Age: 26

Company: Grass Frames

Location: Vancouver

Full profile of Al Roback

What do you think was the smartest single thing you did to get your business to the point it is at now?

Look for answers from people who are likely to have better answers than you. Before jumping out on a limb, it’s often beneficial to connect with, or read about, someone who has tried it before. Especially in the tech age, it has never been easier to connect with a mentor or an expert. I’m not insisting that you take anyone’s advice; just understand what the potential hazards are before you take that leap.

Can you think of something you might have done differently, or a decision you would change, that would have made it easier to get your business to this point?

I would suggest not locking yourself into a long lease for space at first. Though I still feel it was necessary to hold a larger space during our initial construction and prototyping phase, I would not have signed onto such an extensive lease. I feel that start-ups, especially in manufacturing, need to remain agile.

How optimistic are you about the Canadian economy in the next 12 months? What makes you optimistic/pessimistic?

Things are looking good. I can’t speak to the economy as a whole, but the segments I have been concerning myself with look very optimistic. Perhaps not as immediate as the next 12 months, but I definitely see Canadians investing in Canada and Canadian made resources and products in the near future.

Do you think the rewards of being an entrepreneur outweigh the investment you make in time and effort to run your own business? What are those rewards for you?

Being an entrepreneur needs to be its own reward. I am a big proponent of the idea that “getting there is half the fun.” If struggling along a difficult path is not your idea of a good time, then entrepreneurship might be the wrong thing for you. But sleepless nights, long hours in the shop and a fair dose of stress seem to have been treating me well enough.

Return to “The Next Generation: Canada’s Top Young Entrepreneurs, 2012”

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