Meet GES Delegate: Laurent Laferriere
Name: Laurent Laferriere
Twitter handle: @laurentlaf
Country of Origin: Canada
Organization Name: Oatbox Breakfast Co.
Organization Website: www.oatbox.com
Brief Description of Organization: Oatbox is a breakfast company with an ambitious mission: help every North American eat a healthy breakfast everyday. We produce healthy, cereal-based breakfast products that we sell through a monthly subscription available on our website. To better fulfill our mission, we have partnered with the Breakfast Club of Canada. For every box we ship, we donate a full breakfast to a child in need. In just 18 months, we have given over 40,000 breakfasts.
What inspired you to start this organization? The concept for Oatbox originated from the will to provide a healthy, convenient way for young, urban professionals to eat breakfast everyday. This is a problem my partners and I faced every morning, too busy to start our day the right way. After a bit of research, we found that at least 50% of North Americans do not eat breakfast everyday — but all agree it’s the most important meal of the day. We know we had a big challenge ahead of us, but we will solve this problem one breakfast at a time.
What is the next big step you hope to help your organization reach? Oatbox was launched in November 2014. Since then, we are growing rapidly and are facing daily challenges that demand more and more creativity. The next big step for us is definitely to close our first VC funding round. This will allow us to expand into the US and strengthen our subscriber base. We are also developing new products that will cater to different demographics and therefore allow us to help even more people eat a healthy breakfast everyday.
What has been your biggest obstacle as an entrepreneur? Being an entrepreneur is tough. No doubt about that. I believe the biggest obstacle is being told “no”. Too many people do not see value in entrepreneurs and prefer to see value only in higher education, track records, experience. There is a culture of individuality in business that prevents big fish from helping smaller ones, unless they get something valuable in return. Most of the time, you’re all by yourself and you have everything to prove!
What advice would you give other emerging entrepreneurs? 1. Don’t get too comfortable. Always evaluate if you’re doing everything that needs to be done to be at the forefront of the industry. 2. Be bold in vision but pragmatic in execution. Don’t rely on the hype and focus on actual substance and facts. 3. You won’t succeed alone. Your employees and partners need to be the best in what they do and a perfect fit for the company’s vision.