Launching a tiny operation in his parents’ basement when he was 24, Ankit Sharma has since expanded Surrey-based Kitply Industries into a countrywide wholesale distributor of hardware and plywood with more than $5 million in annual revenues and a team of six full-time staff members.
“I strongly believe that the success we have achieved has been due to the strength of the team, and the strength of the team is due to the way that we manage and treat our people with the respect that they deserve,” said the founder and CEO.
The 32-year-old also recently co-founded a new startup called TradesBlock.com, born out of a need to connect building and construction contractors with homeowners.
He earned a bachelor’s degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2007. He completed studies at the London Business School in March 2016, and is participating in the Entrepreneurial Masters Program housed by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization at MIT Endicott House.
His only other job after graduating from Kwantlen was as a sales management trainee at Hardwoods Specialty Products. He later moved into account management and began to sow the seeds for Kitply. He quit his job in 2009 to pursue his dream of entrepreneurship. He prepared his business plan and secured funding during the recession, defying a business climate that was unfriendly to new ventures.
It wasn’t the first challenge he’d overcome. Success didn’t come easily at first, said Sharma, who moved from Bareilly, India, to the Lower Mainland when he was 15. It took time to learn how to navigate the Canadian business landscape.
He’s proud of what he’s achieved so far. “We set a new standard in the industry, and I’m very proud of that,” he said.
Family life is important for Sharma, who spends as much time as possible with his wife and two young children. Giving back to the community is also important. Sharma chairs the Vancouver chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has won the Self Employment & Entrepreneur Development Society’s Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Ethno BC’s New Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40.