Nico Aguirre
Credit: Samantha Chan

Nico Aguirre, 23

Founder + managing director, Trena Digital

Life Story: At 20, Nico Aguirre was working in sales for a Burnaby tech company and making more than $80,000 a year. Things were good. But a day after his 21st birthday, he woke up with a pain in his chest. “I really don’t know how to explain it; just genuinely felt like I was dying,” the Langley native recalls. “I passed out on the kitchen floor and remember being rushed to the hospital.”

Aguirre was later diagnosed with viral myocarditis, a condition that causes inflammation of the heart and can result in sudden death. After a couple of nights in the hospital, he realized he was “living a life smaller than the one I was capable of living. So I came out of the hospital motivated as hell.”

He spent the next six months or so planning a business using his experience in BCIT’s professional sales program to launch his own marketing agency. “I reached out to reputable agency owners and learned from them, went for coffee with them,” he says. “I had the fundamentals but had to learn a lot before I quit my job.”

In June 2019, Aguirre did just that and launched Coquitlam-based Trena Digital. Four months later, he was working with the Vancouver offices of car brands Ferrari and Maserati. By the time a year had passed, Aguirre counted Dragons’ Den judge Vincent Guzzo among his clients.

Bottom Line: Trena Digital has eight full-time employees and has worked with some 50 clients since launching. “We’re built for the business owner that strictly cares about ROI,” Aguirre says. “There are a lot of media and branding agencies. That’s not us. We’re, Hey, you have $50,000 to invest; we’ll take that and make you $200,000.”