The successful story of an entrepreneur raised in Brazil who was victorious in Canada by investing in his passion for cars
By Marta Almeida | Translated by Loretta Murphy
If you watch the Portuguese programs on OMNI, you most certainly will have seen entrepreneur Paul Stern starring in the commercials for his Toronto Chrysler car dealership. His accent betrays the fact that Stern has been in Canada some time (44 years), but what few people know is that the entrepreneur was raised through to his teens in São Paulo, where his Israeli parents immigrated when Paul was still a baby. His childhood and adolescence in Brazil profoundly marked the entrepreneur’s life. He was kind enough to tell Wave Magazine his success story.
How was immigration to Canada?
Paul Stern – My parents decided to leave Brazil in 1969. I was 16 years old. In the first year, I wanted to return to São Paulo every day. I was crying on the inside, but gradually I realized that Canada is a good country that provides opportunities. I enrolled at the University of Toronto, graduated in chemistry, but didn’t like that field and decided I would try run my own business, but I didn’t know what I wanted.
And how did you end up working with cars?
Paul Stern –In Brazil, I used to intern at Radio Globo in São Paulo, which was also affiliated to the TV Record network. I worked for the Silvio Santos group and was also in touch with the youth group. And I loved cars, because Roberto Carlos liked jalopies – at that time you dreamed of American cars. So when I arrived and saw that everyone here drives and buys cars, I decided it was something I should try to do.
And was it a big challenge?
Paul Stern – At the beginning it’s very difficult, it’s not easy, but when you have a passion, and I have a passion for cars, then you keep going. It’s not a matter of luck, you must have health and a little money, but I think passion is the divine force that takes you where you want to go.
And what would you say to anyone who is thinking about being an entrepreneur here in Toronto?
Paul Stern – We are a country that really likes Brazilians. There’s plenty of help for people who want to start a business, there’s government help, help from the banks and investor groups. So don’t be scared because fear is a negative thing. Go forward, do it, there will be many obstacles in the way, but this is a good thing, because that is how we learn and acquire business experience.