About Us

At SuraiTea, we focus on premium tea and changing lives.

Since November 2015, Canada has accepted more than 31,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the war in their home country of Syria. These refugees have left everything behind to start a new life in Canada. Though they have come from so far, they bring similar customs to those which already exist here including the appreciation for brewing and drinking tea.

Jasmine is the unofficial national flower of Syria. Damascus, the capital city of Syria and one of the oldest cities in the world, is also known as the City of Jasmine. Jasmine tea has been brewed for centuries by ancient groups because of its calming and rich aroma and taste. Jasmine is a white aromatic flower which grows in gardens and along walking paths in Syria and is ubiquitous in the memories of each of these newest Canadians. A Pending Certified B Corp start-up founded by an MBA student at uOttawa with a desire to use his skills to do his part, SuraiTea has been operating an online store since March 2016. SuraiTea's mission is to use the power of the markets to create positive social change for refugees. In partnership with organizations, we hope to become a stepping stone that helps refugees arriving in Canada enter the workforce. Also, as we grow, we hope to generate the means to sustainably donate funds to organizations involved in the resettling effort to help them through their times of need. We have run our first production run and have empowered some of these newest Canadians with their first Canadian employment experience and we hope to achieve many more. The more our customers support us by purchasing our teas, the more positive social change we can create for refugees.

When you purchase our organic Jasmine teas, we promise that they will provide you with the rich aroma and taste which Jasmine is known for, in addition to a feeling of satisfaction that you are supporting social progress.

Keep a tab on our Community Blog and sign up for our Newsletter to stay abreast of the change that we are creating. We also invite you to provide your feedback on our blog. We hope to see you back soon!

All the best,
 
Kevin Smiley, Founder

What is a B-Corp?

Our People

Kevin and his wife
Kevin Smiley

CEO / Founder

Kevin Smiley is a recent full-time MBA graduate from the University of Ottawa and founder of SuraiTea Inc. Born and raised in Ottawa, he took environmental engineering at Queen's University in Kingston and worked previously in renewable power and sustainable real estate development. Kevin has a passion for helping others and is intrinsically motivated to do his part to create positive social and environmental change in the world. He is an organic vegetable gardener, enjoys cooking, believes in paying it forward and believes that everybody can make a difference. Kevin lives in Ottawa and is newly married to his long-time sweetheart Amanda who is a physician that focuses on women's issues and delivering babies.
Husam Aldakhil

Executive Assistant

Husam Aldakhil is a Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada alone in February 2016. He left Syria in 2015 for Lebanon and immigrated to Canada in February 2016. He was studying Economics at the University of Damascus before he left during his final year. He was unable to complete his degree because the university became targeted with regular mortar and rocket attacks and it became very dangerous for students to stay. Husam has experience in customer service, microfinance and sales, and speaks Arabic and English. After lots of hard work, Husam recently received his Canadian University equivalency and he plans to complete his economics degree in Canada shortly.

 

Mohammad Mohammad

Inside Sales Representative

Mohammad is a Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada with his family in February 2016. Before coming to Canada, he was studying computer networking but had to leave because it was unsafe. He is currently studying English and Math in Adult High School with the hopes of qualifying for Canadian University to complete his computer studies in the future. Mohammad is a thrill seeker and adrenaline junky. He also loves to laugh and his infectious laugh quickly makes others laugh around him. His goal in life is to create things that nobody has thought of before and is working very hard to finish his studies. After the long journey he's had from Syria, he is very proud to now call Canada home.


Why not not-for-profit?

At SuraiTea, our mission is to use the power of the markets to create positive social change for refugees. We believe that a crucial aspect of the social change which we hope to create is that we empower our Syrian-Canadian staff with their first employment experience here in Canada. On the job skills, confidence, Canadian work experience on the resume and a healthy routine in their new home, we believe, will lead to long term stability and prosperity here in Canada. It is important that we work with not-for-profit organizations to achieve this mission. To increase the social change which we can create, we may also need to work with investors for equity financing.

By incorporating as a B Corp, SuraiTea's mission is in the corporate DNA. The power of filing this way is that SuraiTea can remain attractive to potential investors. These investors may increase our ability to create social change so we are open to helping them meet their objectives as long as we meet ours.

Only about 14 per cent of government-assisted refugees find work during their first year in Canada, while more than half of privately sponsored refugees do.
Syrian Refugees Don't All Get an Equal Start in Canada
Source: Rolfsen, Catherine. "Syrian Refugees Don't All Get an Equal Start in Canada" CBC News. 07 Mar 2016.

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