Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Meet Peter Aghar – Venture Capitalist, Real Estate Developer & Windmill Director

Published July 14, 2020.

Peter Aghar, Windmill Microlending Board Director

Interview Date: 2020-07-07

Peter Aghar is a Toronto-based real estate investor, developer and venture capitalist, and Windmill’s newest board member.  As President of Crux Capital, a firm that exists to build extraordinary value in partnership with like-minded investors, Peter’s vision is to make fewer investments with better results within aligned relationships.

Multiple online bios highlight how you see things differently, what made you invest in Windmill Microlending and what makes Windmill different?

What I saw at the core of Windmill was a social enterprise providing character loans; I didn’t see a charity. I saw charitable values and mission, but I didn’t see a charity and still don’t.  To me, and to Crux, Windmill is more than just a charity, in that it doesn’t simply help people reach untapped potential, or unleash potential.  Rather, the organization tries to give where it can affect someone’s individual outcome and make lasting change.  Windmill takes someone who is making minimum wage and helps them become a fiscally stable professional.  Windmill provides a hand-up, not a hand-out, to people who get stuck facing one difficult challenge after another, due to circumstances beyond the capacity of their resources to change, never breaking free of the low-income cycle.  That’s permanent change, that’s long-term impact! 

My family and I believe there are lots of opportunities to give to various charities, and giving to them will make donors feel good, but those donations won’t change someone’s potential to become a CEO or an accountant or controller. The transformation Windmill creates in people’s lives are job stability followed by family stability, long-lasting positive changes that can last a lifetime, echoing down through the lives of their children’s children’s children.

We’ve seen the improvements Claudia has been making over the years, building a sophisticated institution without the core issues many charities face with technology, management standards and discipline. For example, sometimes charities begin to work on technology and improve their management practices, but lose their mission in the process. Windmill’s mission and goals are clear and they’ve grown and improved with time on all fronts.

 What would be one thing you can attribute to your tremendous success in Canada?

I was lucky to grow up in a safe middle-class family in Ottawa after my parents left their unsafe, albeit middle-class environments from Egypt in 1962.  I was also raised with a view that I matter, and I was comfortable being a change agent.  As I matured, I continued to grow within my community and to be a change agent in my business dealings as well as the society we live in.  Fundamentally, however, I believe the success of Crux Capital comes down to hard work, tenacity and a commitment to building strong, trusted relationships.

What advice would you give to donors who want to make an impact on the Canadian economy?

While I believe money is not the be-all-and-end-all, as both a business owner and investor, I build businesses and support great business ideas and I support charitable endeavors the same way.  My family and I believe in supporting organizations that are smart and that are doing something uniquely well.  Supporters like us are not big corporations and not interested in getting noticed; we give because we know we’re fortunate and we want to share our fortune.

Much like taking risks in business, I believe that donors should take risks with charities.  From that perspective, I would say that donors and investors have to not only give their time and money, but watch the organization grow and be on the growth journey with them, to be confident that their money is well-invested.  For example, I connected with Windmill soon after it began to spread nationally, after having been a small charity in Western Canada.  My support and involvement with the organization was in lockstep with the organization as it expanded and became more refined.  I didn’t wait for Windmill to be perfect before supporting them, and if I had, I wouldn’t have seen and been part of its accomplishments. 

Windmill is honoured to have Peter join our board of directors as we continue to create extraordinary value.

