Duct Tape sticks to it
Web-site builder growing

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 02/98) - Why does a business card from Duct Tape Omnimedia Inc. stick with you? Because it comes complete with a hunk of the sticky silver stuff.

Yellowknife-based technology company Duct Tape Omnimedia, is the creation of entrepreneurs David Gilbert, Liz Vens and Jamie Burr.

The tape, affixed to the business card, reflects the company's flexibility, Gilbert said.

"Back in 1995, Internet service providers were starting up but nobody was set up to do content on a commercial scale," Gilbert said.

"We saw an opportunity and decided to jump in."

The business -- most of which is Web-site building -- began in '95 as a part-time endeavour operating out of one room in a law office in Yellowknife.

The three partners each kicked in $200 for licence and rent.

By June '96, Gilbert left his position as design editor at Northern News Services to devote all his time to the new project.

"In the first year, when it was a partnership, we grossed $35,000. For the year ending July 31, 1998, we had sales of $200,000 without taking on any significant debt or giving up any of the company," Gilbert said.

"We build worry-free Web solutions. We sit down with the businesses and organizations we work for and we work out what they need," he said.

The company, with offices in the Medical Arts Building, currently has about 100 clients from small businesses, trade and investment associations to federal and territorial governments.

Gilbert believes Northern Internet technology companies need to be more closely knit if they are going to compete with larger companies from the South.

"We've tried to work with other companies to form alliances. The North needs to be more co-operative or else they (large southern companies) will march up the middle," he added.

"Geographic barriers, that once protected us in the North, are no longer there."

Duct Tape's success has not gone unnoticed.

The company won the NWT Chamber of Commerce 1998 Young Entrepreneur Company Award.

It was also included in the inaugural issue of Realm magazine. Realm, a national career and youth culture magazine, is published by Yes Canada-BC Publishing Group.

Also on the entrepreneurial front, Realm featured Javaroma's Brendan Bell.