Tareq Hadhad, Founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate, has been named the fifth annual recipient of the RBC Entrepreneur Award and one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian immigrants, awards that celebrate newcomers who have had a positive impact on their communities.
Based in Antigonish, NS, Syrian-born Hadhad is also the Founder of the Peace on Earth Society, a charity which is funded by a percentage of the company’s chocolate sales.
Presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, this is the 12th anniversary of the national awards program. Winners were chosen by judges and readers who cast a record 72,000 votes.
“RBC is proud to celebrate and support newcomers across Canada as they establish themselves and strengthen the fabric of our communities,” Amit Brahme, the Senior Director of the Newcomer Segment, said in a statement.
In an earlier interview with Entrevestor, Hadhad said that his father Assam had been a chocolatier, running his own thriving export business in Damascus for 20 years. Assam shipped chocolates to countries such as Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon.
The war made the family refugees. They arrived in Nova Scotia and formed Peace by Chocolate in a small barn in Antigonish in August 2016.
Their chocolate was soon being sold in Sobeys. Success was immediate and accelerated when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the chocolate in a speech he gave to the United Nations.
“Our chocolate caters to Canadian and Syrian tastes. It includes traditional Syrian ingredients such as pistachio, cashews, almonds, hazelnut, coconut, orange, cherry and strawberry,” Hadhad told Entrevestor.
Since those early days, the company has expanded and is now available around the country.
“Canada has provided our family with other deep meanings for chocolate, life and success,” Hadhad said.
RBC has also donated $50,000 to Windmill Microlending, a charity that helps internationally trained newcomers pay for the Canadian credentials they need. The donation will support re-accreditation of 50 internationally trained immigrants in the healthcare profession who are helping in the fight against COVID-19.