Co-founder and CO-CEO LONDRE BODYWEAR INC. Principal AINSLEY ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY AGE: 28 LIFE STORY: Patrick Tolchard went back to school to help finance his business. A year after graduating from Medicine Hat College with a bachelor of science in ecotourism and outdoor leadership in 2013, Tolchard, who grew up in Pitt Meadows, moved to Radium Hot Springs. His boyfriend had bought the town's only pub, Horsethief Pub and Eatery, and Tolchard worked in whitewater rafting and then for Fairmont Hot Springs Resort as a special events coordinator.
When a former classmate, Krista Berg, visited the area to ski, the two began talking about buying a derelict theme park and converting it to an ecotourism adventure and education destination. To qualify for grants through the
Start Up Company Pitch Competition, Tolchard re-enrolled at Medicine Hat College and obtained a diploma in entrepreneurship. In May 2017, he won $10,000 in the competition, plus a year of accounting services and the company's first tax return from Johnston Morrison Hunter & Co., the accounting firm that sponsors the competition. The park opened to the public on July 21.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Recognized as Rising Star Business of the Year by the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce in October, Valley Zipline did $100,000 in tour sales in five weeks of operation, with 2018 sales projections of $343,000. It expects to add three to five members to the 18 full-time staff. –F.S. LIFE STORY: Born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, and raised with a younger brother in Vancouver, Ilya Brotzky tends not to see borders. His parents moved the family first to Israel, in 1991, and to Vancouver two years later. In 2010, after earning a bachelor of business administration from Cornell University, Brotzky headed to Rio de Janeiro as a management trainee with Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A. When he became friendly with Brazilian software engineers who wanted to relocate to Canada, he had a eureka moment. “A lot of them were good technically, but they were missing English as a skill,” Brotzky explains.
So in 2015 he launched Vanhack Technologies, an online school and recruiting platform where international job seekers can receive help with their English, resumés and interview skills, and get hired by companies looking for hard-to-find tech talent. Vanhack is based in Vancouver, but Brotzky leads it from wherever he is, which could be one of any number of tech accelerator programs he's taking part in, from Techstars Berlin to Start-up Chile.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Run by a staff of 10, Vanhack has 142,000 members from 73 countries. Basic membership is free, but a $65 monthly fee provides premium access to English-language courses, one-on-one coaching, resumé and cover letter tutorials, and interview prep. Upward of 350 companies have used Vanhack's recruitment services, for which Brotzky charges a finder's fee of 20 percent of starting salary. The company broke $1 million in revenue last year, and he expects to exceed that in 2018. –J.W.