October is Small Business Month — a time to celebrate and recognize the businesses and entrepreneurs that power our communities locally, provincially, and nationally.
Apollo Magazine has been doing that since we launched earlier this year. We take a lot of pride in how we profile entrepreneurs and source advice for the newly aspiring and seasoned business owners alike. We decided to take a look back at some of the entrepreneurs and small business owners who have inspired us this year.
1. Armin Faraji: Changing how businesses work with social media influencers
Armin Faraji is helping businesses tap into the world of social media influencers. His startup Node App is an influencer marketplace that allows brands to offer products and services in exchange for influencer-created content. Node App works with food and beverage businesses such as Oliver & Bonacini, Cacao 70, and Pinkberry to take advantage of the growing usage of social media in consumer buying decisions.
“We started Node because influencers are a new form of word-of-mouth marketing—it’s just happening through the web,” said Armin. “Node App allows businesses to offer people an ice cream cone for word-of-mouth marketing, but instead of telling 10 of your friends, you’re telling your 2,000 followers.”
2. Brooklyn Wall redefines her passion for yoga as a test of patience
Wall’s professional journey began in 2009 when she discovered that yoga brought out her best qualities and a sense of emotional, mental, and physical alignment. Soon, it became more than a hobby or preferred exercise. Yoga became her purpose when she realized she wanted to help people who are striving to achieve a similar equilibrium.
Since moving to Vancouver from the prairies, Wall has been actively pursuing opportunities that align with her purpose. The first step was participating in a 200-hour yoga training program. Once completed, she obtained the official license to teach in the styles of flow, Hatha, and power. She underwent additional training in hot and yin yoga and has since added those styles to her teaching repertoire.
3. Larry Lau: The e-commerce king who left his throne for venture capitalism
Larry Lau’s Eighty8 Ventures works with everyone from startups to medium-sized companies to help transform their ideas into reality. Instead of providing businesses with capital, the studio invests by providing the software development resources required to help products take flight.
“For those who have a great idea but don’t have a technical background, they can get $200,000 of funding but still have to figure out how to build their product,” said Lau. “We bypass this whole process and work with entrepreneurs as their technical co-founders.”
4. How Molly Girod rose to the top of the Vancouver vegan food scene
For Molly Girod, her decision to enter this industry happened years before veganism became as commonplace as it is today. Starting her own vegan baking business wasn’t about keeping up with market trends — it was about bringing people together through sharing good food and nurturing her passion for creating.
Yellow Basket Baking was born from Girod’s childhood culinary passion and her aim to bring quality food to people who, out of necessity or preference, are more selective about the food they consume.
5. Petra Mayer: Investing in self-development means investing in your career
Since 2011, Petra Mayer has been helping corporations and small businesses refine their online business strategies through her company, Petra Mayer Consulting. On top of one-on-one consulting services, she offers group training programs, VIP retreats, and online courses for clients aiming to clarify their online business strategies and learn new tech skills.
“The journey is where we really learn the most,” Mayer states firmly. “It’s where you do the work and build your story as a company. I see this lacking with many start-up companies that want to rush into their success. They haven’t done the [inner] work and haven’t got any stories to tell yet, so they don’t have any experience of what their clients really need. If that’s the case, it’s better to start with clients one-on-one to slowly build up the company’s story.”