2020, Interview. Sam Ayoub is the founding President of the Canada-Europe Economic Chamber-EU, a businessman, and owns INFAX Inc, a Direct Marketing company.
The Canada-Europe Economic Chamber-EU was founded and launched in Canada in 2016 for the European and Canadian business communities with the mission to revitalize trade between Canada and Europe as a leading player.
"Canada, the most European Country outside of Europe!" states Sam Ayoub.
In 2018, the CEEC-EU started operations out of Brussels, the European Union capital, to promote economic exchanges and activities between Canada and the European Union.
The intention was to reflect a new dynamism taking place between the two through the implementation of CETA.
Today, membership of the CEEC-EU is open to all interested in international trade and business development through Canada and the European Union. CEEC-EU delivers high-quality, engaging activities and initiatives, providing all the appropriate services for businesses that want to trade internationally, connect, grow, and succeed.
Iliana Such: Can you briefly tell us about INFAX, Inc? Also, what was your biggest challenge and breakthrough?
Sam Ayoub: INFAX is a fax & email service provider I launched in Canada in 1994. The economic and technological reality was completely different back then. No internet yet and a high unemployment rate. After working with big companies in Paris, San Francisco, and Montreal, I thought it was the right time and combination to make it my own. One year seemed like a decade, things started to go up, and I opened six offices across Canada. The challenge was explaining the services and how they would be relevant for many years, which it did! The INFAX breakthrough resulted from a highly profitable company in a narrow market niche.
Such: As an astute and reputable businessman, could you describe your business ethics philosophy in a few sentences?
Ayoub: Well, it combines two keywords: ambition and vision. Ambition can’t wait forever, forcing you to be efficient and relevant in a very short period, but for your success to last, you must be authentic and reliable right from the beginning; that is vision. My decision-making is always considering these two words.
Such: Please tell us more about your vision for the CEEC-EU. What is your loftiest goal?
Ayoub: I have always liked different cultures, ways of living, and ways of thinking. I think it makes the world richer and better. However, Canada's culture and values must be shared with the rest of the world, including Europe. Canada is a smart world leader, and the world needs more of Canada.
Such: In 2017, a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union came into force: CETA. Please tell us more about this strategic alliance.
Ayoub: CETA is a free trade agreement between Canada and the biggest economy in the world, the EU. It covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade to eliminate or reduce barriers. With CETA, around 98 percent of EU & Canadian tariff lines are now duty-free for Canadian and EU goods.
Such: What is Canada's advantage over other countries?
Ayoub: Canada is a multicultural country with two strong official languages, French and English. It has a very strong and reliable economy with free trade agreements with the highest number of countries in the world. It is a 5,000 km coast-to-coast territory between Asia and Europe with a strategic entry to North America. But mostly, Canada is about culture, people, and values. Canadians are welcoming, well-educated, open-minded, and respectful individuals. That is where the strength of this country is.
Such: How would you describe the energy and mood of Brussels Post-COVID?
Ayoub: I am glad you are pointing out that we are in a Post-COVID situation, as this is where we are now. But, despite that reality, there is a sense of hesitation and political carefulness on how to get things back to normal. Slowly though, we hear more and more that we will have to live with it, among many other things, and move forward. This tends to be a more moderate and appropriate approach to this situation.
Such: Do you have any exclusive news or insights you can share with us?
Ayoub: People can’t wait to do business and international trade again!
Such: What advice do you have for younger generations on best practices in managing relationships and seeking to pursue a career in international trade?
Ayoub: Trade is not about money. It is about trust. So my advice for all generations is to read history books, travel the world, make an international network of good friends, and be yourself.
Such: What are you currently reading?
Ayoub: I just finished a book on the history of Nauru. It is a small island that became the world's richest and poorest country in a flash of light. We could judge what happened on that island severely, but who are we to blame? There are many Nauru in the world, and it is hard for each to rise as a fair and stable country. The best solutions will always come from the people of these countries, not abroad.
Such: Are you a spiritual person? How would you like to be remembered?
Ayoub: If being spiritual means thinking of life and death, I think everybody is spiritual. But I don’t believe in a god. It is too related to our life or our afterlife. What about before? To put things in perspective, our blue planet's life span is 12 billion years. If we transpose that to a year, we are actually in the month of May, and the human race's life span is a matter of a few days… To be remembered would be good enough!
Such: Who are your top three noble-minded thought leaders?
Ayoub: Steve Jobs, for his vision and creativity in putting the inventions of others together. He is still alive in a way through Apple and more.
Nelson Mandela takes his education given by the Europeans to free his country. He is still alive in a way through South Africans and more. Pablo Picasso put different perspectives on canvas that reach us all. He is still alive in a way through his paintings and more.
Iliana Such: What does being noble in the 21st Century mean?
Sam Ayoub: To be Noble is to be authentic.