In the heart of the Canadian business landscape, a name stands out—Henry Lukenge, Founder & CEO of Nexim Healthcare Consultants. His journey, marked by a wealth of experience and a relentless pursuit of excellence, has earned him a well-deserved nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year at the CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023. Let’s delve into the remarkable story of a financial, tax, and business executive whose passion for societal impact has driven him to new heights.
NHCI is at the forefront of helping several organizations integrate Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) and international health care practitioners-EHPs into their human capital plans. As such we at NHCI, has set up our own Private Career College-PCC to help train and integrate IEHPs into the Canadian labour force.
In addition to building NHCI over the last few years to its current state, we have stayed true to our goal of being impactful locally and internationally. We champion socio-economic inclusion particularly by creating and giving opportunities to marginalized individuals. Among other initiatives for example, we have a financial literacy program open to youth and field and office staff; we believe financial literacy, especially for first-generation Canadians, is key to success in creating cross-generation wealth. Being a first-generation CPA immigrant, I know firsthand how knowing the power of money can improve a family’s well-being.
Therefore, I am honored to be part of this award nomination as it reinforces Chinua Achebe words “when we gather in the moonlight at the village ground, it is not because of the moon. Everyone can see it in their own compound . We come together in the team spirit and enjoy the power of togetherness.” Thus, this granted this award signify our call to togetherness in the fights against injustices everywhere. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
BLACK BUSINESSPERSON – I was Born and brought up in a family of entrepreneurs, and I saw father set up and run one of the first indigenously owned construction companies in Uganda during the mid-70’s working with him early on in life, I learned various skills, including but not limited to people management, respect for people regardless of stature or position in life, self-discipline, creating plans and how to develop the patience to see them through. However, life has come with challenges-a product of the East Africa of the ’70s who survived displacement during Mr. Iddi Amin’s time as president in Uganda, who became a teen in apartheid South Africa before settling in a rough neighborhood on social housing in Brixton, south London- England. I overcame losing my dad early on to graduate near the top of my math class to pursue a career in chartered accounting, even when a career advisor did not believe there was a future for Black Kids in professional services in the United Kingdom. As I navigated racism in the United Kingdom and transition to adulthood, my mom told me not to listen to listen to any negativity – she said, “Focus on being the student first, and if the UK does not like CA’s who look like us – the world has a place for you “the best advice I ever got. With a Maths degree, FCCA- with ACCA- UK in good standing and a CPA designation, the first part of my career was in professional services worldwide. I went on to work my way up the corporate ladder at some of the most prestigious accounting firms, investment firms, investment banks all over the world and trust funds, a testament to my hard work, discipline, and persistence, all without ever having role models in my life to look up to; I found mentors in books, seminars, the workplace and my faith in the fact that If I worked twice as hard as everyone and applied my self towards achieving my goals 100% of the time – the powers that would see that and keep the opportunity envelope open to me with each upward step in my career; In 2005 – I interviewed for and won a role as a major Trust fund on Bay street as its FD investor services – and took it – I moved to Toronto and with the same dedication and commitment; I did well until the crisis of 2008 which forced me to re-examine my personal and career goals hence the transition into private business.
Hence, I built NHCI from the ground up, basically from zero, with one staff and self to where we are today – with three large offices and a client list that included the who is who of our space, but our mission is and has always been an offering FT employment to over 40 staff while remaining true to our goal of using part of our net earnings to create a better world both locally and internationally.
At the end of the 2008 cash flow crisis, my role got re-structured, and I was offered an offer to move to NYC & work on Wall Street via a business unit sale to a central US – fund aggregator. Before moving to Toronto, I had rejected prior offers from NYC-based financial firms, so this would stay the same position. I had a decision to make, so first, I applied for my PR Card, and once it came through, I could take a chance on myself.
I chose entrepreneurship at that stage in my life for two reasons one being I had played a role in the allocation of a fair bit of bail-out cash to individuals and corporations that did not need the help while those who did were not able to apply for or be prequalified for the help that existed; something about my CA work bothered my conscience for a long time, but this time, it was in front of me to see, and it did not sit well with me. I was disillusioned with my career in the professional services world due to my ability to be impactful in ways that meant something to me, but I was not yet sure what my next career move would be.
But with the job hemorrhage that came with the cash flow crisis in the finance and accounting sector of 2008, there were not many roles open at my level at the time, so the correct answer is I had reached the apex of my professional services career with no other goals left to achieve or roles that interested me or that I felt able to attain.
So I chose to close one career at the top and go back to ground zero, leaving everything behind, including secure 6 figure roles, an executive lifestyle and a home on the beaches to start afresh in a mixed-use building in Vaughan Road and Oakwood area of Toronto where I set NHCI after month trip around the world.
We are a third-party staffing company within the health and social care staffing sector that provides all grades of registered and unregulated staff to various health and social care organizations. Our differentiating factors are – 24-7-365 days a year live in country scheduling for our clients – with our client’s major hospitals and LTC groups, homecare, and the community living sector; this is a major value add, especially regarding unplanned healthcare staffing emergencies. A suite of value-added services for staff and clients that include – strategically sourced and located short-term accommodation that houses staff on medium to long-term contracts on rotation – this helps us cover all shift requests faster than the competition when integrated with transport and logistics services.
Our technology applications helps with sourcing, database management and scheduling by seamlessly matching candidates to roles by skills, geography and availability, which enables us to have one of the sectors , therefore leading to the highest fill ratio and client satisfaction statistics.
scale- we have grown the business to a nationwide capability through our three centralized back-end operations, quality and finance administration hubs in Ontario that are manned all through our day and night. Our focus on serving remote regions with healthcare staff is paying off via a loyal client base that appreciates our value adds and pricing strategies.