Photo credit: Nikki Ormerod
Since 2011, Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next awards have been celebrating up-and-coming leaders (under 40) who are shaping the future of Canada’s grocery industry.
Wondering “where are they now?” we checked in with a few past winners to see how their careers have been shaping up since winning their Gen Next awards, and we'll be sharing these updates with you over the next couple weeks. First up...
JOB THEN: Founder and CEO of Flashfood--a mobile platform that works with grocery retailers to divert food that has reached its best before date from landfill by offering it at reduced prices.
JOB NOW: Still founder and CEO of Flashfood, which now operates in more than 450 grocery locations throughout Canada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
What’s changed since you won the Generation Next Award?
Flashfood has grown from a team of less than ten to almost fifty. We've scaled across Canada through our partnership with Loblaws and have added partners across the U.S.
How has Flashfood evolved since you won the Generation Next Award in 2017?
We've gone from having a concept in market with a few stores to significant scale across North America with world-class grocery partners. The journey so far has been incredibly exciting.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
If you have an idea for a new business, tell as many smart people as you can. It'll allow others you respect to poke holes in your idea and either make it better or save you from wasting time on something that likely won't work.
What do you like best about what you do?
Building a company in an entirely new segment means that we don't have a playbook to follow. We're trying to perfect the model while building out best in class processes. The challenges are fun!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
We're diverting millions of pounds from landfills across North America while affordably feeding families--it's the most important and fulfilling thing about what I'm doing.
You spent the early part of your career in finance. What advice would you give someone considering a career pivot?
When I had the initial idea for Flashfood I wanted to be as sure as I could that there was a huge opportunity for the solution. The advice I'd give to anyone considering a career pivot to starting a company is to do as much research as you can before taking the jump. Try to do as much de-risking as you can.
Are there any tough lessons you learned along the way?
How much room will be on this page? Probably not enough. Here's one, in Ontario, you can never hire anyone for free. It doesn't matter if you don't have a business at all and what you're working on is still a concept.
Do you know a rising star in the grocery industry? Nominate them for this year’s Generation Next Awards. It's quick and easy, but don't delay! The deadline to enter/nominate is Sept. 30.