A business graduate’s race to trace PPE in the pandemic

Kai Chen, who typically is in around perpetual motion in his double everyday living as a specialist and co-founder of Toronto-dependent commence-up affect fund Accurate North, was grounded by Covid-19. But he was decided lockdown would not inhibit an ambitious response to Canada’s urgent will need for personal protective tools (PPE).

“I am normally flying each individual week for function. This is the longest period I have seasoned of not carrying out something exterior my property,” he suggests from the Netherlands, the place he has lived since early 2019.

Still for the duration of the pandemic, China-born, Canada-elevated Chen and his fellow directors turned Accurate North into one of the primary suppliers of PPE to the Canadian govt.

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They did so with the help of an worldwide network of his classmates from the Master of Science in Management at Ontario’s Ivey Business Faculty in 2016-17. Ivey, at Western University, is component of the Cems network of educational institutions that allows pupils to relocate to distinctive nations and continents to full their degree. This gave Chen, 27, the chance to research in Rotterdam.

The tale starts in spring 2018, when he was on an evening flight from Calgary to Toronto, travelling property from a meeting with oil executives for his career at the time as a specialist at Deloitte. He uncovered himself sitting subsequent to Frank O’Dea, a septuagenarian entrepreneur and philanthropist who had been awarded the Purchase of Canada for his many charitable ventures. The two struck up a conversation and rapidly uncovered they shared a passion for entrepreneurship and investing.

Encounter: Entrepreneur Frank O’Dea was a co-founder of the affect fund

“By the close of the flight we realized we needed to do business jointly and we achieved the subsequent day to prepare what to do,” Chen recollects. “The investing space was the natural way to go about it.” With each other they established Accurate North and for the subsequent pair of a long time utilized this to back again “triple-base-line” investments — individuals producing a profit for a social and environmental intent.

When the operation was up and jogging they introduced in another Canadian government, Louis Desjardins, as an adviser, to tap into his thirty a long time of knowledge in healthcare and investment decision.

“It was important to us that we not only invested in organizations that had profitable returns, but also that there had to be a positive affect on the ecosystem or modern society. Nonetheless, Accurate North was basically a passion that Frank, Louis and I did on the aspect,” suggests Chen, who has ongoing to function as a specialist, since February 2019 at Simon-Kucher & Partners in Amsterdam and Frankfurt.