Steve, Matt, Chris and Mike Baines win BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award
RAYMOND, AB, Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - After finding a highly effective, environmentally friendly alternative to older insulation products, Steve Baines knew he had hit on something big. In less than four years, the cleverly branded Enviro Foam Insulation has won a resounding seal of approval from customers across Canada and attracted interest around the world. For their success, Steve Baines, 31, and his brothers-Matt, 30, Chris, 27, and Mike, 22-have earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Alberta, an honour they will receive tonight at a ceremony in Ottawa.
Working in their construction business, Steve and his brothers regularly saw the damage resulting from conventional types of insulation products. Convinced of the alternative soy-based product's potential, Steve launched the company in 2005. As well as branding and marketing the product at trade shows and education seminars, he also built a highly informative website and saw interest skyrocket. "We started getting calls from all over the province, then all over the country."
Building a network coast to coast
Beginning with his brother Chris and gradually joined by Matt and Mike, Steve travelled a lot to keep up with soaring demand. After less than a year, they decided to franchise. Now with dealers in 29 locations from coast to coast, Enviro Foam is Canada's largest spray foam insulation company and the only one that operates as a contractor network.
Enviro Foam dealers regularly share their knowledge, provide advice and tips, and pitch in to help each other. Their sizeable knowledge base, together with the ongoing support of Steve and his brothers, is a key part of their success. All of the Baines brothers, who continue to do spraying work themselves, are readily accessible to talk to dealers' customers. A large part of Enviro Foam's business involves educating the general public, as well as contractors, building inspectors and government officials.
"When someone really understands this product," Steve says, "it's almost a no-brainer-it solves so many problems and really does pay for itself." Most of the company's business today comes from homeowners who may have seen the product at a trade show, heard rave reviews from other customers or found it on the Web. "The feedback is phenomenal. Customers are absolutely amazed. They cannot believe how well it insulates, how quiet their home is, how cheap their utility bills are."
Building on its appeal, the company has launched a do-it-yourself line of Enviro Foam in a can that seals small gaps, and things like window and door jambs. They're also preparing to introduce kits that will enable people to spray Enviro Foam on areas such as bay windows or to use it for small touch-up jobs. Steve says the company's biggest competition doesn't come from spray foam contractors, but from granite countertops and hardwood floors suppliers. "The customer has a budget; they have to choose whether to spend it on something they see every day or something they never see."
With deep roots in their small community, Steve and his brothers are heavily involved in making it the kind of place they enjoyed so much growing up, by coaching sports, volunteering at their church, sponsoring athletic events to raise funds and donating to charities.
"With the skilled help of his brothers, Steve took a product he felt passionately about and used his marketing savvy to build a business that is ideally positioned to capitalize on the demand for energy-efficient homes and green solutions," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
The company's plans for rapid expansion include 350 locations in major centres across North America by 2020. "Our vision is to be the premier choice for insulation worldwide," Steve adds.
Recognition for young leaders
A major feature of Small Business Week, BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards recognize the entrepreneurial spirit and the business and leadership accomplishments of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners are selected by panels of business people from across the country who consider the originality of the business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. They also take into account the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges that were overcome.
2009 YEA and Small Business Week partners
Platinum partners of the 2009 Young Entrepreneur Awards and Small Business Week are Deloitte and Export Development Canada. Gold partners are Borden Ladner Gervais, and Maclean's.
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From more than 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.
SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada
For further information: For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 20: BDC Media Room: 1-866-962-4554, (613) 562-3443; After October 20: Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929, firstname.lastname@example.org