impact entrepreneurial ecosystems and broader social change, I am on the path to widening the capital pool, using a deeper gender lens and supporting impact ventures globally

Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit