In 1989, Mr. Azmairnin Jadavji was a university student doing an internship in criminology. When he learned that one in eight Canadians carry a criminal record that negatively impacts their career and social and family life, Mr. Jadavji was moved to put his education on hold; he wanted to see how he could help give these people a second chance. Mr. Jadavji began to research how he could raise awareness about record sealing and walk Canadians through the process.
At age 24, he founded Pardon Services Canada – the first company of its kind in the country; Mr. Jadavji put an ad in the paper, and the response was overwhelming. “From an industry perspective, there used to be 800 pardons granted a year; today, we have more than 40 competitors and as many as 40,000 successful record suspensions annually because we have built awareness,” he says. “It’s usually for things like marijuana possession, drinking and driving, shoplifting, or they got into a fight. These are ordinary people who have made a mistake and are stigmatized as criminals. We help people get on with their lives. My father taught me to focus on doing a good job helping people, and business will follow. So that’s what we do.”
This month, Pardon Services Canada launched its new identity: All Cleared. “So many companies now have similar names to ours, so it became hard to differentiate. We have also expanded our offerings to include immigration services for people who want to study and work in Canada,” explains Mr. Jadavji. “My son, LV has been instrumental in leading our brand transformation, and we are so lucky to have him on board.”
Mr. Louis-Victor (LV) Jadavji is as precocious as his father was at age 24. When he was 21, LV dropped out of school to launch Wiivv Wearables, a company that produces 3D-printed custom footwear. After suffering a high-jump injury, LV was prescribed orthotics, which can run as high as $1,200 a pair. At the time, LV was already 3D-printing plastic auto parts for vintage car restorers and saw an incredible opportunity in the market. He convinced his friend, Shamil Hargovan, who was working in the budding 3D printing division at Hewlett-Packard to join him as a partner. “Wiivv’s expertise lies in using different algorithms to extract an amazing amount of information – within two millimetres of accuracy – using 200 data points from photos you take of your foot,” explains LV. Following a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Wiivv delivered more than 10,000 pairs of custom insoles in 2016 for $89 USD each. Today, the company is valued at $24 million USD and has just launched a line of custom sandals.
“Just like how computing has become more and more powerful, 3D printing will become more and more efficient. In five to 10 years it will be ubiquitous,” says LV. “But I don’t think that, even 20 years from now, we would need personal 3D printers in our home to make things. Mass manufacturing still has a lot of strengths today. 3D printing is a technology that still requires a lot of specialization. One of the best applications is creating personalized or customized goods because it would be very expensive to manufacture one-off projects in the traditional sense. So, eyewear, surgical implants, helmets, all kinds of braces and even furniture or a custom grip on the steering wheel of your car – there’s applications for those, too.”
LV’s work has earned him recognition in Forbes’s and BC Business’s Top 30 Under 30 awards. “It’s a team award,” he insists. “It came at a great time for our company because we were still forming our image. The award helped with sales, and we were able to leverage that to secure partnerships and additional investors.”
For Mr. Jadavji – whose company is reinventing itself after nearly 30 years to reflect its increased service and technological platform – and for LV, whose company is still in the first years of its life, innovation is key. “When we first started, we used a typewriter and carbon copies,” says Mr. Jadavji. “Now, we are working on an app because more and more people – 70 per cent – prefer self-service. If you don’t innovate, you’ll be left behind. So to keep up, employ young, ambitious people as a part of your staff to help you keep moving.”
LV believes that a company’s strength comes from a collaborative team. “It’s very important for your business to have the best talent, but also that you work with people in a positive way and make them feel valuable and involved,” he says. “The people you bring to your company will help you recruit other talent. If you hire an A player, you’ll get more A players; if you hire a B player, you’ll get C players. So never settle for B players; always work with A players, even if they are more expensive, even if they have very high expectations of you and your leadership. You have to work with A players because they’ll move the organization at a greater velocity.”
Mr. Jadavji originally joined the Club in 1997 because he had offices in the tower. “When we moved locations, I stayed with the Club because of the quality of people,” he says. “You have little snippets of conversation with other members in the gym, or when people are unwinding in Cuvée. You’re with your peers and you can relate to similar issues, like the stock market, employees, political issues. There are many kindred spirits here.” In August, Mr. Jadavji will celebrate two decades as a TCC member. “When I joined I was 30 years old. In those days, you could smoke cigars in the Billiard’s Room, and two o’clock martinis were very common. Nowadays, I drink less, and I use the Fitness Centre more than the Billiards Room.” In fact, Mr. Jadavji has been visiting Milwina, his personal trainer at TCC, for 12 years now; father and son meet every Tuesday for a workout.
LV remembers visiting the Club with his father to use the gym, play squash or a game of billiards, and to have lunch. When he turned of age, membership made sense so that he would have the flexibility to visit the Club more often, and on his own. “It’s great that TCC has an Intermediate rate available for younger members to join,” says Mr. Jadavji. “It’s great exposure to the business world, but also a great space to share with family.” ■