At 35, Quebec businessman Yanik Guillemette has just received an honor. The former Cégep de Sainte-Foy student has been appointed as a delegate to represent Canada at the Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (YEA) conference to be held on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina, September 18-21.
O Rigid from the south shore of Quebec, Yanik grew up in L’Ancienne-Lorette. As a teenager, he began studying digital marketing at a very early age at Cégep de Sainte-Foy. Shortly after, he went to acquire a second degree, this time in human resources, at the Notre-Dame-de-Foy Campus.
But soon, his passion for the business community pushed him to exhilarate in the United States to continue his university studies. Four years later, the Quebecer graduated in finance at the prestigious Florida State College of Business in Tallahassee.
Upon his return to the capital, the principal finds a job at Investors Group, as Head of Recruitment, on chemin Quatre-Bourgeois in Sainte-Foy. He is also involved in real estate and economic development in the Quebec City area. The years pass, but gradually, the daily becomes difficult to manage for Yanik.
“The last two and three years have been a real ordeal, a desert crossing, where I was constantly trying to free myself from a system where I worked all the time,” he says. The banks had closed the financing tap, my partners almost went bankrupt, it was a disaster. ”
In 2015, a flash (or a flash of genius, in good French) changes everything for the businessman. Yanik creates Outgo.com , a digital platform entirely dedicated to supporting local businesses and SMEs in their digital shift. An adventure that – he still did not know – would slowly bring him to a presence at the G20 in Argentina.
A year later, Futurpreneurs Canada, which supports emerging companies across the country, contacts the entrepreneur to provide him with some funding and especially mentoring. A valuable collaboration then sets in to grow the company of Quebec.
A few months later, while business is going pretty well for his business, the Quebec resident receives an invitation from the sponsoring organization to apply for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, a global network of about 500,000 young entrepreneurs and organizations that support them.
“I had no idea what it was, but I submitted my video a bit without knowing, I told my story,” admits the contractor. Months later, the verdict falls. Yanik is selected, to his surprise. “It’s an honor that I took with great humility and with the impostor syndrome that wonders if I really have access to these forums.”
Proud of its success, Yanik believes today, with hindsight, to have a testimony and experience to share in the G20 next September. “I now have 165 SMEs with me, 15,000 users on my platform and a team of seven in growth mode. I have had success, but I have also experienced hard times to overcome. I think I have some message for young entrepreneurs, well humbly. ”
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN ARGENTINA?
In the area of Riverfront Palermo, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Argentina, 30 Canadian delegates and entrepreneurs will accompany Yanik Guillemette to meet – at conferences, conferences and workshops – more than 500 businessmen (60%) and women from business (40%), all between 18 and 39 years old.
The stakes will be many, promises the Québécois. “There are two main challenges this year: identifying the educational needs to support entrepreneurs and talk about the entrepreneurial culture,” he says. In other words, how do we accompany an entrepreneur who gets started and how to deal with the challenges facing entrepreneurs in society. ”
In Quebec, in particular, the perception of the business community is not always ideal, according to him, hence the need to discuss.
“It’s sad but in Quebec, and I want to say particularly in Quebec City, an entrepreneur is often demonized. It’s seen as a capitalist who makes money. We also often hear that it is someone who is lucky. ”
– Yanik Guillemette
To speak of an entrepreneurial culture is to explain the daily life of these citizens on the margins of society, he continues, as members of a market economy that works for all. This year, the G20 will also focus on facilitating youth entrepreneurship by opening up funding and mentoring opportunities.
One of the ultimate goals of Canadian partners in Argentina will be to advocate for an inter-nation visa between member countries of the summit, according to Yanik. “The ultimate goal is to put in place a document that would allow an entrepreneur to do business in all G20 member countries, without restriction,” he explains.
From a more personal point of view, the Quebecer also hopes to develop an interesting network of contacts next September, in order to develop its economic growth in Europe and Latin America. “I have been taking intensive Spanish classes since April twice a week. I’m ready, “he concludes in a humorous tone.