At five years old, brothers, Lyndon and Derrick Jameson had their first fish tank and after visiting the Vancouver Aquarium when they were 12, the two fell in love with saltwater ecosystems.

After both completing their Bachelor in Science degrees with an emphasis on ecology and environmental science from the University of Manitoba, and working for four years conducting research in the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, the brothers decided to open a retail fish store, Into the Blue. Into the Blue specializes in saltwater fish and believes in providing environmentally friendly alternatives to purchasing wild stock in the hopes of helping their industry and revolutionizing aquaculture. They also offer personalized aquarium maintenance programs for both residential and commercial customers.

At only 25 years old, Lyndon and Derrick have already hired their first full-time employee after only two years in business. For them, entrepreneurship was second nature. At 13, they were already breeding leopard geckos and selling them to local pet stores to help them pay for their saltwater fish hobby. “We often made jokes that when we would retire we would open a saltwater fish store,” Lyndon explained. “Upon graduating from the University of Manitoba, we were offered full-time positions as fishery consultants but noticed an opening in the saltwater market and decided to take the leap.”

But although they appear to be two peas in a pod, starting a business with your family can have many learning curves. Lyndon explained that often things can get frustrating and communication is key to understand what the other is feeling and thinking. “It’s important to be patient and listen to avoid conflict as much as possible,” he said. He shared these three things that are critical when starting a business with your family:

  • You both have the same vision and mission for the company
  • You have good and open communication
  • The ability to find your weaknesses and strengths to help you work together

Recently, Lyndon and Derrick won in the youth business category for the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce’s Indigenous Business Awards for being positive role models to Indigenous youth. The pair got a call about their win and immediately gave each other a high five in excitement. “We are very proud to be metis and be part of the community,” Lyndon said. “But to have been recognized by our community and to have won something like this award is truly meaningful. As biologists learning to be entrepreneurs is new and different and little more difficult than we expected but to know that we have won an award for something we did not go to school for is incredible.”

Lyndon shared one piece of advice for other aspiring young entrepreneurs: “Never give up and always try to look forward. Remember that you will have a lot of cloudy days but it is looking forward to that sunny day that drives you.”

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada

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