May is Asian Heritage Month, so the team at Invest Ottawa is continuing to celebrate some of the local entrepreneurs of Asian heritage who have taken part in some of its programs in recent months, from Digital Main Street to Starter Company Plus.
In continuation of last week’s article, today we take a look at two more entrepreneurs who are adding some unique flavour to the food and beverage industry right here in Ottawa.
Melanie Ang is the proud founder of one of the most unique food and beverage offerings in the capital, Backcountry Wok, serving Asian-inspired means to the backcountry explorer.
Melanie first got the idea for the company while doing her Master’s in Marine Biology. Spending a lot of time in the backcountry herself for both research and pleasure, she ate a lot of dehydrated food and noted the lack of quality and options, and their single-use packaging.
Her now two and a half-year-old company not only provides tasty dehydrated camping meals in three flavours, including their popular Thai green curry with rice, but their meals are all plant-based, gluten-free, made from locally-sourced ingredients, and come in 100% compostable bags making less of an impact on the environment.
For information about Backcountry Wok visit:
Jacky Leung // Egg Roll Factory
Jacky Leung is a serial entrepreneur who recently went through Invest Ottawa’s Digital Main St. program to help his business make the transition to online. “It was a workload off my shoulders,” he said when asked about his time in the program.
Jacky has started many businesses over the years, most recently, the Egg Roll Factory. His reason for taking the leap into the Japanese and Chinese cuisine business was simple – financial independence.
After being bit by the entrepreneurship bug, the then Algonquin College business administration student left school to start the restaurant, taking a family egg roll recipe and making it his own.
“I wanted to start a small wholesaling business primarily selling eggrolls to other businesses for resale”, he recalls. “I asked a realtor friend to look for a small space for me and at the time my future store had just been listed. I struck a deal with the landlord and Egg Roll Factory was born. I ended up not bothering with wholesaling egg rolls as I didn’t want to waste the potential of a fully set up Chinese takeout restaurant.”
Never one to get comfortable, Jacky has two more restaurants opening in the very near future – Egg Roll Express, a spinoff of the existing restaurant and brand, and Senpei coming soon to 2280 Carling. If the past six years at Egg Roll Factory are any indication, his latest ventures will be a resounding success.
For more information about Egg Roll Factory visit:
This article is the second in a special Asian History Month series by Invest Ottawa.
About the Author
Kevin Bourne, also known as “KB The Boss” or simply “KB”, is an Ottawa-based media/entertainment entrepreneur, freelance journalist, and media personality.
The former political staffer is quickly becoming a staple in Ottawa and Canada’s cultural landscape as both a commentator and freelancer, appearing nationally on CBC News Network and locally on CTV, CBC Radio, CityNews, and 580 CFRA and having been published in ByBlacks, the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Business Journal. Doubling as CEO of the PR and content marketing firm SHIFTER Agency Inc. and editor-in-chief at SHIFTER magazine, Kevin has covered some of Canada’s top red carpet events, from the Juno Awards to the Canadian Screen Awards and has interviewed everyone from Kevin Hart to “Fast and the Furious” star Tyrese Gibson. He is currently co-host of The Morning Shift, Ottawa’s daily hip-hop morning radio show on CHUO 89.1FM.
He is also a board member at the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition and the Ottawa Film Office and was recently named to the TEDx Kanata Leadership Committee and Ottawa Life Magazine’s Best of Ottawa: Activists & Changemakers list for 2020.
The Digital Main Street program helps small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to survive the pandemic and thrive in the new economy. Discover how the Future Proof program has helped small businesses thrive at Investottawa.ca.
A special thank you to the Government of Canada and specifically FedDev Ontario for making this program possible and enabling the team at Invest Ottawa to provide critical support to main street businesses when it is needed most.