Success Stories are always well received. This former Scarborough City Hall Council Chamber was packed with would be entrepreneurs straining to gain an idea to get an edge from the knowledge of these award winners of the ACCE (Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs). The Toronto area is home to more than a million and a half people of Chinese origin who have largely migrated here from many parts of the world.
Unsurprisingly, one overriding theme from this forum is the personal development stories of each entrepreneur. Their business growth was very much coincident with their personal growth to accept and work with the challenges and changes that occur. The very successful people develop themselves and their business needs. They progress from strength to strength.
The Entrepreneur Award Winners Speak
Ms. Sandra Tam, a Director of the ACCE and a Senior Business Development Officer of the City of Markham, Ontario, was forum moderator. She should be thanked for asking the right questions at the right time for a very interesting exchange. The entrepreneur award winners told their journey to success in turn before the question and answer session got under way. In no particular order, they were:
1) Garry Lee of Global EMC Inc. 2004 Best Start up Award.
He attributed his success on focussing on strong client service. He guides and helps them with good advice to meet international safety standards. This is of course a very special and growing market niche he has identified. The testing of wireless devices for electro-magnetic compatibility ensures that such radio signal emitting devices does not interfere with other equipment. Hiring outstanding people is also one of the identified critical reasons for EMC’s success.
Growth has been amazing. The original staff of 2 is now 18. Their 10,000 sq. ft. facility will be expanding into a new one with 23,000 sq. ft. which is organized to be employee owned. Garry Lee cares for his people. EMC has also partnered by an American based company. Their website: http://www.globalemclabs.com/
2) Kristen Ma of Pure + Simple Beauty Incorporated. 2009 Most Innovative Award.
Ms. Ma began Pure+ Simple because it was a personal issue she wanted to tackle. From her explanation of how she was allergic to chemical based products that irritated her skin, she focussed on natural products. They worked so well that Kristen and her mum Jean Eng launched their first holistic spa and a line of cosmetics in their brand. Talk about following one’s true calling.
The spa is now in 4 locations with 40 employees. They have taken steps to create a training video to educate her employees. Pure + Simple has been awarded “The Best Facial in Toronto” by both the NOW and Toronto Life magazines. Her book, “Beauty, Pure and Simple” is available in both Canada and USA. This is her blog, http://holisticvanity.com . Once a writer, always a writer.
3) Ted Takounseun of Ti Foods. 2011 Award of Merit.
Ted grew up quite poor and isolated from his community in the Canadian West Coast of British Columbia – Vancouver. But his father began what was then called Thai Indochine Trading Inc. in 1985 which is now Ti Foods. Sheer hard work and foresight has grown the Asian food supply company to 50 employees and are in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The growth of the Asian population and their expectations was a real boon to Ti Foods.
“Sharing Authentic Tastes” to all Canadians is a very apt objective. You can find their products in Loblaws, Sobeys, Foody Mart, Ocean’s, etc. Ti Foods believe in giving back to the community for their success. They support many hospitals and organizations like Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Sunnybrook Hospital, Mon Sheong Foundation, the Daily Bread Food Bank, etc. This is Ti Food’s website: http://ti-foods.com .
4) Brian Chan of C. J. Marketing Ltd. 2011 Most Progressive Award.
Brian began his entrepreneurship selling toy vehicles out of a gift shop after losing his job with Boeing in the early ‘80’s. C. J. Marketing was born in 1985 selling home decor items. And the rest is history. C. J. Now markets and sells to major trade shows and major retail chains across the country. Canadian Home Furnishing, Home Hardware among others number among their clients.
There are now 85 employees in 3 companies, operating from 2 industrial buildings with a square footage of 80,000 sq. ft. A showroom of 6,000 sq. ft. Showcases products made in China. This group of companies has won other awards as top supplier in the industry. Mr. Chan had the honour of being invited by the governments of Mexico and Indonesia to present a “how to of exporting products”. Check C. J. out here: http://cjmarketing.com .
5) Stephen Chan of Dapasoft Inc. 2011 Most Innovative Award.
As he speaks, Stephen is obviously quite an outwardly dynamic personality. Dapasoft is an IT company specialising in custom software solutions to a varied list of business sectors. They include healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector. This company is his flagship, but he has developed strategic partnerships and leadership positions in other corporate entities.
It is gratifying to hear of his story about a very special mentor when he began, who told him to lead, and never follow or run a company by consensus. He attributes Dapasoft’s success to its people. He is idealistic about promoting a young and energetic company culture. The future is their objective. Stephen’s outlook is that of being the best there is and talks about being the next Google or Microsoft is always a possibility. This is Dapasoft’s website: http://dapasoft.com .
Announcement: The ACCE will be accepting nominations for Their annual Chinese Canadian Entrepreneur Awards for 2012. The Awards will be presented at the Awards Gala on April 14, 2012. For information: http://acce.ca