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 channel to stay updated or stream an episode on Spotify or iTunes.
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 16 – Adam Thompson – Building a Million Dollar Sock Company
Adam Thompson is the founder of Friday Sock Co. In this interview, we talk about his previous life attempting to be a comedian and working as a head hunter and how he got into selling socks.
Ep 15 – Kyle Shewfelt – 3X Olympian, Gold Medalist and Entrepreneur
Kyle Shewfelt is Canada’s most successful gymnast in history having attended three Olympic Games and winning a gold medal in 2004. In this interview, we talk about what it took to get to the level he was at and how he came back from breaking both his legs only 11 months before competing in 2008.
We also explore the very dark time he went through after retiring as an athlete before deciding to open Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics and the struggles associated with entrepreneurship.
Ep 14 – Mike Sherrard – The Purple Realtor
Mike Sherrard (better known as the Purple Realtor) is a local Calgary realtor and entrepreneur. Through creative use of social media, personal branding, and a purple BMW, he rapidly built a real estate business and a name for himself.
In this interview, we talk about his transition from being an engineer into real estate and the struggles that came along with that. We also discuss his thoughts on building a personal brand, the future of real estate and the new business he just launched called Pivotal Hype.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.