[gravityform id="8" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_8' style='display:none'><div id='gf_8' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_8' id='gform_8' action='/meet-peter-aghar/#gf_8'> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_8' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_8_8' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label gfield_label_before_complex' >Please enter your name...<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_complex ginput_container no_prefix has_first_name no_middle_name has_last_name no_suffix gf_name_has_2 ginput_container_name' id='input_8_8'> <span id='input_8_8_3_container' class='name_first' > <input type='text' name='input_8.3' id='input_8_8_3' value='' aria-label='First name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> <label for='input_8_8_3' >First</label> </span> <span id='input_8_8_6_container' class='name_last' > <input type='text' name='input_8.6' id='input_8_8_6' value='' aria-label='Last name' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> <label for='input_8_8_6' >Last</label> </span> </div></li><li id='field_8_2' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_2' >Please enter your email address...<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_2' id='input_8_2' type='text' value='' class='large' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_8_3' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_3' >What province to you live in?<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_select'><select name='input_3' id='input_8_3' class='large gfield_select' aria-required="true" aria-invalid="false"><option value='Alberta' >Alberta</option><option value='British Columbia' >British Columbia</option><option value='Manitoba' >Manitoba</option><option value='New Brunswick' >New Brunswick</option><option value='Newfoundland and Labrador' >Newfoundland and Labrador</option><option value='Northwest Territories' >Northwest Territories</option><option value='Nova Scotia' >Nova Scotia</option><option value='Nunavut' >Nunavut</option><option value='Ontario' >Ontario</option><option value='Prince Edward Island' >Prince Edward Island</option><option value='Quebec' >Quebec</option><option value='Saskatchewan' >Saskatchewan</option><option value='Yukon' >Yukon</option><option value='Other' >Other</option></select></div></li><li id='field_8_4' class='gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_4' >Please specify...</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_text'><input data-inputname="please specify..." name='input_4' id='input_8_4' type='text' value='' class='large' aria-invalid="false" /></div></li><li id='field_8_5' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' >What are you most interested in to achieve career success?<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_radio'><ul class='gfield_radio' id='input_8_5'><li class='gchoice_8_5_0'><input name='input_5' type='radio' value='Licensing in your pre-immigration profession' id='choice_8_5_0' /><label for='choice_8_5_0' id='label_8_5_0'>Licensing in your pre-immigration profession</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_5_1'><input name='input_5' type='radio' value='Canadian education in your field' id='choice_8_5_1' /><label for='choice_8_5_1' id='label_8_5_1'>Canadian education in your field</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_5_2'><input name='input_5' type='radio' value='Career advancement/upskilling' id='choice_8_5_2' /><label for='choice_8_5_2' id='label_8_5_2'>Career advancement/upskilling</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_5_3'><input name='input_5' type='radio' value='Changing careers' id='choice_8_5_3' /><label for='choice_8_5_3' id='label_8_5_3'>Changing careers</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_5_4'><input name='input_5' type='radio' value='Relocating for better career opportunities' id='choice_8_5_4' /><label for='choice_8_5_4' id='label_8_5_4'>Relocating for better career opportunities</label></li></ul></div></li><li id='field_8_6' class='gfield gfield_contains_required field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' >Which of the following best applies to you?<span class='gfield_required'>*</span></label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_radio'><ul class='gfield_radio' id='input_8_6'><li class='gchoice_8_6_0'><input name='input_6' type='radio' value='I am an immigrant' id='choice_8_6_0' /><label for='choice_8_6_0' id='label_8_6_0'>I am an immigrant</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_6_1'><input name='input_6' type='radio' value='I am a refugee/Protected Person' id='choice_8_6_1' /><label for='choice_8_6_1' id='label_8_6_1'>I am a refugee/Protected Person</label></li><li class='gchoice_8_6_2'><input name='input_6' type='radio' value='I work within the settlement sector' id='choice_8_6_2' /><label for='choice_8_6_2' id='label_8_6_2'>I work within the settlement sector</label></li></ul></div></li><li id='field_8_7' class='gfield gfield_html gfield_html_formatted gfield_no_follows_desc field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><style> .form-footer { text-align:center; font-size:16px; margin:20px 0 !important;} .form-footer p { margin-bottom:12px !important; } .form-footer a { display:inline-block; padding:5px; background-color:#71A850; border-radius:3px; color:#fff;} </style> <div class="form-footer"><p>For additional career success information, please follow us on social media</p> <p><a class="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" title="Facebook" aria-label="Facebook" href="https://www.facebook.com/windmillcanada" target="_blank" data-kmt="1"><i class="lsicon lsicon-facebook"></i></a> <a class="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" title="LinkedIn" aria-label="LinkedIn" href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/windmill-microlending/" target="_blank" data-kmt="1"><i class="lsicon lsicon-linkedin"></i></a> <a class="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" title="Twitter" aria-label="Twitter" href="https://www.twitter.com/windmillcanada" target="_blank" data-kmt="1"><i class="lsicon lsicon-twitter"></i></a> <a class="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" title="YouTube" aria-label="YouTube" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu05FSusXmwZcb41MQGQJ6g?feature=emb_ch_name_ex" target="_blank" data-kmt="1"><i class="lsicon lsicon-youtube"></i></a></p></li><li id='field_8_9' class='gfield gform_validation_container field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_8_9' >Name</label><div class='ginput_container'><input name='input_9' id='input_8_9' type='text' value='' /></div><div class='gfield_description' id='gfield_description_8_9'>This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.</div></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_8' class='gform_button button' value='Download the Guide' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_8"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_8"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_8"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_8"]=true; jQuery("#gform_8").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_ajax' value='form_id=8&amp;title=&amp;description=&amp;tabindex=0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_8' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='8' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_8' value='WyJbXSIsIjA0MWEwOGJmYjI2ZGZkZjM0ZDc2NjcyODYzNGM4Y2I3Il0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_8' id='gform_target_page_number_8' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_8' id='gform_source_page_number_8' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div> <iframe style='display:none;width:0px;height:0px;' src='about:blank' name='gform_ajax_frame_8' id='gform_ajax_frame_8' title='This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.'></iframe> <script type='text/javascript'>jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 8, 'https://windmillmicrolending.org/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.gif' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_8').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_8');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_8').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').offset().top - mt); }, 50 );if(window['gformInitDatepicker']) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window['gformInitPriceFields']) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery('#gform_source_page_number_8').val();gformInitSpinner( 8, 'https://windmillmicrolending.org/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.gif' );jQuery(document).trigger('gform_page_loaded', [8, current_page]);window['gf_submitting_8'] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK').html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gf_8').offset().top - mt);jQuery(document).trigger('gform_confirmation_loaded', [8]);window['gf_submitting_8'] = false;}, 50);}else{jQuery('#gform_8').append(contents);if(window['gformRedirect']) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [8, current_page]);} );} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 8) {gf_global["number_formats"][8] = {"8":{"price":false,"value":false},"2":{"price":false,"value":false},"3":{"price":false,"value":false},"4":{"price":false,"value":false},"5":{"price":false,"value":false},"6":{"price":false,"value":false},"7":{"price":false,"value":false},"9":{"price":false,"value":false}};if(window['jQuery']){if(!window['gf_form_conditional_logic'])window['gf_form_conditional_logic'] = new Array();window['gf_form_conditional_logic'][8] = { logic: { 4: {"field":{"actionType":"show","logicType":"all","rules":[{"fieldId":"3","operator":"is","value":"Other"}]},"nextButton":null,"section":null} }, dependents: { 4: [4] }, animation: 0, defaults: {"8":{"8.2":"","8.3":"","8.4":"","8.6":"","8.8":""}}, fields: {"8":[],"2":[],"3":[4],"4":[],"5":[],"6":[],"7":[],"9":[]} }; if(!window['gf_number_format'])window['gf_number_format'] = 'decimal_dot';jQuery(document).ready(function(){gf_apply_rules(8, [4], true);jQuery('#gform_wrapper_8').show();jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_conditional_logic', [8, null, true]);} );} } } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [8, 1]) } ); </script>