Ray Depaul was a finalist for the 2016 BDC Mentorship Award presented by Futurpreneur Canada, and after reading his story and experience below, you won’t have any questions why.
Ray spent his entire career in the technology sector. He worked for several start-ups bringing new technologies to the market, spent five years at Research in Motion as Director of Product Planning for the iconic BlackBerry, and became the CEO of a University of Waterloo spinoff company, RapidMind that raised $11 million in venture capital and eventually was acquired by Intel. He realized through his experience that what brought him real joy was helping the next generation of entrepreneurs. This led him to joining Mount Royal University in Calgary as the inaugural Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which gave him the platform to coach and mentor dozens of entrepreneurs.
Ray’s extensive resume doesn’t stop there, as if mentoring dozens of entrepreneurs at Mount Royal University wasn’t enough, he also is an advisor for several start-ups, is on the board of directors for Innovate Calgary, and is a member of A100 which is 100 tech entrepreneurs in Alberta dedicated to helping the next generation be successful.
The inspiration for becoming a mentor came for Ray after his company, RapidMind was acquired. “I started meeting with young entrepreneurs with the goal of finding my next genius co-founder,” he explained. “But something happened that I didn’t expect, I was getting as much pleasure out of being a trusted advisor as I ever got out of being the CEO.” Ray found that these interactions were giving him more satisfaction and allowed him to not just focus his energy on one company, in one industry, but he had the chance to work with a variety of entrepreneurs with a breadth of challenges, in a range of industries.
One of those start-ups is TLink Golf, which Ray has mentored for over three years. In this time, he explained that he has watched them go from naïve but energetic 20-year-olds with just an idea on a napkin to being a successful golf technology company exporting over 90% of their products outside of Canada. The co-founders of TLink Golf even were inspired to take on mentoring themselves, and even though they’re only 23-years-old, they mentor young entrepreneurs who hope to follow in their footsteps.
Outside of TLink Golf, Ray has found himself mentoring entrepreneurs from a Bison rancher, a marketer, an aquaponics farmer, and even a brewer. He finds that his role as a mentor is one of the most rewarding roles he has ever had (next to being a husband and father of course), and that mentoring has taught him so much about business, people and himself. “I am far more patient then I used to be and far more appreciative of those that quietly add fuel to the tanks of entrepreneurs across the country.”
It’s because of people like Ray that Canada has such a strong and flourishing entrepreneurial community. If you want to become a mentor like him, Futurpreneur Canada is always looking for passionate professionals who want to help inspire and grow the next generation of entrepreneurs. To learn more about the program and apply, click here.
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada