Abby Villanueva, a former nanny, has proven once again that success can be achieved with perseverance as she now owns and manages a private school in Canada.
Her success story serves as an inspiration to many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) all over the world. She founded the AGA Academy in Alberta, Canada. She is also the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the academy.
She shared her inspiring story with Ron Gagalac of OMNI Filipino. Abby recalled how she became a nanny for two years in Hong Kong. Fortunately, her employer helped her to migrate to Canada. She soon earned her permanent residency and started a non-profit organization (NGO).
Abby shared, “She hired me pero ang purpose niya talaga is to make sure na mabibigyan niya ako ng leverage to improve my life in Canada. So, nag-nanny ako ng two years. After that, sinuportahan nila ako to get my open work permit…And then after my permanent residency, nag-start na ako [sa] nonprofit organization.”
Building a Filipino-owned academy in Canada
Like other OFWs, Abby also started questioning her purpose in Canada. It was then she realized she wanted to do more. Using her background in education, she started the AGA Academy along with her two other friends.
Abby looked back at her experiences at opening an academy. She said, “I started with one student and one staff. And that staff is me.”
But due to their hard work, Abby was able to boost their number of enrollees in just a year’s time.
“Currently, we are close to 900 students… for the period of twelve months. We have six license courses right now, and we are waiting for ten more to come. Kasi yung licensing talaga, it takes between six months to one year,” Abby explained.
The AGA Academy is currently offering the following courses: Community Support and Addictions Worker Diploma, Tourism Management Diploma, Pharmacy Assistant, Massage Therapy Diploma, Advanced Massage Therapy Diploma, at Digital Marketing and Web Design Diploma.
Just this 2021, the AGA Academy was designated as a learning institution of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This means they can now accept international students.
Abby shares secret to success
According to Abby, her secret to success is perseverance and the willingness to stand up despite failures. She advised other aspiring entrepreneurs to continue trying and working towards their dreams.
She stressed, “If you fail, who cares? Do it again. Climb up the ladder. Do it again.”
“Hindi ko matandaan kung ilang beses akong nag-fail in this path, but you know what, you will be successful. Just keep on trying,” Abby added.