Electricity costs in Ontario are expected to increase by 10% year over year in the next 5 years. As a result, business owners are looking to reduce costs and become more energy efficient. Efficient energy solutions help to improve both economic and environmental sustainability.
CoEng Advisors are independent engineering advisors that help to optimize their clients’ energy portfolios. Founded on a passion to help building owners and tenants become more sustainable, the firm now helps clients in Ontario and beyond become more efficient in key operational areas. They achieve this with their unique analytics-based cloud software for energy management and tailored advisory services.
We spoke with CoEng Advisors Co-Founder John Molnar about the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship and why credibility has given the company a key competitive advantage in their market.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COMPANY?
We live in a world where those that strive to do more with less become more successful. CoEng Advisors practice sustainability and help our clients in managing their energy costs and carbon emissions. We hold ourselves accountable to the same levels of focused improvement so we can identify areas in our own company to become more sustainable and use our resources more effectively to deliver better service.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST REWARDING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
For us, the most rewarding aspect has been having exciting opportunities present themselves to us in our careers. The challenge is choosing the right ones to chase. There are only 24 hours in a day. We are a lean team and work very hard to stay organized and focused on the things that are going to propel the company the furthest.
HOW HAS ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEFIED OR LIVED UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
It is when you realize that you can really do anything you want and that it is your actions and discipline that ultimately lead to success. This means that you control your own freedom. So, I would say that entrepreneurship has “lived up” to our expectations at the company.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH INNOVATION FACTORY?
We had version 1.0 of a computer algorithm we named eSEM on our hands and we came across funding from OCE SmartStart to get it to version 1.5 as a whole cloud-based app. This version essentially helps to automate energy management so that a wider market can be better addressed. As part of that grant pursuit, we had the opportunity to work with an advisor at Innovation Factory to guide us through the process and the expectations. With a lot of great insight and time from our advisor, we submitted our application and were awarded the grant. Months later we are halfway through development of version 1.5 and moving to version 2.0 soon.
WHat have you valued most about innovation factory’s support?
One of the biggest benefits of being part of Innovation Factory is the ability to tap into a strong network of business partners. Our mentors have been entrepreneurs themselves and, as such, have been able to challenge and help further define our vision, strategy, and roadmap.
what have you valued most about innovation factory’s support?
1) The staff there are incredibly supportive and welcoming. You can feel comfortable talking to them even though you just started your company.
2) They put on a great set of programs including Lunch ‘n Learns lunch and more formal training suited for entrepreneurs.
3) They offer meeting space, coffee and tea!
How do you measure success?
CRM… just kidding… kind of. For me personally it is whether or not I am happy and satisfied with what I am doing and how things are going. A key part is ensuring your business and personal lives work well together.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
We have made some key calls on how the industry and market were going to change which subsequently all came true in our local market. This has given us amazing credibility as well as a head start on the competition to give insight to our clients.
WHAT IS THE BEST RECOGNITION YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Winning the trust of and delivering our services for a very large client. We work closely together on developing and implementing sustainability strategies and have made incredible progress in a short period of time.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND?
In the next year, we have 5 or 6 large, nearly company changing projects as “irons in the fire” and expect 1 or 2 to take off. We will also be taking both our energy management software 1.5 and 2.0 to market in separate releases. We will also work on securing our local market and work export markets such as South East Asia, South America, and the Caribbean.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAY JUST HAVE AN IDEA?
Ideas are great, but they need a plan. Sit down, write, research, and talk with friends that have knowledge in the area to strengthen your ideas into a plan. It can actually be a fun exercise to do in your spare time: taking a dream and painting the portrait.
HOW CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU?
Our website details how our company can help your business with energy and sustainability.