Most people are born in life not knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up. They end up making those life-changing choices as they go along, often times finding themselves in the wrong profession or the wrong career. Alper Dama was never like that. Alper, who is of Turkish, Belgian, Canadian and Greek origin was inspired early. Even as a child, he knew exactly what he wanted from life and how to get it. From humble beginnings to heights unknown, the achievements he has unlocked are a testament to his sheer willpower and an unquenchable spirit. One that had to grow and become stronger to withstand the curve-balls life threw at him.

From a young age, Alper was a gifted child. He was the only child in what was a small family. His family didn’t have much in the way of finances but that didn’t dim his light. He was gifted at school and other endeavours. Growing up in tough neighbourhoods and facing down bullying prepared him for life ahead. It was no wonder that from his humble beginnings, his drive to help humanity and his incredible brains made him a favourite in the neighbourhood where he often summoned to the homes of neighbours to figure out their utility bills or taxes. He was a generous child who never turned down the urge to help people, even the children in the neighbourhood who he tutored. His early life in Turkey was hard but where others would have given up on the face of such hardship and abuse, Alper developed a resilient spirit. From there, he found himself eager for the first taste of entrepreneurship. Though his family moved around a lot, he never let it distract him from his goal even as young as he was. Such single-minded focus at a very young age is not only rare but should be credited for the success that Alper Dama experiences today. With no encouragement or direction from his family, he started his first business. Alper, at the age of eight, started selling homemade Ice pops on the hot streets of Turkey for a living.  It was at that point that Alper knew exactly what he wanted to do in life and it was not sitting behind the desk of an office to make a living. He never did work a strict office job, nor did he find himself crafting a detailed CV because of this early determination.

From ice pops, he expanded his business to things that were of interest to kids his age. He sold rare game cards which kids his age constantly traded and collected. He later added on scented papers when letter writing was still all the rage before texting became as popular as it is today. As he grew older, he became more attuned to what the customers need. It was this dead-on instinct that had him travelling long distances when he got to High School to find and bring back songs and other forms of entertainment back to his home town where he sold them. Where Alper grew didn’t have access to the Internet so downloading these things were out of the question. His young entrepreneurial mind saw this as a need to be fulfilled. He travelled long distances, getting music files, games, software, movies etc. He converted these files and sold them to the people of his home town. He also started his own homemade hot chocolate business as well as a sales point for chocolate. After all, sweets appealed to people of all ages, whether it was a young man buying them for his lady love, children running in the streets or the older generation with a few bucks to spare for an endorphin rush. Alper grabbed every opportunity that presented itself and expanded his knowledge. It was at this stage in his life, he decided to invest some of that brain prowess into something other than entrepreneurship.

Alper had always been interested in robotics, specifically and electronics, generally. As a child, he built things from parts he got from friends. He spent a lot of his young life tinkering with odd ends from other discarded electronics he found and finding out what made them tick. He taught himself the science of robotics and proceeded to apply that knowledge in school. By the time he was done with high school, he’d not only created working robots but his robots were the only ones that worked in the school. It was quite the achievement for someone who had been mostly self-taught with little or no resources. Soon his robotic creations earned him acclaim the world over and the international recognition he so desperately sought. After gaining his diploma in electronics from high school, Germany came calling with an offer of a grant on the Leonardo da Vinci Scholarship with the intent of getting him a Vocational Diploma. To Alper, it was all his dreams coming true. Unfortunately, due to some unresolved political issues, it was not to be.

Alper was devastated. It was all his dreams crumbling before his eyes. All the plans to finally leave a place that was oppressive with bullying and abuse dogging at his very step were gone. For the first time in his life, he was faced with the reality that sometimes dreams didn’t come true. It was a blow to his confidence. One he spent time building back into shape. He refused to give up or give in. He didn’t let the death of one opportunity kill his entire dreams. Instead, he sought alternatives to studying abroad. One of the stumbling blocks he faced was his lack of proficiency in the English language. Alper knew that if he could teach himself something as complex as robotics then language was not going to stop him. He took a deep breath and went back to fighting for his dreams. He improved his English speaking skills by translating books and software. With the advent of social media, he found a bigger way to expand his knowledge. This time, he helped his community by translating popular social media sites like Facebook into his native Turkish language. Research has shown that his contributions to early social media have helped as many as 13 billion times/views.  He didn’t stop there, he went on to create educational software that has been viewed by people all over Turkey.

His big break came when he was courageous enough to apply to Simon Fraser University in Canada on an International Bursary. There he expanded his knowledge into graphic design and coding. He developed the codes and graphic design for websites still in existence today. He expanded his business endeavours to importing luxury and high-quality Turkish glassware. Forever finding opportunities he also started his own bubble soccer business, built it until it was successful, then sold it. His achievements were only just beginning, using his massive creative skill he created a more efficient archival system that created opportunities and more profit for the company he worked in. His passion for branding and graphics, his belief that the way a product was branded would be the difference between its success and it’s a failure, and his unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his own business called Anchor Branding. He didn’t always find strength in just himself. For the successful launch of the company, he also finds himself drawing inspiration from his friend Jack who is also a digital marketing expert.  Aside from his Marketing Agency, he learned skills such as landscaping, flooring and logistics. He dipped a toe in all the entrepreneurial waters that interested him. He partnered with restaurants, dabbled in set decorations, acted in Canadian Hollywood films, etc. He bagged multiple certifications from world-renowned companies such as Google and found validation in government agencies such as the ministry of health and justice.

Alper today at 28 has succeeded in areas far beyond his years. Now he oversees and runs his company as a CEO. He currently lives in Vancouver. In his spare time, he is obsessed with fitness, spreading some of that discipline and dedication to his personal life. He started a fitness club for people who walked long distance called Centurion Walkers Canada and is known to take ten thousand steps per day. Alper knows that he is extremely blessed and loves to give back to the society that gave him the building blocks of who he is today. Taking time away from work to play, he enjoys cooking traditional Turkish dishes, athletics, expanding his technical skills, giving back to the society by helping the homeless, networking, travelling and inspiring youths the world over by making truthful, inspiring posts on social media.

At this point, you’re thinking Alper Dama might be too good to be true. It’s hard to remain down to earth with so much success and accomplishment but if the testimonials of Alper’s nearest and dearest are anything to go by, he is the most generous, friendly, kind, down to earth, adventurous human you’ll ever meet. Alper never let his situation in life dictate how far he could go. To him, there were no limitations on what one could accomplish. I think with an attitude like that, the sky is the starting point for anyone.