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UNBeknownst Podcast Episode 11: Asif Hasan on the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and the role of businesses and individuals in building a diverse, flourishing community

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Jan 20, 2022

Category: Engineering , UNB Fredericton , Podcast

UNBeknownst Episode 11

Asif Hasan on the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and the role of businesses and individuals in building a diverse, flourishing community 

Asif Hasan is an alum from UNB’s Electrical and Computer Engineering and TME programs, and the CEO and co-founder of SimpTek Technologies, a Fredericton startup company that helps residential homeowners and electric utility companies to better understand, engage and predict energy usage. He’s a world citizen - born in Bangladesh, educated in India and Canada, and now building a company in New Brunswick. He’s fully immersed himself into the community through co-chairing in the creation of Fredericton’s immigration strategy, acting as Dialogue Director for the City of Fredericton and Dialogue NB, as an advisor for the local immigration network and as Director at the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. 

In this episode: 

  • The importance of the ecosystem in welcoming newcomers and making them feel heard and that they belong 
  • How international students are risk managers and entrepreneurs - and how good policies can help keep them in the community 
  • How TME helped Asif understand business and helped with the foundations of the company
  • Simptek’s mission to decarbonize every building in North America and make an impact in the world 
  • The grid-edge economy and how climate change is disrupting the industry 
  • How collaborations, open source and creation of shared digital tools are the path to evolution and success 
  • The entrepreneur’s job to create a “trailer” for the movie 
  • Promoting courage over fear and not worrying about failure 
  • How giving back to the community helps everyone feel they belong 
  • How permanent residents are highly invested in society and need a voice through the vote 


"Consider people moving into New Brunswick as New Brunswickers. We chose to be here and we want to have the feeling of belonging here. So don't consider global students who chose to come to UNB as international students. They're more than that. Let's focus on fostering that sense of belonging. Employers should know that they are very ambitious. They've chosen to be here and want to prove themselves. They're invested in being here and contributing to companies and the community. Give them a chance."

"If you want to succeed it's not just about your product and customers. It's about the whole ecosystem around you."

"Keep focusing on building the trailer of the movie you're selling. As entrepreneurs, we have to create a trailer to sell before watching the whole movie."

"Don't let fear take you over. The first time I pitched I froze. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. I didn't make the deal on Dragon's Den. But I didn't let that stop me. Our team kept moving forward because we knew we were solving a problem that needs to be solved. Have courage and spread it to others around you."

"Immigrants should be at the forefront of economic growth in our communities. We're not taking jobs we're making jobs. Even before becoming a citizen, I'm a Canadian, a Frederictonian. I'm a PERMANENT resident. We need to play a bigger part in our communities and country."

"To make a successful impact you need a team. And communication is key."

Where to listen: 

Links and resources: 

  • Places to visit in Bangladesh: Sundarbans - Chittagong - Cox's Bazar 
  • Bengali Language 101: 
    • Hello: Ki obostha
    • Thank you: Dhonnobad
    • Goodbye: Bidai
  • Traditional Dishes:
    • Tehari, is an authentic Bangladeshi rice that packs a pleasant punch with green chilies and curried beef. 
    • Kitchari, is a homey, comforting, lightly spiced rice and lentil dish 

Thanks to: 

Our alumni hosts, the AAA Team: Arsham, Arash and Armin Ahmadi 

Music by alumni artist, Beats of Burden 

Our alumni Affinity Partners, TD Insurance, Manulife, and MBNA Mastercard 

To listen to UNBeknownst and for more info on the podcast, the hosts and how to subscribe to be alerted to new episodes, visit our website.