YED: Minna Van

After struggling to receive support for her own personal business, Minna Van looked for a business that could help her young company grow. After finding nothing, she changed direction, and now helps startups, young entrepreneurs and freelancers to establish themselves with strength in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I have two companies at the moment. One is The Network Hub. It is a platform that enables startups and freelancers to grow and remain sustainable by becoming a member of our co-working space and utilizing our various virtual services. My other company,, is a startup that allows small business owners and HR professionals to utilize the power of personal social networks to make better hiring decisions.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
We started The Network Hub as it gave us more control in creating what we felt was missing in the marketplace – a place for independent workers to share resources, share ideas and lower the cost of operating their own business. As young entrepreneurs, we were not able to be taken seriously due to our age, no one wanted to rent office space to us even though we had an incorporated business with cash flow. We couldn’t find that place so we created ourselves.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is interacting with the people and seeing directly how what you create is adding value both to their professional and personal lives. The most challenging part is ensuring you are able to react to the market, making sure that your initial ideas are working in the real world and being able to adjust quickly enough when needed.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
We would love to be able to share The Network Hub with other cities across Canada, the U.S., and overseas at that point.

What does success look like to you?
Success is being able to have the freedom to continue creating more startups that change people’s lives for the better.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Taking my grandparents to The Network Hub for the very first time when we first opened in 2006. My grandparents were overcome emotionally; I overheard my grandma whispering to my mom “I’m so proud that a woman in our immigrant family is able to create something like this.” She repeated a few time we’re just immigrants, poor immigrants, and I understood what she meant. Her sacrifices and my family’s sacrifices for a brighter future for my brother and I materialized, and she could finally see it and touch it. No medal, financial milestones or titles can replace this moment.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Whatever it is that you want to do with your life, if you still haven’t taken steps towards that life, then you need to take that first step today. It also helps to create a network of smart and honest people that will help sustain your growth, both personally and professionally.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am a supporter of AIDS Vancouver, about 10 years ago my teacher/mentor who means the world to me by guiding me back on the right path as a teenager passed away from AIDS. I visit her every few months, her name is on the AIDS Memorial on Sunset Beach and seeing her name among so many names reminds me that this disease still rob families of their loved ones every year.

What is Notable to you?
Worthy of note.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Blackberry! Although looking to transition to Android.