Entrepreneur Profiles

Who are our clients and how do we live work and play in our Urban enviroment


Elias Hage Profile Photo

“What made me start my company was, a while back, I had a bad streak of waiting FOREVER for the bill at restaurants. It had me thinking ‘there must be a better way, people can already order fast food from their phones, why not something for sit-down dining?”

Meet Elias Hage, the founder of App8, a mobile app platform that brings you the convenience of fast and secure payments from your seat at your favourite restaurants, soon serving full-service food and beverage establishments in Ottawa and beyond.

What makes App8 different is that it's an app built for users – Elias and his team are constantly gathering information and feedback from users, creating iterative solutions as they go along. “After asking a lot of people about their experience, I realized that for servers payment processing consumes 15% of their time separating printing and waiting for the customer to process, and for diners as much as 20% of their experience just waiting for the bill. With this very specific problem in mind we validated and developed our MVP for App8.”

They promise a better experience for both restaurateurs and their patrons. As one of the newest members here at My Byward Office, we think Elias may have one of the coolest ideas related to food we’ve seen awhile (along with Desk Nibbles). If you haven’t checked them out, keep scrolling after this profile.

We asked him how he has fun at work, but he told us to hold off, “wait until I have a bigger team, then I'll tell you about Power Hour and the joke of the day ritual. For the moment, I keep the jokes of the day to myself. For now, what I will say is the one of the best bits of advice I was ever given: ‘take good care of your team and help them succeed – and you will be successful.’ So then, what makes me successful is really all about being focused, maintaining relationships, helping others and staying positive. It is the same formula that I use for life.”

We liked that answer, but we still look forward to a good joke sometime soon!

Desk Nibbles

Emil Aite Profile Photo

Most days, you won’t see Emil Aite around at My Byward Office. But his presence is felt, or more accurately, tasted, in meetings, lunches, and parties in the space all the time.

His company, Desk Nibbles, is a snack delivery service, with the mission to improving work productivity through satisfying the munchies, with options that are healthy, fun, and delicious. Emil and his business are on a mission: to end workplace hunger in all offices across Canada. If you’ve ever sat through a day at work with your stomach rumbling, waiting for your next meal, you cannot be your absolute best. Healthy and fun snacks should be within a short reach, so you and everyone else can be their best at work.

Emil originally started out in the field of computer science, but it was his parents that he says got him into the snack business. “Growing up it was awesome having my parents pack my lunch and snacks for school every day. They were pretty strict on healthy choices: I always had pumpernickel bread, quinoa bars and never really drank soda. These were some good habits I carried on through high school, university and even when I started my first office jobs. However, I realized not many people did this and lost out on the benefits. I mean people are busy and don't have mom or dad to pack them a healthy lunch and snacks everyday. At Desk Nibbles, we set out to offer that same experience in the office.

Desk Nibbles is now in their seventh month of operation in Ottawa, and recently expanded to delivering Canada-wide. They serve anyone that wants delicious snacks in their office, often as a perk that benefits both the employees and the company, helping boost staff morale and retention. “This is key for modern offices,” says Emil, “and a big reason we’ve been able to sign some larger clients such as You.I TV. However, like I said, everyone loves snacks in the office. We’ve got many local businesses as well, such as real estate agents and lawyers who love snacking just as much.”

Desk Nibbles has pretty straightforward rules when it comes to snacks, as Emil is happy to tell you, “the snacks of course need to be healthy, fun, and tasty, but beyond that we’re working to create a snacking environment that everyone can enjoy. No matter what your dietary preferences are we offer snacking options to meet your needs. Gluten-free, allergen-free, organic, natural and of course generally healthy snacks make up over 50% of the snacks we currently offer. On top of this, snacking with Desk Nibbles goes back to support local Canadian businesses across our country. Most of our snacks come from local producers to keep business in our communities, and build on the Canada we all love.”

On the business side of things, Emil gave us a surprising answer when we asked what makes him successful: “I don’t think I’m very successful yet, and I’m not sure if I ever will consider myself successful. There will probably always be things that are ahead that I want to accomplish. However, I do believe we have a successful team and business, we set out to offer a better office life experience and we really do. It’s always amazing to hear somebody give us a shout out saying we’re making their office life better. We accomplish this because we put a lot of effort into finding a foolproof solution for a simple problem.”

Uplawed Professional Corporation

Dorota Turlejski Profile Photo

“People want a lawyer that is a human first, a legal professional second.”

Dorota created her legal practice, Uplawed, in August 2015 when she found that not everyone that needs a lawyer wants to sit with them in a staid, highly furnished office that you might find in many office-based legal firms in Ottawa. Many clients found it much more helpful, and easier, when their lawyer would come to them.

Built on a LEAN business model, Uplawed, focuses on real estate law and preparation of legal wills, with clients throughout Ontario. Based out of our co-working space, Dorota takes advantage of mobile services and technology to bring her services to her clients, wherever they might be. Uplawed is dedicated to providing legal services that are accessible, transparent, and charge flat fees.

When you ask her what makes her successful, she’ll tell you, “Surrounding myself with creative and successful individuals who kick butt in their field.” You’ll see Dorota in and out of our co-working space, always heralded by the arrival of Pharah, Uplawed’s Chief Office Dog. She found that the presence of her hypoallergenic Basenji helped relax clients that are comfortable with dogs, while reminding people that though an accomplished lawyer, she is also a human being that cares and listens.

When Dorota is meeting with clients privately, Pharah will grace the rest of the office with her presence, greeting and inspecting everyone (most probably looking for snacks!).

When asked what her favorite analog device was, Dorota said the oven. But why? “Well, when you put some vegetables together with some seasoning and put them into the oven, they start out quite plain. But when they come out, energy has been applied and now they taste delicious. This is like real life – when you apply time and energy to something, it can turn out quite exquisite. This is an analogy that I use in my work and life.”


Casey Li Profile Photo

Most days you walk into our co-working space, you will almost always see Casey and his team hard at work on their latest project. Casey’s company, BiteSite, is a software development and film production company that produces compelling media for business.

Started in June 2012, Casey founded BiteSite after he became tired of not being in control of aspects of his work that were really important to him – he strongly believes that the values that you develop the culture of a company around, the way you do things, and the type of work you take on are critically important, so he chose to build a company around these values.

This value-driven model shows in the way they work – What makes Casey and BiteSite stand out is the culture and process they use – striving to only take on clients and projects that fit who they are. Casey says, “we try our hardest not to just take on clients and projects because they'll generate income, but to take them on because they fit our culture and process which leads to high-quality end results.”

When you work with BiteSite, you can be sure that the relationship will always be based on mutual respect between client and company to deliver the best product possible. They also want to have fun in their work, not in finding projects that Casey and his team have fun working on, but in company practices around flexible work time and location.

When you ask him about what makes BiteSite successful, Casey focuses a lot on the work environment, “we spend dedicated time and effort on our culture and practices. I think many startups at our stage focus on getting more and more business, but don't sit down to think about what they believe in and what their culture is all about. I consciously spend effort in our early stages think about what are the things we do everyday as it's the easiest time to make it a habit, and the most effective way to have it grow with the company.”

2016 Pitch Fest

StartUp Ottawa & Telfer School of Business

The Pitch Fest was an open call where 16 Startups presented their business concept, and the six most compelling ideas got the opportunity to work with the elite Telfer Executive Program.
The six winning pitches got to work for 6 weeks with the Faculty and MBA Candidates to receive guidance on their business plan and coaching from seasoned startup professionals.
On Saturday October 17th 2015, the MBA Candidates will present the six business concepts to a pannel of investors to secure funding of more than $1,000,000.