Years ago, Andrea Feunekes and her husband looked at the way land was being managed and knew there was a better way to approach sustainable resources. They decided to start their own business to see if they could figure out a way to make it work.
In 2015, Feunekes received the Startup Canada Lifetime Achievement Award, Atlantic Region for her work as CEO of Remsoft Inc. With Feunekes' leadership, Remsoft has flourished from a startup business to a major worldwide provider of spatial planning, analytics, and modelling technology. Feunekes is responsible for managing Remsoft's day-to-day operations, as well as business development, product strategy, and sales and marketing. The company's technology is used globally by over 200 clients, helping to balance priorities and conflicts in terms of sustainable resource management.
Feunekes has also spent many hours mentoring and coaching emerging executives and business owners, and has even financially invested in some of her region's own startups.
Feunekes argues there aren't nearly enough female entrepreneurs, despite the fact that it's a very viable option for those trying to raise children while launching their businesses. When Feunekes started her company with her husband, they had two young children. She says being an entrepreneur allowed her more flexibility around how and when she worked.
“I could balance all the opportunities out there,” Feunekes says. “And that's one of the great things about being an entrepreneur, getting to control your own destiny.”
Feunekes says a company's results tend to be better by several percentage points when there are women in senior management positions. To her, this highlights the fact that women can be great entrepreneurs.
However, entrepreneurship, Feunekes says, comes with its own set of challenges. Feunekes describes one of the biggest struggles as feeling alone and unsure of who to turn to for advice. Often times, entrepreneurs think they need to have knowledge on their entire industry, but Feunekes says there is a learning curve that comes with starting a business.
“People sometimes forget that it's perfectly fine not to know everything and it's perfectly fine to own up to that and to go look for help,” she says.
Feunekes emphasizes the necessity to avoid thinking she's achieved complete success, because there is always another challenge to face around the corner.
“Saying I'm successful now means there is nothing left,” Feunekes says. “And there's always something left in business, which is the fun and exciting part.”
Feunekes says there were many times that her business reached standstills and stops, but they kept restarting and continuing on. Even with these difficulties, Feunekes says she considers being an entrepreneur a great path for Canadians considering it.
“If you're thinking about it, you shouldn't be afraid of failure because we all fail or trip. And there's nothing wrong with that,” Feunekes says. “It teaches you to get up and go try again.”
Remsoft Inc. is used by over 200 clients across the world, helping to balance priorities and conflicts in terms of sustainable resource management.
This success story is provided by Startup Canada – a national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs.