Elin Tayyar

Elin Tayyar

Founder and CEO; Co-founder

AGE: 27

COMPANY: New District and The Volumes Project

The Story: Born in Tehran, Elin Tayyar emigrated to Canada in 1999 with his parents, who had been political prisoners, and younger sister. In 2010, while studying economics and international relations at UBC, he was elected VP finance of the student union, a $24-million operation with 14 businesses including the Pit Pub and Gallery bar, more than 500 staff and, at the time, a 14.5 per cent deficit. Tayyar restructured and established a $100,000 sustainability fund and the world’s first student-owned and -operated microbrewery, among other initiatives. After graduating, in 2014 he launched New District, an online craft wine marketplace, and the Volumes Project, a nonprofit that provides modular studio spaces for artists.

Markers of Success: Last year New District was acquired by the Whitefish Group, a food and beverage brand management company. In 2016, the 10-person New District team is expected to double, with the company working on a bricks-and-mortar component and expanding into the Ontario market. Tayyar’s three-year plan is to make New District the largest online portal for wine in Canada, to eliminate interprovincial barriers for wine sales and to build and deploy at least 60 artist studios through the Volumes Project