Matt Colling­wood + Tamsin Plax­ton

CO- FOUNDERS, TAMWOOD GROUP OF COMPANI E S

BC Business Magazine - - Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 -

It took just two chats for Matt Colling­wood and Tamsin Plax­ton to start a busi­ness to­gether. The On­tario na­tives met 25 years ago while on hol­i­day in Hood River, Ore­gon, right after they'd grad­u­ated from univer­sity and were pre­par­ing to start their ca­reers in Van­cou­ver–in fi­nance and law, re­spec­tively. Both had ex­pe­ri­ence op­er­at­ing sum­mer camps. “It came up in lit­er­ally our sec­ond con­ver­sa­tion,” Plax­ton re­calls. “Matt asked me, `Tamsin, what would you do if you could do some­thing else?' And I said, `Hon­estly, I would run a sum­mer camp.”

That struck a chord with Colling­wood, so the two opened their first camp in Whistler in 1993. The North Amer­ica–wide busi­ness has grown to three English lan­guage schools, three ca­reer col­leges and seven in­ter­na­tional sum­mer camps, which at­tract at­ten­dees from across the globe.

The founders have faced chal­lenges along the way be­cause so many things–from the SARS scare of years past to the cur­rent U.S. govern­ment's im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy–im­pact their com­pany. “There's some things you just can't pre­pare your­self for,” Plax­ton ac­knowl­edges. “But it's about hav­ing good safety poli­cies and be­ing very care­ful about how we travel with our kids and where we go.” –N.C.

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