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Ryan Spong

Reformed pizza-fueled investment banker, Partner/Co-founder Tacofino Cantina and CEO/Co-founder at Foodee

My career began in the mailroom licking stamps and envelopes at an online brokerage in 1999. Three months later I was trading client accounts. In 2001, I was recruited out of my MBA to a formal career in investment banking, structuring high-grade bonds for a bulge bracket global bank.

I like the definition of entrepreneurship: initiating calculated risks to take advantage of opportunities through innovation or improvement. I have experience in public and private markets and I've brought that entrepreneurial attitude into everything I've done.

I've started, grown and sold innovative businesses. When I returned to Vancouver, I leveraged my experience, contacts and licenses (NASD and BCSC) to form Mainstreet Advisors, a boutique financing company, which raised several million dollars for public companies, some of which I've served as CEO and CFO.

Mainstreet now focuses on incubating business ideas. In 2006, we founded Raincity Rock with two very talented operators which we sold in 2013 to a civil contractor. In 2008, we established Preform Construction - a sustainable high-end prefab manufacturer - with Architect firm AARobins, which we closed in the 2011 housing crash and sold for assets. In 2010, I invested and partnered in Tacofino Cantina. We cook surf-inspired, Asian-Mexican fusion with a focus on slow-food practices and reducing our waste. We support the people who support us by giving back to the communities we serve through volunteerism and donations.

In September 2013, I joined Foodee and we instituted a commitment to quality and best practices. It's a high growth story that our team is very proud of.

I spend my free time advocating for local business on the boards of LocoBC and Knives & Forks Investment Co-op. I ride my bicycle to our Gastown office from Mount Pleasant (and occasionally longer distances) where I live with my wife Chloe and our children Sawyer, Kincaid, and our newest addition... little miss Olive.
Why Big Box Retailers Cost Communities Larry Bray via Getty Images

Why Big Box Retailers Cost Communities More

What were once staples of daily living in our communities -- butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and greengrocers -- are now seen as inefficient when large chain grocery stores deliver all-in-one convenience. But "fast and convenient" has weakened our communities. As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
05/31/2016 11:41 EDT
Businesses Need To Focus On People, Not shutterstock

Businesses Need To Focus On People, Not Culture

Like society, a company's success depends on a culture that is created and cared for by its people. We know this and yet sometimes this fact gets lost. At the companies I'm involved in, we feed people, but we're actually about building culture. There is no better way to bring people together than breaking bread. Culture is not a something, or a someplace, it's not even a someone -- it's the shared space between.
05/05/2016 01:33 EDT
Entrepreneurs Have A Vital Role In Food Denny Thurston

Entrepreneurs Have A Vital Role In Food Security

In these heady days of waste reduction and sustainable food production, food recovery tackles our most bourgeois societal needs for perfect looking produce. For decades, North Americans have been turning their noses up at apple wormholes and rusty romaine lettuce, and produce retailers have caught on.
11/18/2014 06:16 EST