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Ravi Kanagasabey's Wife Nudged Him To Start His Business Arthur Fire Protection Which Employs Overlooked Groups Of People
"I really love what I do in this space. Additionally, the opportunity as a business owner to give employment opportunities to those that typically don't get these kind of opportunities or need a second chance is a blessing I don't underestimate. "
Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator")
Canada
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How did you come up with the idea to start Arthur Fire Protection?

I was working for a prestigious Fire Protection company as a general manager. I used to work 10 to 12 hours a day at this job.  I also tried to give back to the Tamil community by hiring a number of Tamil youth, helping them traing to get their Fire Technician licenses and then hiring them.  My wife how passionate I was and encouraged me to strike out on my own...which I did and very happy looking back.  

Do you have any business partners?  Why or why not?

I had a business partner for 10 years. It was a good thing for the company because we both had the same vision and mission.  Our complementary skill sets helped take the company to the next level.  Having a business partner is not for everybody or every business, but it worked for us.   

How does the business make money?

We get paid to inspect and service fire equipment to ensure that they meet the specifications laid out as per the Fire Code and Build code.

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It’s very rare for somebody to run a business for so long (15+ years now) as it’s just a difficult thing to do.  What keeps you motivated?

I really love what I do in this space.  Additionally, the opportunity as a business owner to give employment opportunities to those that typically don't get these kind of opportunities or need a second chance is a blessing I don't underestimate.  

How has COVID-19 impacted your businesses?  How have you adapted?

At the beginning of the pandemic, it was difficult and consuing to navigate.  However, as time went on, we were able to adopt and overcome these challenges.  When you are forced into a corner, adaption is usually born out of necessity.   

Where do you see Arthur Fire Protection in the next 3-5 years? Where do you see yourself in that same time period?

Arthur Fire has already moved on and merged with another Fire Protection company.  We currently have about 50 employees. I am currently working as a sales and service consultant. In 3 to 5 years, I want to pursue other passions which include charity work in both Canada and Sri Lanka.  For example, I've already started a school in the Mannar area among a few other projects I'm looking at.  

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Playing golf, photography, being the President of Mr. Tamil Canada (organization focused on men's mental awareness) and hiking.   

What’s one goal that, if you were to accomplish it over the next three months, would feel like a big win for you?

Learn how to cook (as I currently can't cook at all).

What is a failure you’ve experienced in the last 3-5 years that you’ve learned the most from?

Trusting people blindly. As they say, trust but confirm.

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In terms of your personal legacy, in a few sentences, describe how you want to be remembered by your family and friends?

As a person who came to Canada with nothing and made a life for himself & family against all odds.  They should be able to see that hard work always pays off. 

Who is one person that isn’t Tamil that you admire and why?

Gorden So as he is such a positive person who I feel uplifted after talking to him. 

What do you think you would tell 16-year Ravi looking back?

Learn to let go - as life is too precious to carry emotional baggage.  Live life to the fullest!

What is a new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life?

The universe will give you what you bargained for. 

If you were given $1 billion, how would you allocate the money to change the world?

I would start with Africa and invest money in food, water and then education in that order.

I would also develop the North And East provinces of Sri Lanka - education would be a big focus.

How would you describe the impact that the Toronto Tamil community has had on you personally and on your business?

Somewhat disappointed.  I feel Tamil community has lost focus when it comes to the North and East (in Sri Lanka).  We as a community still hold grudges and discourage people who are doing food and want to do good there.  

What is your favourite Tamil food (meal or dessert)?

"Eddiappam"  and any food from Southern Aroma.

What is your favourite Tamil movie?

"Muthu".

What does Tamil culture mean to you?

Everything - it's part of my life, soul and a source of my strength.

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Ara Ehamparam
Co-founder & Podcast Host ("The Tamil Creator") | TamilCulture.com
Canada
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