The Ambition project is a video series in which we interview successful and ambitious Calgary entrepreneurs and talk to them about their struggles, what they’ve had to overcome on their journey and valuable insights they have to share with up and coming business owners. The series will premiere on September 18th, 2018. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube or Spotify to not miss upcoming episodes.
Ambition – A Symbol Syndication Original
This is Jonathan Hafichuk’s entry into the 2018 Calgary Professional Videographer’s Association annual film contest. This video is also the trailer for a series we launched in September of 2018, which we are currently calling “The Ambition Project” featuring prominent Calgary entrepreneurs.
Ep 1 – Graham Sherman – Starting the Alberta Craft Beer Revolution
Graham Sherman didn’t come from money. No one gave him a permission slip that said, “Hey Graham, you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur!” Graham struggles with the same human issues as the rest of us. From risking everything to finding the balance between family and business, Graham discusses the origins of Tool Shed Brewery, his love for Craft Beer, and how his approach to a successful business was to strengthen the people of the Calgary Community.
Ep 2 – Nelson Liem – Exmerce Barter
Nelson Liem is a Calgary entrepreneur who started a very successful barter network in Calgary called Exmerce. Nelson is one of the nicest and most helpful people you’ll meet which is surely one of the contributing factors to his success and a strong part of his personal brand. In this interview, we dive into what it has taken him to get to where he is, the struggles along the way and the other ventures he has embarked on.
Ep 3 – Andy Fennell – Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar
Andy Fennell is the owner of Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar in Inglewood, Calgary. Andy started Gravity just before the recession in Calgary and managed to overcome the struggles of a changing economy. In this interview we talk about work-life balance, creating a solid business plan and what to consider before opening a coffee shop.
Ep 4 – Ryan Townend – WJ Communications
Ryan Townend started William Joseph communications in Calgary, Alberta, providing marketing businesses of all sizes. After this, he expanded to other cities and now has four locations. In this interview we talk about the ups, the downs and the hurdles that come with rapid growth.
Ep 5 – Kim Orlesky – KO Advantage Group
Kim Orlesky is the founder of the KO Advantage Group which runs the KO Sale U. She is an expert in high-value business to business sales. In this interview, we talk about how she got into sales, what she has learned along the journey and some actionable sales tips for businesses.
Ep 6 – Shawn Freeman – TWT Group
Shawn Freeman is a local Calgary entrepreneur and founded of the TWT Group which provides IT services for small and medium businesses in Calgary. In this interview we talk about what it took to get his business off the ground, how he gives his staff unlimited vacation time and developing your companies values.
Ep 7 – Jeremy Fokkens – Award Winning Photographer
Jeremy Fokkens is an internationally published and award-winning photographer based out of Calgary, Alberta.
In this interview, we talk about how Jeremy went from traveling the world and dancing on a cruise ship to becoming an award-winning photographer. We discuss how photographers can set themselves apart in the industry and the importance of embracing passion projects. We also examine Jeremy’s ideas on how photographers should price themselves and the importance of providing and demonstrating value.
Ep 8 – Charles Osuji – From Immigrant to Partner by 31
Charles Osuji is the managing partner at Osuji and Smith Lawyers in Calgary, Alberta. He came to Canada from Nigeria and challenged the Canadian bar. After this, through hard work and dedication, he worked his way up through the ranks to eventually making partner. Shortly after, he bought out his partner James Smith. Charles, at the young age of 31, is a shining example of what you can accomplish if you’re hungry and willing to work. In this interview, we talk about the struggles he faced as well as the advice he has for new entrepreneurs.
Ep 9 – Adam Browne – Vagus Fitness
Adam Browne is a local Calgarian who started running boot camps in a basement with his business partner and now owns the successful fitness studio, Vagus Fitness in Royal Oak.
Ep 10 – Boris Vujanovic – WestMaids
Boris Vujanovic is one of the two partners who started WestMaids which within two years has grown to mid six figure revenue almost entirely due to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In this interview we talk about how his family came to Canada and how he went about rapidly building his business to the point where he pretty much works exclusively in a business development roll and is relatively hands off.
Ep 11 – Kevin Kent – An Undeniably Better Knife Store Chain
In this interview, he talks about what makes the Japanese knives that Knifewear sells undeniably better and the struggles that have come with opening 5 knife stores plus a store of interesting products known as Kent of Inglewood. We talk about his ideas on work-life balance, how to remove yourself as a bottleneck in your business and his plans for a book and large scale expansion to different countries.
Ep 12 – Andrew Obrecht – Building YYC Cycle
Andrew Obrecht is one of the founding partners of YYC Cycle which is a chain of spin studios located in Calgary and YEG-Cycle in Edmonton.
Andrew talks about his past ventures, struggles in entrepreneurship and what it has taken to build YYC Cycle into what it is today, as well as their plans for expansion in the future.
Ep 13 – Kyle Friedman – Building a Million Dollar Painting Company
Kyle Friedman is a serial entrepreneur, the founder of Zoom Painting, Zoom Living, Ash and Oak and currently sits on the board of EO Calgary (Entrepreneur Organization). He has a history of starting different businesses ventures as well as comes from an entrepreneurial family. Zoom Painting was recently listed at number 86 on the Maclean’s Growth 500 list for fastest growing Canadian companies.
In this interview, Kyle talks about how hard he had to work to get his first painting business off the ground, the importance of building a good brand and how cash flow and financials can impact a business.