Written by Jasmine Hon
“When you strongly believe and are passionate about what you do, people take notice of that.”
– Ed Elliott
The summer of 1998, two students sitting in Western University’s engineering building suddenly came up with the vision that advertisements would one day be displayed on large screens in public spaces. Ed Elliott and Ken Stuart’s idea seemed crazy at the time, but it was something they strongly believed possible.
Their vision, EK3 Technologies Inc., is now a full-service in-store digital merchandising provider for some of the best companies in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and the Middle East. Its clients include major retailers such as Tim Horton’s, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Target, and many financial groups.
Co-Founder Ed is a strong leader who is passionate about teamwork and helping others. He explained how far too many businesses nowadays are trying to grab hold of customers, rather than focussing on actually helping them. “A business becomes a whole lot more meaningful when you are able to help others by showing them that what you are trying to do will help them fulfill their dreams as well,” he said.
Similar to how Ed runs his business by putting his customers first, he leads his teams by putting his team members first as well. In 2008, after 10 years of working with his team to develop the EK3 technology, products, and solutions, he decided, along with the other Technology team leaders, that it was time for a change. The first thing they did was asked each member to do was to come up with a personal goal to accomplish as part of the team and to determine if that was something they would truly enjoy doing. His intention in asking this question was to help members decide whether or not they felt passionate about the project. Many of them realized that their interests did not align with the rest of the team and left. Although the team that remained was smaller in size, its members felt more connected since they were all dedicated to accomplishing the same goals. Ed claims that his team managed to achieve virtually everything they planned that year.
In July 2010, Ed left EK3 and this past summer it was bought out by Cineplex. “The beginning stages were what I found really exciting and interesting,” he explained. “What I wanted to do and achieve was very different than that of the larger group. We ultimately had different goals, so we shook hands and parted ways.”
He took time to travel in Canada, the United States, and Tokyo to study, teach, attend workshops and seminars in online marketing and social media – but it was during that time that he really felt his passion for technology and marketing grow again. However, he still calls the city of London his home, and is always seeking for new ways to spur entrepreneurship there.
Ed is currently working on a new Start-up Technology Business called Antris Registry Corp. with Clyde Beattie, who first came up with the idea ten years ago, after noticing that search and response rescues were often unsuccessful because float plans were not properly filed or victims could not accurately be located. With Beta Testing scheduled for Q2 and the public launch soon thereafter, Antris, is a safety app that will enable users to plan trips, Check-in at different points along the way, and provide security and peace of mind, knowing we have their back.
The Antris Vision is huge and there are many plans for the future including premium services or a third party vendor integration to enable more safety features. He also envisions that technology and machines will one day learn to adjust to the user’s needs rather than having the user learn to use the device. Although that may seem a little far-off now, so was the idea of EK3 back in 1998 – and look at what it has become now.
I realized from my conversation with Ed that entrepreneurs must have a strong vision and purpose as to why they are doing something. Although the idea of digital displays on large screens seemed crazy in 1998, Ed and Ken believed so firmly in this vision that they gained enough support from others to realize it. Leaders must first demonstrate a strong faith in accomplishing their goals, in order to then lead others to do the same.
About the writer
Jasmine Hon is a first-year student studying Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) at Western University with Advanced Entry Opportunity (AEO) to the Richard Ivey School of Business. While her interests lie within the fields of journalism and business, she is uncertain as to the kind of career she’d like to pursue in the future. For now, Jasmine is just greatly inspired by the entrepreneurs she’s met to continue working hard and discovering more about her passions. In her spare time, this eighteen-year-old is often spotted exploring the city of London, visiting the farmer’s market, or tapping away furiously on her laptop in various coffee shops around the city.