Imparting a taste for entrepreneurship from a position of knowledgeMonday, September 28, 2020
Dominic Gagnon dreamed of teaching once he reached retirement age, but his dream came true three decades earlier than he expected! In fact, since September, the 33 year old has been a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurship program at ÉTS, where he is also the Entrepreneur in Residence at Centech.
It is important to note that his career as an entrepreneur began early in life. At the age of 14, he founded Médiatech, an agency that specialized in website design, and one of the first firms in this field in Lac-Saint-Jean, where he was born and raised. He sold the company two years later, but not without having already founded Deepfall Music, an event management firm with which he produced more than 150 shows across Québec.
Blessed with a nose for identifying business opportunities, he launched Piranha while working on his Bachelor degree in Communications at Université Laval when he was 20 years old. The company went on to become one of the largest mobile marketing agencies in Canada, with offices in Québec, Montréal and Paris serving large corporate clients such as Desjardins, Microsoft, BestBuy, Bell and Simons.
A “serial entrepreneur”
Dominic Gagnon was not predestined to become an entrepreneur, but he managed to transform the surplus energy generated by his learning disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD) into an idea incubator.
When Piranha was acquired by Équation Humaine in 2014, the 27-year-old businessman took on the role of Partner, Vice President and Head of Development for the organization. Once the transition was solidified, he left the company to devote himself entirely to Connect&Go, a company that he co-founded, which specializes in the emerging market of smart bracelets.
Operating at the international level, Connect&Go has activated more than 10 million bracelets for events such as Osheaga, C2 Montréal, Universal Studios, Target, two Super Bowls and the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea! He was expecting to fly to Tokyo this year before the pandemic caused a postponement.
In his never-ending quest to promote his ideas, Dominic Gagnon also occupies the position of President of IX-Points, a company that focuses on reinventing technology-based learning models.
In addition to these projects, he has also spent many years as Partner and Head of Development for Karelab, a gaming platform that stimulates performance among employees, and that has appeared on the PROFIT 500 list of companies for the last three years. Altrum acquired Karelab in September of 2016 – the third company sale that Dominic Gagnon had been a part of before reaching the age of 30.
A career path lined with success
Dominic Gagnon has also published two best-selling books: J’aime les TDAH (I heart ADHD) and J’aime les TDAH – Tome 2 (I heart ADHD – Volume 2), which contain testimonies from celebrities living with ADHD, and which are very popular with the public. “ADHD is not an obstacle, it’s an advantage”, he proudly affirms.
The exceptionally successful entrepreneurial career path that Dominic Gagnon has followed has earned him more than 25 awards and distinctions.
In 2012, Desjardins named him Young Entrepreneur of the Year, while in 2013, he appeared on Infopresse’s list of Persons of the Year in the Communication and Marketing Industry and was named one of the Persons of the Year by La Presse. He also won the Coup de cœur prize in the ARISTA Contest organized by the Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal in 2014, and Université Laval named him an Influential Graduate in 2016 and Exceptional Young Graduate in 2020.
In 2019, he was simultaneously named Eclipse Personality of the Year by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, International Leader by the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal and Executive of the Year by the Regroupement des Chambres de commerce du Québec.
Understanding the pros and cons of entrepreneurship
A graduate of the Elite Program at École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce and an active member of the Entrepreneur Organization in Montréal, Dominic Gagnon was one of the youngest Lecturers in the Master of Communication Program – Advanced Digital Media and Digital Communication Strategies courses – at the Longueuil campus of Université de Sherbrooke before joining ÉTS.
In his Introduction to Entrepreneurship course, students are called upon to form small groups and found a company, beginning with a blank sheet. They must develop a business plan, identify potential clients, plan the sales and marketing of their product and make a presentation to entrepreneurs.
According to Gagnon, who nearly lost it all seven years ago: “My goal is to impart to them a taste for entrepreneurship while presenting the pros and cons that go with it”.
“If only one of the companies created by my students manages to continue operations after the end of the semester, then I will have accomplished my mission”, he concludes.
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