Revolutionizing how seasonal foreign workers are paid, nets Vancouver fintech CEO milestone award
By Amy Hodgson
Vancouver fintech CEO, Rene Blanco has been awarded a 2022 Globe and Mail Changemakers award for the accomplishments his company, Labora has had on Canadian business. Labora modernized the international payment process for seasonal foreign workers in Canada, which had remained unchanged for the past 50 years.
The Canadian agricultural sector depends on approximately 50,000 temporary foreign workers each year from around the world. Close to 92 per cent of them work in crop production. Labora’s digital payroll service allows workers to safely send and track international money transfers at discounted rates and improved speeds compared to traditional methods.
Labora’s impact is perhaps most strongly felt by the foreign workers’ families, who once had to travel to specific financial institutions far from their hometowns to withdraw the international remittance. With Labora, workers have peace of mind that the money will reach their families seamlessly while building credit history back home.
Blanco, an SFU MBA alumnus is one of 50 winners from across Canada to earn the changemaker award for being an innovative leader who is actively working to implement impactful solutions to significant problems facing society. The Report on Business magazine at The Globe and Mail launched the award in 2021 to showcase the emerging leaders who are transforming business today.
“Being named a 2022 Changemaker means that we are on the right track,” says Blanco. “It is incredibly exciting and humbling for us as a company that our vision is being recognized by others and is making an impact. says Blanco. “We’re excited to keep growing to reach more workers that can benefit from our innovative service.”
Labora’s ultimate goal is to help workers improve their long term financial positions beyond the agricultural season by helping workers set-up pensions, assisting with tax preparations and providing resources and teaching for overall financial literacy.
The platform makes it easy for Canadian farm owners as well. With just one click, farm owners can manage employment documents like payroll stubs, T4, TD1, Record of Employment, tax forms, contracts, and certifications at any time.
“SFU VentureLabs is proud to support Rene and Labora’s innovation in fintech and the change it brings to agriculture and the lives of workers. We know Rene and his team will make the most of the mentorship and resources we provide to build on the company’s growth,” says Lesley Duncan, acting executive director, SFU VentureLabs.
Labora is part of SFU’s leading business accelerator, VentureLabs which helps top science and technology companies scale with leadership training and venture curriculum. VentureLabs helps growing ventures like Labora, commercialize their innovations and scale up their business through programs and services that tackle the unique challenges of the tech businesses.
Learn more about Labora here.