Since its inception, EPICentre has helped many local founders with innovative ideas start their own businesses and flourish within the Windsor-Essex community. We’re now proud to launch a series called “Where Are They Now?” where EPIC Student Ambassador Dharmik Paramkusham and EPIC Ignite student Yanni Lu will interview some of the business owners that began their venture at the EPICentre. Yanni Lu recently had a chance to sit down with Parker Drouillard, founder of Pep Corp. to find out about how he got his start, how he finds motivation and of course, what he’s up to now.
Recently, I had a chance to interview one of the founders of EPICentre – Parker Drouillard. Mr. Drouillard has been an entrepreneur since he was 4. With extensive entrepreneurship experience, he started his company – Pep Corp., which is focusing on B2B business strategy by providing 3-D printing service. Let’s view some great advice Mr. Drouillard shared with us.
1: How did the name of Pep Corp. come about?
This one’s actually confidential. It’s something we’re saving for when we either go public or far future down the road when we deem it to be the right time.
2: What motivated you to choose to start your entrepreneurship with 3-D printing technique?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 4 years old. Anywhere I saw a need for something I would try to fill it, both for charity and for profit. Philanthropy and entrepreneurship have been something I have been interested and involved in since a very young age for me. 3D printing was something I was extremely interested in from the first time I saw one in action back in my high school drafting class. Right from that moment, I saw the potential the technology had, and with that passion, it was a natural fit for me to take it on as my main business endeavor. I’m fortunate we’ve had the success we have had until now and am even more fortunate to have put together such a strong team of like-minded individuals all sharing a similar passion for technology and its advancement.
3: What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I’d probably say it’s the problem solving & the fact that I quite literally never know what I’m going to be doing from one day to the next. I’m very much a maker; I like to get my hands dirty and make things. At this point, I don’t know anything more satisfying than getting down to the nitty-gritty for months on end, only to step back and see a well-working machine of a company accomplishing a goal. It’s a very strange feeling to see systems you put in place years ago still being used and improved on to date. Each little piece added day by day always amazes me when I do actually have a chance to step back and breathe and just take in everything we are accomplishing.
4: What are the three skills you believe are the most critical to have to become a successful entrepreneur?
Well, I would definitely not call myself an expert on this one. I am by no means a successful entrepreneur yet, although I question whether that’s actually something that’s ever achievable. Being an entrepreneur is a constant practice, it’s something that you stop being good at the second you stop trying to improve. Business is a pretty ruthless world that way;
technology doesn’t wait for anyone. I also don’t quite like the idea of boiling down entrepreneurship into 3 skills; It’s far more than that & what makes a good entrepreneur in one person might not work at all for someone else. That being said, if you must, please see the below. Three skills that I would pinpoint a higher chance of ‘success’ in my opinion though would be one’s ability to learn from prior mistakes. Self-reflection that way and understanding both your failures and your successes is very important and I don’t think it can ever be emphasized enough. Secondly, I’d say critical problem solving and root cause analysis is a huge part of success in entrepreneurship. Knowing when to Band-Aid fix a problem is one thing, but never being able to actually get to the root cause of a problem, whether it be your lack of customers or poor quality products, is definitely essential.
Thirdly, my stubbornness probably helps. I’m just naive enough to get into problems that I have no business being in (Mostly over-simplifying things), but I’m stubborn enough to see it through and figure out what I need to in order to make it happen.
5: How would you describe your experience with EPICentre, and how has this association helped you fulfill your start-up goals?
I’d say the name of the program being the EPIC Incubation Program pretty well hits the nail on the head. While I still think I would have done it had EPICentre not been here to have helped me out, it certainly accelerated the process. The biggest thing by far (Aside from a space with heat) that EPICentre provided me was the ability to grow my network. I wouldn’t have half the team I hired on or the mentors that I have had I not been in the engineering building to make those connections. Epicentre also offered a lot of encouragement and brought a lot of industry leaders through my space, which certainly helped me build my network substantially in comparison to where I would have been on my own.
6. What entrepreneurial skills have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your busy schedule?
I’m still looking for the answer to that one. Maybe someday, probably with a much more organized assistant, I could have a solution to that problem.
7. Covid-19 has impact lots of businesses. How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful under this circumstance?
We don’t really market if I am honest. Most of our business is B to B or business to business, so most of our sales are direct. We’ve been pretty fortunate in that 3D Printing had quite the roll of support, and still does, with the Covid-19 response effort. I’m just glad that we were able to offer our services and help.
To learn more about Pep Corp. please visit their website: http://www.pepcorp.ca/