By Ammi Parmar
Ryerson grad Brennan McEachran recently won Startup Canada’s Ontario Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for his startup that takes employees’ ideas beyond a suggestion box.
McEachran is the CEO and founder of a cloud-based employee engagement platform called SoapBox. SoapBox takes suggestions from employees, then helps the business filter through the ideas and screen them.
The award was granted to McEachran by Startup Canada, an organization that works towards recognizing entrepreneurs in Canada and creating an environment where they can mentor each other.
“SoapBox has grown to be such an amazing company. They’re providing jobs, they’re making an impact in terms of companies’ frontlines and giving employees a voice,” said Renee Tavares, programs coordinator at Startup Canada.
SoapBox is unique in the way that it allows employees of businesses to have a voice in the process of decision-making through an online suggestion box.
“The solution that SoapBox provides solves a historically frustrating reality. Frontline workers have traditionally been far removed from company decision-makers,” McEachran wrote via email. “SoapBox helps solve the problem of employee engagement and inspired innovation of companies.”
McEachran started SoapBox at 19-years-old when he was still an undergraduate commerce student at Ryerson. He went to Sheldon Levy, Ryerson’s former president, with an idea of making the student experience better by giving students the ability to voice their concerns and comments. Levy then connected McEachran with Ryerson’s DMZ, a top-ranked business incubator for developing tech startups. The DMZ gave McEachran the space and tools to create SoapBox.
“I was lucky. I was one of the first student founders with access to the brand-new Ryerson DMZ incubator,” McEachran said, “Our three co-founders (himself, Graham McCarthy, and Warren Tanner) bootstrapped the startup through its initial years at the DMZ, then we began scaling up through targeted and timely financing.”
McEachran was chosen for the award against over 20 young entrepreneurs from Ontario.
“[McEachran] understands the importance of giving back to the entrepreneurship community, you can have a successful entrepreneurship and an amazing company but to have an entrepreneur who understands the importance of mentoring other entrepreneurs is great, because of that it set him apart from the other nominees,” said Tavares.
Some of SoapBox’s clients include Coca-Cola, Bank of Montreal, Indigo Books & Music, MaRS Discovery District, and many more.
In five years McEachran hopes to see managers across North America using SoapBox. They hope for it to become the core way in which organizations and businesses enable high-performance values.