Is an entrepreneur born or made? What is your definition of success? Is there something that people would be surprised to learn about you? We put those questions and more to the contenders for the 24th annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards (p.31), which sees Ernst & Young honour the province’s sharpest business minds. The diversity of the responses reminded us that everyone has their own route to success—and their own ideas about what makes work, and life, meaningful. But as our profiles of the EOY finalists and winners show, the best entrepreneurs have a few things in common: a refusal to accept the status quo, a willingness to take risks and the grit to see things through.
On page 62, you’ll find my profile of someone who fits this mould: Scott Menke, cofounder and CEO of Paragon Gaming, whose Parq Vancouver casino and resort just opened. Having spent time with Menke, who doesn’t exactly thrust himself into the spotlight, I realized that most British Columbians knew little about the American behind this controversial $640-million development. In 2011, when Vancouver city council rejected Las Vegas–based Paragon’s bid to enlarge its existing local gambling footprint, it looked like what is now known as Parq might never get built. But the company found a way to work with the City—and Menke was rewarded for his patience. Regardless of where you stand on gambling, the result is much more than a casino. Parq will add a new dimension to downtown Vancouver and its tourism industry, which has grown up since Paragon first pitched the project more than a decade ago.
It’s been half a decade since we launched the 30 Under 30, our celebration of entrepreneurs who are starting and establishing their careers. Several winners have become EOY finalists, the latest being West Coast Canning co-founder Matt Leslie. Last time, we received close to 350 nominations for the 30 Under 30, leaving us with plenty to bicker about as we narrowed the list down to the most deserving new talents, and I’m expecting another strong turnout for 2018. To put your own or someone else’s name forward for the fifth annual awards, visit Bcbusiness.ca/30under30. But this offer won’t last forever: the deadline for nominations is December 1.
Speaking of new talent, I’m happy to welcome Scott Neufeld to the Bcbusiness team. Previously a staffer at the Vancouver Sun and North Shore Outlook, Neufeld brings business reporting and editing chops to his role as associate editor. Look for his name in these pages during the months ahead.