Yvonne Pilon, the CEO and President of WEtech Alliance, Co-Founder of Branded Sisters and host of the Tech in The City Podcast, is what most would consider a wonder woman.
Pilon, who was born and raised in Windsor, Ont. has always had a deep passion for entrepreneurship and graduated from the University of Windsor- Odette School of Business in 2007. At the age of 24, Pilon founded her first tech venture, AD2IT, and by the age of 29, she became the youngest woman to lead a Regional Innovation Centre. Since then, Pilon has been involved in many community and national projects and has helped WeTech Alliance grow into what it is today.
"WEtech Alliance is a non-profit business accelerator, providing entrepreneurs with business services, training, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring your disruptive technologies to market, increase revenues, attract investment and create jobs," Pilon shared. "Ultimately, WEtech Alliance is here to create jobs, prosperity and more companies. More holistically, we are here to be a voice and sense of place for tech for the community."
Pilon, who grew up with very entrepreneurial parents, explained that she was confused about where her path would take her while growing up. "Like most young people, I was lost. As a kid, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist," Pilon said. "I remember going to my guidance counsellor in high school to discuss what options I had, and at that time, I remember the best career options for a woman were either a nurse or a teacher, "Pilon said.
Pilon said that when she was in grade five, she remembers one of her teachers telling her she had great business-acumen already, which has always stuck out in Pilon's mind.
"I would always put up flyers, create experiences and sell things, that's what made my decision later on in life to be in business a little easier, it was just something that was in my blood," Pilon shared.
Pilon shared that her education in business and her networks across Windsor and Canada have opened many doors for her the past few years. "As a young female in business, I do believe there are challenges that we face here in Windsor, but as our city undergoes its own transformation, I believe we are paving the way for a new leadership culture," Pilon explained. "I may be a young female leader in tech, but my role as a CEO is the same as any leader regardless of gender, age, etc."
Pilon's advice for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur is to be obsessed with your customers' needs, not be afraid to fail, and reach out for help to the community's many entrepreneurial support organizations.
“Don’t expect your path to be linear,” Pilon said. “It’s usually made up of winding streets, roadblocks, hills, ice, etc. Your goal is to work hard, fail fast and be better than you were yesterday.”