Matt Gomez’s resume is full of surprises, from running an international airport to teaching English to rainforest inhabitants and Buddhist monks. His latest venture is just as unexpected. As Soil Mate’s Founder, Matt created a comprehensive online resource that connects consumers with local food and drink producers and the restaurants that support them using smartphones, tablets and computers, and the business is growing fast.
Soil Mate is a little over one year old, but it has already received a Small Business BC Award in the Best Concept category in 2014, and has been featured across North American media outlets like the CBC, Huffington Post, Global News and Shaw, among others.
Matt’s success goes to show that entrepreneurship isn’t always straightforward, and that good business can still have a sense of humour.
Bring a Fresh Perspective
Unlike many business owners’ single-minded career path, creating an app wasn’t always Matt’s end goal. In fact, despite its success, Matt notes that he wasn’t “a student of entrepreneurship” and that his approach was “generally pretty cavalier”.
Matt’s business began after he travelled around the world and became interested in the positive connection between food and communities. When he saw how hard it was to copy this connection at home, he decided to make sourcing local food and drink easier with Soil Mate.
Not all entrepreneurs start at a young age or have a formal education in business. Matt embraced his unique background and experiences to bring a new perspective to his industry.
The biggest lesson Matt learned with Soil Mate was that even the best entrepreneurs don’t know all the answers when they’re first starting out.
Before Matt launched his business, he had very little knowledge about sourcing local food and how to run a business, and was hesitant to look like he didn’t know what he was doing. But after making a few avoidable mistakes, he learned that it’s always better to ask questions first.
As he says, “Be respectful, courteous but also direct about what you need help with, and you’ll find what you need.”
Use Your Resources to Get Momentum
Matt made the most of the business resources available to him from the very beginning, which accelerated Soil Mate’s growth. After six months, Soil Mate was operating in every state and province in North America, and had already helped tens of thousands of customers find and buy local food and drink.
He chose to grow his tech startup with Accelerate Okanagan’s Venture Acceleration Program , and then was nominated for Small Business BC Awards’ Best Concept Award. After winning, Matt capitalized on the Small Business BC Awards prizes, including the Premier’s Prize of $1,500 cash, professional business mentorship, an All-Access Pass to Small Business BC education and experts and invaluable marketing and PR opportunities.
By knowing his business and how to leverage available resources, Matt was able to get the momentum he needed to expand his business fast.
Know What Works for You
Knowing what you’re good at is crucial to excelling in business. Matt’s wholehearted dedication to trying new things and learning new concepts make him an adventurous entrepreneur. This was crucial to his unreserved enthusiasm for his business concept and use of acceleration programs and awards that helped grow Soil Mate so quickly.
Above all else, Matt’s strength is his passion for making buying local and understanding the values and quality of food convenient for consumers.
The UK-born Founder adds jokingly, “Plus, I have an accent – people seem to like that.”
Small Business BC Awards Nominations and Ceremony
Don’t miss out on the free marketing and PR. Nominate your business for the Small Business BC Awards and vote until November 30 here.
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