Jamie Cheng

CEO and founder, Klei Entertainment Inc., Age 32

After studying computer science at Simon Fraser University, Jamie Cheng figured he'd become a web developer. It seemed the most logical move.

But after completing a short co-op placement, Cheng realized he didn't want to be a web developer. He wanted more. And a lifelong passion was calling him.

"I wanted something more substantial from a programming standpoint," said Cheng.

"I wanted to make video games. I grew up with video games – had a Nintendo at age three. All through my life, I never stopped playing games."

Cheng then took an internship at notable Vancouver video game studio Relic Entertainment. The internship went well, and he was hired on as an artificial intelligence programmer.

Working at an established video game design firm proved a shrewd move for Cheng. After nearly three years at Relic, Cheng decided to launch his own company, Klei Entertainment Inc. in 2005.

In an industry Cheng describes as "notorious" for uncertainty, Klei Entertainment has grown steadily in its eight years. Cheng now employs 35 people and has won prestigious awards for his work.

Last year, Klei released Mark of the Ninja, which went on to win best independent game at the Canadian Video Game Awards.

This year, the company released the wilderness survival game Don't Starve, and it has already sold more than a million units.

While success and fame have been good for the business, the best part about being an entrepreneur for Cheng isn't just trophies and sales. It's the freedom to create what he wants and to push for meaningful change in his industry.