BC entrepreneur explores new avenues to grow in a mature market
VANCOUVER, Sept. 26, 2018 /CNW/ - Christian Chia, President and CEO of OpenRoad Auto Group Limited — British Columbia's largest-volume dealership group — is this year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Pacific winner.
Established in 1978 as Multiland Investment, the small, family-run business of one car dealership eventually grew to four stores and three brands by the time Christian became president in 1998. He then led the transition from Multiland to OpenRoad in 2000 and has since paved the road for explosive growth. Today, OpenRoad is the largest auto retailer in BC, with 26 retail locations, including 23 dealerships and 3 collision centres.
"Christian is taking a fresh approach to differentiate OpenRoad in a mature market," says Lui Petrollini, Entrepreneur Of The Year Pacific Program Director. "Loyalty marketing, predictive analytics and multi-channel platforms are just some of the tactics he's embraced to create a personalized and trusting experience — both online and in-store."
OpenRoad continues to invest in a culture of experimentation by implementing tools, such as a first-in-Canada custom payment platform (PaymentEngine) and a custom peer-recognition social application (OpenRoad Heart), and with employee learning like their internal Leadership Development Program.
"One of OpenRoad's biggest strengths is understanding its people," says Petrollini. "Buying a car is a big investment decision for many people, and the experience often doesn't end at the point of purchase. Christian aims to build on that by delivering an engaged and meaningful car ownership experience from one end of the customer journey to the other."
Christian's perseverance to experiment and explore new markets has allowed OpenRoad to overcome the size and legacy of longstanding competitors in the BC market. The company now employs 1,100 staff and plans to expand further in Western Canada and Washington State.
As the Pacific region's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018, Christian will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Prairies, Ontario, Atlantic and Quebec regions for the national honour of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Canada, to be presented at a gala celebration on 29 November 2018 in Toronto. In June 2019, Canada's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Follow @EYCanada and #EOYPacific on Twitter for the latest event updates.
Visit ey.com/ca/EOY for more program details and a complete list of category finalists and gala dates in other regions.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Pacific category award recipients:
OpenRoad Auto Group Limited | Richmond
ZE PowerGroup Inc. and ZE Power Engineering Inc. | Richmond
Zakaria (Zak) El-Ramly
velofix Group of Companies | Vancouver
Christopher Guillemet, Davide Xausa, Boris Martin
Mining & Resources
Bedrock Capital Corporation | Vancouver
Blue Pine Enterprises Ltd. | Surrey
Left Coast Naturals | Burnaby
BroadbandTV | Vancouver
Tourism & Hospitality
Tap & Barrel Restaurants Ltd. | Vancouver
INDOCHINO Apparel Inc. | Vancouver
About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world's most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/ca/EOY
The 2018 Pacific independent judging panel consists of Charles Chang, President & Founder, Lyra Growth Partners Inc.; Debra Hewson, President & CEO, Odlum Brown; Sacha McLean, Partner, McLean Group; Ali Pejman, Partner, Fort Capital Partners; Lisa Shields, Founder & CEO, FI.SPAN Services Inc.; Bill Tam, Co-Chair, Digital Technology Supercluster; Cathy Thorpe, President & CEO; Nurse Next Door; and Marsha Walden, President & CEO, Destination British Columbia.
This year's program national sponsors are ICI RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada, Media One Creative and The Printing House Limited. Pacific regional sponsors are Leone, Canada Wide Media, Hunt Personnel/Temporarily Yours, Rocky Mountaineer, Captivate Elevator Media and the University of British Columbia.
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SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)