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Meet Nouhaila Chelkhaoui: a young tech trailblazer who is changing the startup game in Canada

Nouhaila Chelkhaoui is the founder of Scale Without Borders one-stop-shop for newcomer tech entrepreneurs in Canada. As an immigrant in tech, her mission is to build a strong and bright community of newcomer tech entrepreneurs and make Canada the #1 startup destination in the world. Nouhaila is also a Programs Lead for the DMZ at Ryerson University, ranked #1 university-based incubator in the world, leading the DMZ Women Founders programming and helping run the DMZ growth accelerator. Nouhaila came to Canada from Morocco as an international student at the age of 17 to attend the University of Toronto. She’s also lived in other countries including Brazil and Turkey before immigrating permanently to Canada.

 


 

 

My first job was… a meal plan marketer. I think I gave out flyers on campus to fellow students so they can buy our meal plans. 

My proudest accomplishment is… Coming to Canada at the age of 17 on my own from Morocco. I graduated from high school and researched the top universities in the world. The University of Toronto was pretty up there and my parents liked the fact that they didn’t hear about much trouble coming from Canada. There was also a more compelling immigration path. 

My boldest move to date was… Starting Scale Without Borders. 

My biggest setback was… Graduating without a job. I remember flying back to Morocco and having to explain this to my parents & family 4 years later (although they never asked for an explanation).

I overcame it by… Leaving the country, travelling around, and taking time to figure out what I wanted. 

 

Have a grand vision, but detach yourself from expectations, and stay grounded.”

 

My favourite thing about Scale Without Borders is… Being able to connect with extremely high potential international tech entrepreneurs and feeling like I can add value to them. 

I would tell my 17-year-old self… Buckle up, you’re going to places! Literally. 

One book every woman should read is… Educated.  

Living in other countries has taught me… It’s important to pause and enjoy life. 

My greatest advice from a mentor was… Have a grand vision, but detach yourself from expectations, and stay grounded. 

If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… A positive mindset, with unwavering faith. 

I surprise people when I tell them… I speak 4 languages (actually though!) 

The future excites me because… I don’t know what it holds but I know it’s something great!