By Rebecca Burton
Ryerson student Maria Clara Casafranco walked away with one of three top awards at this year’s City of Toronto International Students Reception on Oct. 14.
Casafranco, a third-year photography student, was the recognition award recipient for entrepreneurship for establishing her own small business, Sikam Photo.
“I work with my fiancée in the business and we’ve done a lot. It’s grown from two clients to 150,” she said.
The business venture, which aims to capture significant moments in life for its clients, started in 2009 when she arrived in Canada from Colombia. The first event was a bridal exposition in Paris, Ont. where she secured her first two clients.
Casafranco is responsible for marketing and promotions, building and maintaining client relations, purchasing equipment and maintaining the company’s web and social media presence.
Rebecca Fitzgerald, the international advising assistant at the International Student Services office at Ryerson, was responsible for nominating Casafranco.
“I have worked with her for two years in the [International Student Services] office and was aware she had her own business so I wanted to find an opportunity to recognize her accomplishments,” said Fitzgerald.
Casafranco has worked with new international students to help them adjust to Canada as an International Peer Supporter.
Two fellow Ryerson students, Bangxin Nie and Maria Angela Torres were given very honourable mentions for the community service award: Nie for her work within Toronto’s Chinese community and Torres for supporting Filipino students at Ryerson along with other groups.