Charlene Nadalin // Amintro Inc. // Information Communication Technology (ICT) // Caledon, Ontario
Tell us about your business:
Amintro is a social, web platform and app exclusively for adults ages 50+ looking for new and meaningful friendships. Amintro is where grown-ups come to make new friends, and we are focused on combatting social isolation and loneliness through good old-fashioned friendships.
What were you doing before your business?
I was the Executive Vice President of a Toronto-based company that provided consumer-focused, public relations-style communications services to national and multinational companies.
Is this something you always wanted to do?
Having been raised by entrepreneurial parents, owning my own business is something I have always wanted to do. For the majority of my career I managed my various divisions autonomously - so it was as if I was in charge of my own company. It wasn’t until well into my career that I discovered my passion for helping people live even more fulfilling and socially active lives that I decided to jump into the startup world.
What were the steps that you took to open your business?
- Coming up with a business concept/idea.
- Researching and investigating the marketability and viability of the idea.
- Creating a financial strategy for supporting yourself during the pre-revenue stages of developing the business.
- Networking. Networking.
- Create your team of talent and experts to help build your product/service.
- Brand identity to establish what your brand’s values are and a value proposition for the business. From this exercise, you will identify your brand’s color scheme, logo, motto, slogan, key messaging and such that will support your product/service.
- Determine your “go-to-market” strategy which will include partners, media, public relations, marketing etc.
- Product launch
What are 1-2 resources that you used in the (GTA or Waterloo) to help you?
Mars Discovery provides entrepreneurial resources and services including Mars Market Intelligence program which provides business owners with access to very expensive market research for free.
Communitech is a technology incubator located in Waterloo that provides tech startups with resources, networking opportunities and information that is useful to all business owners.
What surprises or challenges did you face along the way?
The biggest surprise was the amount of time it has taken to bring Amintro to market. Being a web platform based business, we needed time to develop the software for the platform, and coding takes time.
A challenge we are facing is the understanding that seniors are online, and as such much of my time is spent educating potential investors about the market and the opportunity.
What are 3 traits you feel contribute to where you are today?
Determination, focus and creativity.
How do you keep yourself motivated during hard times?
I focus on the end goals and the positive impact Amintro will have for adults 50+ who are NOT interested in dating, but rather want to increase their circles of friends, get out and enjoy life to the fullest. I focus on the social impact Amintro will have on consumers, and that drives me forward.
Do you have a mentor? Or someone who you look up to?
My parents are my informal mentors. Although my dad passed from cancer in 2001, he taught me a great deal about business, and I use that knowledge to this day when making decisions. I don’t have a mentor per se, but a number of supportive advisors who believe in what Amintro stands for, and most importantly, believe in my capabilities as the leader of the company. Finding a mentor can be challenging, and I have yet to find one particular mentor. That said, it takes a team and so I seek guidance and feedback from the experts in my network.
How have they shaped you as a leader?
They taught me that business ownership and leadership is not for the faint of heart, and to never give up on my dreams.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting a business?
Be passionate about your business venture and do your homework. Without passion, it is highly unlikely that you will persevere through the ups and downs that come with starting your own business.
// Connect with Charlene!
If you are a female entrepreneur and would like to be featured in #SheMeansBusiness please contact me.