Brianna Blaney
Credit: Lindsay Siu

Brianna Blaney, 29

Founder and managing partner

Life Story: Brianna Blaney’s business acumen is evident from her first venture: a community newspaper she started with one of her five siblings and a couple of her cousins when she was 11 years old. The crew wrote the papers and forced them on their North Vancouver neighbours by dropping them off in mailboxes. That effort was impressive, and so was the foresight to get out of the print trade. Instead, after graduating from UBC with a BComm in 2012, Blaney got into the recruitment business with a Vancouver-based company and saw an opening in the market she knew she could fill.

“Recruiters are highly incentivized to make placements just to make commission; it’s not focused on actually doing the right thing,” she says. “We help businesses tell their stories.” Her business, Envol Strategies, prides itself on helping smaller companies establish themselves as brands and desirable places to work, for lower fees than the big recruiters.

The Bottom Line: Vancouver-based Envol, which has satellite offices in Toronto and Calgary to complement its Gastown HQ, earned almost $500,000 in revenue in 2017, its first year of business. Now employing five full-time staff, the company has joined the Entrepreneurship@ubc incubator to build artificial intelligence–powered human resources technology.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
From my husband: You have all the time in the world but no time to waste.

My favourite podcast is…
The Pitch and StartUp, both by Gimlet Media.

What’s your biggest regret?
Not making the leap to entrepreneurship sooner.

A little-known fact about me is…
I graduated from a fine arts high school. I love business to my core and I’m so corporately driven that I think people are always surprised.