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Ted Kouri and Jared Smith, both 33, used their shared passion for marketing to start Incite Solutions Inc. in 1999. To-day, their full-service marketing company has grown to more than 20 employees, earning industry acclaim as well as national recognition. For this success, Ted and Jared have won BDC’s Young Entrepreneur Award for Alberta and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Both of our fathers are small business owners, and we knew small and medium-sized companies don’t necessarily have the means to handle their marketing in house,” says Ted. The two University of Alberta graduates began by handling small, one-time projects. Over time, they refined their business model to provide clients with a one-stop solution for the planning, strategy and execution of integrated marketing programs. “Often, companies have to hire different firms to handle their various marketing needs. We have a diverse team of talent that combines everything under one roof,” says Jared.

To-day, the company works with about 50 key clients in Western Canada, including professional services firms, manufacturers and non-profit organizations. Incite’s focus on relationship building, rather than mass advertising, and the varied expertise of its team are two of the things that set it apart. With a targeted marketing approach called Thrive(TM) that the partners created, Incite helps clients build enduring customer relationships and sustainable results. The approach has gained recognition within Canada’s marketing industry as a leading model for building a strong and growing business. In 2008, Incite made PROFIT magazine’s list of Canada’s “next 100” fastest growing companies. Partnership a core strength

As co-owners, Ted and Jared feel their partnership is one of the strengths of the business. Jared works on external relations, sales and business development, while Ted handles internal operations, team management, and business strategy. Both feel that one of the most rewarding things about their jobs is the team of people at Incite. “There’s a lot of pride when we see the exceptional calibre of work that members of our team deliver,” Jared notes.

Always active in the community, the Incite team has used its marketing expertise to help non-profit and community based organizations create unique fundraising and relationship-building opportunities. “We want our community

initiatives to involve more than a financial commitment and, for us, that means providing what we do best-marketing services-as well as volunteering our time and energy,” says Ted.

One of the bigger challenges they face is simply managing growth. “To-day, we’re dealing with management challenges that we didn’t have when we were smaller,” Jared points out. “Another big one is just the challenge of letting go. As you grow, you have to be able to step back.” Now, their focus is on building the sustainability of the organization and on moving forward with high-quality, profitable growth.

“Ted and Jared exemplify the way two entrepreneurs can effectively leverage complementary skills and a shared passion to build a thriving business that draws strength through partnership,” says BDC President and CEO Jean-Rene Halde.

Thrilled at winning the award, they’re also proud of the team effort that went into their success. “Our team, clients, advisors and community partners are all a part of this. The work we do is exciting,” says Ted, “but I think it’s secondary to the group of people we do it with.” 

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