Nothing excites Pepe Barajas more than opening a new business or launching a new eatery. Barajas has started seven companies including five restaurants, a catering business and a cleaning service. And that’s just the businesses he’s launched after moving to Canada.
While seven businesses across multiple industries may seem like more than enough for anyone to handle, Barajas, who is president and CEO of Infinity Enteprises Group, which operates the Mexican Corner, Tacos La Cantina and Clean Perfect Services, said he is happily looking forward to opening a new, full-service Mexican.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs in Mexico City, Barajas was steeped in an enterprise environment.
“Since I was a kid I was running around offices and factories,” he said. “At those very early stages, I was very passionate about basically anything that has to do with business.”
When he started launching his new businesses in Canada, Barajas was concerned that his first employees might share his entrepreneurial drive and would be tempted to leave to create their own businesses. He would later learn that people have different motives and strengths and that not everyone wants to invest their blood, sweat and tears into establishing their own successful business. He likened being an entrepreneur to being a hockey player, with the role requiring the same level of dedication, natural drive and talent.
Barajas’ Mexican heritage informs many areas of his life and work in Vancouver – including, he said, an ambition and a work ethic cultivated in a country where opportunities are more limited.
Coming to a new country and starting a business comes with several challenges, but Barajas said he feels he has a natural advantage in the business world.
“Coming from a country where I really need to fight my way through to make things happen, the competitive advantage for immigrants is that they’re more hungry,” he said.
“Smooth seas don’t make skilful sailors,” is a motto that Barajas has lived by, turning every challenge into an important lesson.
Birthplace: Mexico City
Where you live now: Whistler
Highest level of education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing
Currently reading: Nothing
Currently listening to: Whatever’s popular on the radio
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Entrepreneur
Profession you would most like to try: Helicopter pilot
Toughest business or professional decision: Letting managers go
Advice you would give the younger you: Challenges are there to signify how bad you want something
What’s left to do: To leave an honourable legacy and to continue to make sure that I am mindful through my leadership
Join us to celebrate the 2017 Forty under 40 Awards on January 23, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit http://www.biv.com/events/40under40