5 Lessons we can learn from Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 event. This event represents both the pinnacle and the beginning of success for 40 outstanding business people and entrepreneurs in the city.

Instead of giving you a full run down of the event and the winners (I’m sure you can read all about it in BIV), I’m going to give you five lessons that I think we can learn from these amazing achievers.

Lesson 1 – Dare to chase your dream

Yes, very cliché. I know! But it’s very true. Many of the winners of the Top 40 started with an idea of what they wanted to do but no clue of how to get there. Through the tumultuous wave of trial and error, these rising stars stuck with their dream until they made it.

Lesson 2 – You’re never too young to start

Kyle Vucko, CEO and Co-founder of Indochino was one of the youngest recipients of the Top 40 under 40 awards this year. He was only 22 and a student at the University of Victoria when he started the rising start of a company Indochino. Indochino is an apparel company that specializes in custom menswear that you order online. Indochino is on the fast track to becoming a top fashion brand in Canada.

Lesson 3 – Social responsibility and business are not mutually exclusive

Matt Fraser, President and COO of Vancouver’s hottest yoga studio chain “YYoga” believes that success can be found in the simple vision: “to make the world a better place”

Lesson 4 – Success can be found in any industry

I was surprised at some of the movers and shakers that had won the award and started companies in an industry that I knew nothing about. Joshua Zoshi and Benjamin Sparrow started Saltworks Technologies which has begun producing unique innovations in the area of desalinization. Sparrow had the epiphany for a desalinization technology on a train in China.  Who knew there was money to be made in salt water!

Lesson 5 – It really is about execution

Having a great idea, does not mean you have a business. A number of the winners of the Top 40 started media/communications/marketing companies. How many of these companies do you think are out there? Answer: Tons! What separates the achievers and the people who sit with a kernel of an idea is work. Lots of hard dedicated work. When you can take your idea, build a company and start monetizing, then you might be on to something.

So in the words Val Litwin, Vice-president of franchise operations, Nurse Next Door and a recipient of the Top 40 under 40 award – “Carpe Diem – just go for it, let’s try something new today”.


  1. Just attended SAM BECKFORD’s 2-hour Wealth Triangle seminar last night and he said that it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you can turn it a billion-dollar concern. Two of the biggest companies in the world are pretty simple enough: a coffee seller (Starbucks) and a grocery (Walmart). All it takes is #4 (hard work). One thing you might want to add to # 2- “You’re never too old to start one (a business), either. And expect some failures along the way. No one hits a home run in their first business every time.”

    1. Enjoyed this post, thanks Matt.
      I agree with George’s comments – esp that age (old or young) should not be a barrier. I talk to people all the time who are hard workers, intelligent and great at jobs that they are currently doing, but which they hate – yet feel that they are not able to escape because they are too old (most of these people are only in their 30s!).

      1. I once heard a mentor say that the day you wake up dreading going to work is the day you should quit. I’ve lived by that rule because life is really too short to spend 8 hours a day in a job you hate.

    2. Overcoming failures is a major step. Most people do not recover. I am still recovering from my first businesses failure in 2008, but am taking steps and gaining the confidence to try again.

  2. I agree with Matt Fraser, especially since doing something people appreciate/helping always scores major karma points! People are just much more willing to listen, help, or even buy your product when they appreciate what you do =]

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