With input from Marina Byezhanova, member of EO Canada Bridge and founder of Brand of a Leader who helps clients build strong personal brands. (Photo: Marina prepares to roast the newest and youngest member of her branch, Brandan Ranaldi.)
It’s a proud moment for EO Canada Bridge – the coolest class in the area, as we proudly call it! We are excited to welcome our youngest member to our branch thus far, and feel compelled to share his amazing success story with all of you globally.
Meet Brandan Ranaldi, a 23-year-old student entrepreneur. We first met Brandan when he competed in a local GSEA competition. Then we welcomed him to the EO Accelerator class. We are now pleased to call him a peer because he joined EO as a member, not only meeting the qualification criteria but greatly exceeding them.
Here is his story.
Brandan Ranaldi has always had a passion for the outdoors and woodworking. He and Justin Zickley started building decks when they were just teenagers. Since they were too young to drive at the time, they cycled to their work sites, balancing tool bags on their handlebars.
Now, they own Ace of Decks Inc. , one of the largest rooftop construction companies in Quebec. And they have accomplished all this before the age of 25, while at the same time dealing with the requirements of being a full-time civil engineering student
This is a story we will all share with our children, right?
According to a 2019 RBC Economics Research report with Statistics Canada findings, Ranaldi is part of “1.7% of all entrepreneurs” in Canada under the age of 30. RBC attributes this low percentage to the financial coercion that post-secondary education places on aspiring entrepreneurs, hampering their ability to start businesses while they are in school.
This is why programs like the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) are incredibly influential and necessary. As the premier global competition for students to own and operate a business while attending college or university full-time, GSEA offers young entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive financial aid, valuable connections, and effective support.
Ranaldi and Szekely won their local GSEA competition and advanced to the Canadian national competition in January 2018. Although they did not continue to compete on the world stage, Ranaldi appreciated the opportunity to be a part of EO GSEA.
“GSEA has brought us a lot of value,” he said. “Although the value was not tied to a GSEA Canada victory four years ago, the real value actually came from preparing for the presentation itself, and improving our mission, goals and core values.”
Ranaldi was eager to join EO once his company hit the $1 million mark.
“I wanted to have a seat at the table with other like-minded, driven and successful entrepreneurs,” he said, “a safe place to bounce ideas around, listen and share experiences that we can all learn from.”
Ranaldi appreciates the experiences EO provides as well as the ability to meet inspiring people with incredible stories. Participated in our first trimester retreat this year and it was a perfect fit – intimacy (= instant intimacy) was never in question.
As he continues to grow Ace of Decks, Ranaldi has a great vision and ambition to emulate. He will look to the newly created community of EOers to guide, share experiences, and support him throughout his journey.
On behalf of EO Canada Bridge and the EO community globally: Welcome to the family, Brandan!
For more ideas and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. And more articles from the EO Blog.