VANCOUVER, Oct. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - With a $15,000 start-up loan as their
only outside financing, Harry Chemko and Jason Billingsley have built Elastic
Path Software Inc. into a $10-million company that competes with software
giants such as IBM and Microsoft. For this remarkable success, Harry, 29, and
Jason, 30, have won BDC's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for British
Columbia and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Vancouver.
Elastic Path provides software solutions that power the online retail
sites of some of the largest brands in the world, including Garmin, Telus,
Samsonite, Nike Bauer and Aeroplan. The company also handles the retailer role
in select e-commerce outsourcing partnerships, such as the online store for
the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Selling a software solution was not what Harry and Jason set out to do in
2000. After graduating from college, they and fellow student Mark Williams
started a consulting organization that provided services and developed
applications for companies that wanted to get online. "After doing several
applications in the e-commerce sector, we had spotted a niche that was
unserved. There were a lot of very expensive enterprise vendors and a lot of
small business shopping carts, but there was nothing in between," explains
Harry, the company's CEO. The partners jumped on that opportunity and made a
drastic change in their business. "We took what we had developed in that
e-commerce application and turned it into a product that we brought to
That decision was a smart one. Four years ago, the company was a small
services firm with 10 employees. Today, it has grown to serve more than 180
customers worldwide with over 100 employees in two countries. Over 85 percent
of its business is in the U.S. and Europe, and PROFIT magazine has ranked
Elastic Path as one of Canada's 100 fastest growing companies.
Leading the way
Rather than promote their product through expensive marketing programs,
Harry and Jason worked the Internet, generating hundreds of leads a month. In
2004, they secured a contract with Aeroplan to set up the online merchandising
and reward section of its site. "Once you start to get the credibility of
large brands, others start to follow," explains Harry. In early 2007, they
took another giant step forward by signing an agreement with BEA Systems
(recently purchased by Oracle), which adopted and resold Elastic Path as BEA
Aqualogic Commerce Services. Today, a lot of Elastic Path's leads are
generated through what the partners describe as thought leadership. "We speak
at conferences, run one of the most subscribed e-commerce blogs in the world
and do free webinars with industry thought leaders," explains Jason, the
company's VP, Innovation.
"Elastic Path is a shining example of success that has resulted from
cutting-edge ideas and high-tech savvy. Harry and Jason stand out as leaders
in their field," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
"Three years ago we probably would have said that we wanted to get our
business to $10 million in revenues and then sell it," says Harry. "But now we
have an exciting new goal: We want to keep growing and really make our mark on
the e-commerce market."
Highlighting young leaders
BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week.
They recognize the entrepreneurial spirit, and the business and leadership
accomplishments, of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each
province and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of
their business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. The
panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and
any special challenges that were overcome.
Small Business Week partners
Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Rogers, Western
Economic Diversification Canada and Export Development Canada. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with
entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles and focuses on
helping small and medium sized businesses in their development projects, local
and global. BDC manages a $10.6 billion loan and investment portfolio and
serves over 28,000 clients. Small and medium sized businesses make up 99.7% of
all employer businesses in Canada. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC
For further information:
For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 21:
BDC Media Room, (604) 893-7343, 1-877-232-9321; After October 21: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929