Who runs Vancouver? With the global economy wobbling, the province seemingly rudderless, and the city confronting world-class challenges, this year’s ranking celebrates the power of wisdom.
Fourteen years ago, a Vancouver tax lawyer heading a little company called Cornerstone Innovations paid $3 million to acquire another little company manufacturing a monitoring bracelet for infants and seniors. Somewhere around the time the resulting eXI Wireless (specializing in health applications for RFID technology) was itself bought by category champ VeriChip, that lawyer happened to find himself, opportunity ready, in the tumultuous country of his birth, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Talib’s current company—CuCo Resources—has gone a little bigger, raising US$45 million (and another projected $100 million this year) as it prepares to mine an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of copper in Katanga province. But that’s not why he’s on this list. An Ismaili Muslim, Talib has kept fundraising and volunteerism (Vancouver Foundation, BC Children’s Hospital, the Aga Khan Council for Canada) at the heart of his activities throughout his career. Wisest person? It might be the homeless person who has seen more than I can imagine or the entrepreneur who has “made it”—wisdom emerges all the time.
Canadian Business recently put family-owned real-estate giant Larco (Park Royal, Whistler Village Centre, Surrey’s Morgan Crossing) at No. 29 on its Rich 100 List, with a joint worth of $1.83 billion. Wisdom is sometimes knowing actions speak louder than magazine profiles—neither brother (nor their London-based sibling, Shiraz) has granted interviews in recent years beyond: “With turmoil in Muslim countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan, we need to promote in the Western world, a better understanding of the people of the Muslim communities” (Amin on the million-dollar donation to SFU’s Centre for Muslim studies) and “These properties are located in prime locations, they complement our existing portfolio, and we are guaranteed tenants for the next 25 years” (on buying and repurposing nine federal office buildings, including the Sinclair Centre). “Larco Investments is very pleased with this transaction.”