Hamza Khan and Daniel Martinovic are the co-founders of Vimto. Last year, the Toronto-based entrepreneurs joined the Canadian delegation to the 2020 G20YEA Summit in Saudi Arabia. Ahead of the 2021 summit in Italy, the cofounders share their experiences meeting fellow delegates, making international connections and exploring ways to expand their business globally.

Vimto.co is a software as a service​ that assists startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in automating their sales funnels, all while providing a tailored knowledge base. Acting as a digital growth consultant, Vimto helps businesses to scale internationally and enter new markets.

We undertook this project following a trip to Turkey, where we engaged in some consulting with the government. We were tasked to help SMEs export their technologies. While there, it troubled us that there were so many remarkable entrepreneurs with impressive businesses and products, whose growth was limited by their inability to sell. This bothered us to the point where we recognized that we could turn this problem into a full on venture, and Vimto was born.

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit in Saudi Arabia

In 2020, Vimto was fortunate to be included as a participant at the G20 YEA summit, thanks to the amazing team at Futurpreneur! Being two of the younger delegates among the talented cohort, we had the most amazing time meeting and learning from other Canadian entrepreneurs. The shift to a digital summit, due to COVID-19, provided us with the unique opportunity to meet like-minded leaders from around the globe to dissect real problems, collaborate on ideas, and foster a community.

During this summit, we learned a lot from the Trade Commissioner Services about how Canadians can better access the world trade network. Through this and the wide range of bilateral meetings, our team made new and notable connections in countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, Mexico, and made many friends. Most invaluably, we learned about their markets directly from the source. Due to the very nature of the G20, this summit is perfect for anyone or any company interested in expanding beyond borders.

Since Vimto’s new pivot focuses on emerging markets and elevating small businesses with a user-friendly sales outreach tool, we were appreciative of the opportunity to further test and pivot our model, all while working closely with real-world business owners to learn more. We believe the process of sales does not have to be so time consuming and we want founders and owners to focus on what really matters – their business. We started off Vimto by helping businesses to identify international prospects and setting up their sales funnel. We always had the idea of taking it one step further by actually closing deals for the companies on their behalf. The G20 YEA connected us to companies that helped us to validate this premise.

Our Key Takeaways

One of the more notable outcomes of this experience is a potential partnership with SABIC. Showcasing our teams’ services and strengths, we have plans to travel and meet in-person in KSA this year to build on our virtual connection.

Other wins would come shortly after we attended the summit. For instance, with our better understanding of world trade, we were able to start establishing innovative projects such as WorldTree – Guyana and Fortress Cement in the fastest growing country by GDP per capita. We are assisting with the business development and implementation aspects of these projects and tying them into the Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. G20 YEA provided us with a little more validation to make these partnerships and agreements possible.

One of our founders is Guyanese; though he was born and raised in Toronto, he spent quite a bit of time in Guyana in his youth. Guyana had the fastest growing economy in 2020 due to its fairly recent oil and natural gas discovery. He always wanted to invest in Guyana, even before the oil boom. Even though we are just starting out, G20 YEA helped open the door to a lifelong goal. We’re excited for 2021.

One of the great moments of the virtual conference happened during the Indian bilateral meeting, where we got the chance to reconnect with the Canadian trade minister to India, HE Annie Dubé. The wildest part: She recognized our founding member Hamza from his trip to Mumbai earlier in 2020, before the global COVID lockdown, when he met with her in person. It was nice to know that the G20 does not just establish new connections, but actually helped to revive and prolong a past connection.

From One Young Entrepreneur to Another

Our G20 YEA journey started on the last day of applications, one hour before midnight. All too familiar with handing in assignments and projects in the 11th hour, we debated on whether to finish the application. It was after a long and exhausting day of meetings, but we decided to shoot for it.

Needless to say, my co-founder and I are very glad we decided to take the leap as young entrepreneurs. The knowledge and connections we have gained have been invaluable, allowing us not only to pivot successfully but to thrive in this chaotic time.

So if you are reading this, and are on the fence about joining the G20 YEA summit, we would highly recommend that you go for it. The Vimto team is looking forward to meeting you next year!

The 2021 G20 YEA, hosted by Italy, will take place October 5-8, 2021. Apply now.

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