By the age of 40, Austin Tran came a long way from the engineering faculty, where he graduated in 2001 from the University of Alberta. However, soon after realizing an opportunity to deliver a better product, with faster delivery, at a better price in 2004, he opened Rayacom with his brother, Martin Tran. Rayacom is an on-demand print, sign, and packaging company, which recently opened the doors to its thirteenth location with plans for more locations opening in the upcoming year; now spanning from Vancouver to Toronto with a home base in Vancouver – and growing.
Although he’s not practicing engineering right now, he credits that education with giving him the skills he needed to build – and now rapidly expand – his print, sign, and packaging business across Canada, through corporate stores and a franchise model. “We have an amazing educational system,” says Tran. “I can say my success has been strongly attributed to the skills I acquired at the University of Alberta.”
Along the way, Tran hasn’t forgotten the communities that have given him so much success. Aside from donating to charities such as the Stollery Children’s Fund, all sales representatives at Rayacom are authorized to provide registered charities with $5000 of printing services at no cost. “The main reason I pursued a career as an entrepreneur is to see the impact I can make on people’s lives,” he says.
He’s also learned a lot about what it means to be an entrepreneur. It’s not just about business. “A successful entrepreneur is self-motivated. We don’t listen when someone tells us it is impossible – we find a solution to make it possible,” Tran says. “Being a successful entrepreneur is more than achieving financial success; it is about changing the industry you are in, providing a service that people need, and making a difference in people’s lives.”