Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paul van der Vorst, Co-founder of Evika, located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Evika helps people with disabilities - and the professionals and families who take care of them - find information on Assistive Technology. Adam and Paul, the founders of evika.io, come from a background in robotics and self-driving vehicles for factories.
They found a niche in Assistive Devices where they could apply their skills in making complex technology available to the laymen by providing instructions and information, hosting webinars, and creating educational content that covers everything patients, caregivers, and Healthcare Professionals need to know about Assistive Technology.
Tell us about yourself
After helping the robotics startup grow from 5 people to 250 people, we decided to help develop a new idea. Through our work with the Assistive Technology Clinic in Toronto, we quickly found issues in the availability and accessibility of information around Assistive Technology. We needed a central portal into the world of Assistive Technology, allowing people to quickly find what they're looking for.
We came up with the idea for evika.io as a way to help the patients, caregivers, and HCPs find technology and information tailored to their needs. You can use our intelligent filters to, for example, find camping gear for people with difficulty walking or find something to help you brush your teeth if you have trouble with grasping or upper-body mobility. You can filter by Activities (camping, beach, hunting, etc.), Characteristics (foldable, light-weight, etc.), Conditions (ALS, Parkinson's, Arthritis, etc.), Funding Agency (Medicare-funded, ADP funded, etc.), Vendors (over 500+ vendors including Amazon, Walmart), and device type (wheelchairs, AAC equipment, etc.).
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Helping people with disabilities achieve a higher level of independence has been my crowning achievement. I have accomplished something great in whatever small way I can help people live the life they envision for themselves. Everyone deserves happiness, and we had to cross the bridge from having someone prescribe what you need - to finding something that you want and having an educated discussion around it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are a ton of directions to go but limited resources. I have big ideas for what we could do with the platform, but I have to remind myself that the customers have to lead my development roadmap. My website's visitors decide what they need and where I should focus my efforts to fulfill those needs.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Simple and valuable: make the barebones that give the most value.
- Be agile: don't be afraid to change or even throw away the work that you've done. If it doesn't work, don't force it. Move on and change.
- Eye-on-the-prize: whatever that means to you, you have a goal. Don't confuse the method with the goal. You've built something, but that's the method. How does it help you achieve your goal? Always ask yourself this when you're stuck in the weeds building something.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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