John Carbrey wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Ontario
Toronto, Ontario, October 20, 2009 - Pursuing his passion for technology, self-taught Web prodigy John Carbrey anticipated the demand for paperless, web-based solutions while still in his teens. Since launching Intrafinity nine years ago, his company's game-changing suite of enterprise Web content solutions has captured clients throughout North America, including organizations as diverse as universities, hospitals and world-leading private sector companies. For his success, John Carbrey, 27, has earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Ontario and will be honoured at a ceremony tonight in Ottawa.
Investing in developing a technology framework which drastically reduces the time it takes to develop software solutions and drawing on top-notch web professionals, Intrafinity provides an integrated suite of Web-based tools and applications that create, publish and manage digital content and enable collaboration for portals, websites, communities, document management, event coordination, mentoring, and online learning.
John spent his summers during high school teaching himself how to program and then develop Web applications. "I was really passionate, diving into anything I could get my hands on." At 16, he built his first website, winning a prestigious MIT-affiliated award that placed him as a top young Web architect. In 2001, after selling products to customers that included one of the largest hospitals in the United States, he launched Intrafinity.
Putting the focus on quality
Starting out on his own, John was joined early on by a business partner and mentor, Chris Duff, who had more than 20 years' experience in the IT industry. "His experience and ingenuity have really contributed to our success." Today, Intrafinity's solutions have been specialized for a wide range of private sector corporations such as Intel, government organizations such as Cancer Care Ontario, educational institutions such as Michigan State University, associations such as Retail Council of Canada as well as healthcare organizations, municipalities, and school districts.
Building strategically to enable the company's growth, Intrafinity's revenues have doubled over the last two years. "Our strategic focus on Intrafinity's software framework and expert talent allows us to produce and implement enterprise class web solutions much faster than the rest of the marketplace. This delivers substantial quality to our customers, as well as time-to-market and cost savings." To attract and retain expert talent, the company has invested in creating a positive work environment, launching programs like a profit-sharing plan for employees.
In a highly competitive market, Intrafinity has distinguished itself by combining state-of-the-art products with first-rate professional services, which help clients make the most of their content management tools. For some clients, Intrafinity's integrated, customizable solutions mean they no longer have to turn to multiple vendors. Seeing Intrafinity's agility and expertise, partners like Bell Canada resell Intrafinity products and services to their enterprise customers. One of its customized products for digitally supported mentoring is used by the Toronto Regional Immigration Employment Council to match new immigrants with mentors in the same field. To date, Intrafinity has helped more than 4,000 immigrants integrate into the Canadian workforce and is in the process of rolling the solution to cities across Canada.
John attributes Intrafinity's success to several factors, including a strong team, a lot of hard work and tenacity. "I've always been a risk taker. I made my first real sales pitch at 17 to a major U.S. bank from my family's home computer." A highly motivated volunteer, John has spent more than 1,500 hours over the last seven years working with students, mainly in a mentoring capacity. As well, since visiting Uganda in 2007 with a group that brought aid relief, John has been actively supporting a couple of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) there.
"Surrounding himself with a mentor and the best talent, John has a built a company that stands out in the highly competitive IT market and continues to thrive in a difficult economy," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
For John, the Young Entrepreneur Award is really a team honour. "My face may be out front, but behind that are the expertise and sacrifices of everyone who works here."
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.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.