Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Electronics Engineering Technician
Year of graduation: 2015
Dreams and determination
How Shivam Bansal followed his path across an ocean and the unknown
Shivam Bansal has come a long way from the first night he spent in Canada.
In 2013, he made the decision to study at Sheridan and flew into Toronto Pearson International Airport on his own, without even a place to stay once he arrived. “It happened all of a sudden, and I didn’t know anyone here. Nothing was planned. I wanted to go and believed in myself,” he says. “I knew North America is a land of opportunity and the chance to study at such an amazing institution wouldn’t come again.”
Bansal was drawn to Sheridan’s Electronics Engineering Technician program, looking to gain practical knowledge about how electrical gadgets such as program circuits and microchips work. He flew to Canada from India, and after sleeping at the airport for four hours, called Sant Nirankari Mission (a local temple in Georgetown) to ask them for accommodation assistance. After letting Bansal stay for a few days, the head of the temple helped him find a more permanent residence near Sheridan.
Today, Bansal is the part owner of Creative POS — a Mississauga, Ont.-based company that provides no-monthly-fee point of sale systems to businesses.
Bansal’s journey began in North West Delhi, where he had a keen interest in electronics throughout his childhood. “I liked to open things up and see how they worked,” he says. As early as Grade 9, Bansal was experimenting with household appliances and other electronics in a small homemade laboratory in his bedroom. “If the microwave stopped working, I would open it up and see what the problem was. Most of the time I was able to fix things up and sometimes I ended up completely destroying them,” he jokes.
One of his professors for digital principles and C programming—a common programming language for coding applications—Nazrul Khan, played a large part in Bansal’s development. “I had a basic knowledge of C programming, so I was always looking for a challenge,” he says. “He played a mentor role to me.”
As a new international student, Bansal also wanted to make connections with his peer group. “I was enthusiastic to help people and listen to them,” he says. He was elected to the student board of directors, despite being a newcomer to the school and the country. “I was very proud of that role,” he says. After graduation, Bansal tried out a traditional 9-to-5 desk job with a company in Oakville before deciding that he wanted something that better suited his skill set and interests. Creative POS fit the bill. He and a friend started working at the company in Feb. 2016, and, a year and a half later, became part owners. “This is the dream job I was looking for,” he says. “It’s a computer company so I can use my knowledge of electronics and apply my C programming skills. I was involved in everything from being in sales to being a technician onsite to troubleshoot problems,” he says. “And Sheridan also taught me how to create websites, so from time to time, I can also help customers build their sites if they ask. So I’m applying all the knowledge that I learned during my time at Sheridan.”
Bansal is looking to expand the company outside of Ontario over the next three or four years. He was named to the Brampton Board of Trade’s Top 40 under 40 in June 2018 and is also looking to build a website to be launched next year to help other international students: Study Debt Free.
“The struggles I faced in life and the challenges such as finding accommodation, managing finance, facing cultural differences in Canada, the weather, transportation, finding a job and arranging food (being vegetarian) was tough,” he says. “I had this dream since 2015 to do something to help other students facing the same problem as me.” The website will let parents living overseas provide support to students by booking meal services with notifications when the meal is delivered, or assistance with college registration, opening a bank account, legal services and getting a SIN number and finding a job.
Bansal has never forgotten that first night in the airport. Based on his own experience with arriving in Canada, the site will offer a “Welcome to Canada” package that parents can buy to provide pickup from the airport and a one week stay with meals. Bansal remembers the support he draws from his own family. He says his dad, mom, sister and wife, who he married in September 2018, have been his inspiration throughout all his endeavours. When asked about his unique career path and if he would do it again — sleeping in an airport and all — Bansal thinks for a minute and says, “definitely”. “Once you have a dream, it is possible,” he says. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”