Terrace, BC — Kapil Verma has always known that he would chart a different path for himself.
As a young person growing up in a small town in northern India, Kapil always wanted to go abroad and do something interesting. When offered the opportunity to study at Coast Mountain College (CMTN) in Terrace, he wholeheartedly went for it, even though he had no idea what to expect.
“My experience was really good with Coast Mountain College,” says Kapil. “I really liked that there were only 20-30 students in the classroom. It was very easy to go to the instructor with any problems and get one-on-one time with them.”
After finishing his studies at CMTN, Kapil was ready to establish himself in the community and pursue his dream of starting a business. But it wasn’t an easy journey to get where he is now.
“The initial steps were very hard for me,” Kapil says. “I learned that the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail,” he says. And fail he did, two or three times while starting different businesses—but he learned a lot from those mistakes.
For the past three years, Kapil has worked 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, all while learning to work hard and smart. Even without the full authority to make his own decisions while working for other people, he learned something from each past job.
“I then combined all those skills together to use in my [current] business,” he says.
Kapil wanted to do things his own way, because he knew he could do it better than others, and it would be good for both him and the company.
Today Kapil, along with his uncle Boota Uppal, is the successful co-owner of Uppal Appliances & Mattresses Ltd. in Terrace. Kapil gives great credit to his uncle, who has been a business owner in Terrace for the past 21 years.
“He really guided me on the initial steps,” says Kapil, “and I did my hard work.” Kapil credits his uncle and the Terrace community for helping him reach the point of being his own boss. And now he wants to pass the torch onto the next wave of graduating CMTN students, and give back to their community.
Besides providing free services and support to charities across Northwest BC and in India, they are establishing a $1,000 award for international students at CMTN. The award, to be given out twice a year, will be based on the student’s academic standing, behaviour, and career goals.
Kapil remembers how hard it was as a second-semester student to pay his tuition fees, as well as food and rent. The award will be their first step in helping international students, but the plan is to extend it to domestic students in the near future.
“We love this community, and this wonderful country and its people,” says Boota. “My business belongs to my community.”
When asked what advice he would give to students wanting to start their own business, Kapil reflected on his experience and what he learned.
“Don’t worry about failure. Have that freedom to fail … the first few months or years will be very hard. Don’t give up.”
The Uppal Appliances Ltd. Award is now available for application here.
Executive Director, External Relations