Like many of the entrepreneurs and Innovate Inclusion board members featured in this blog series, Robert Bruski likes to stay busy. A graduate from the Economics program at Wilfrid Laurier University, Robert started his career as a value investment professional on Bay Street. Now an experienced entrepreneur, Robert spends his time divided between being the CFO/Co-Founder of Ctrl V, a large Virtual Reality arcade franchise, and his involvement with several non-profit organizations including Innovation Inclusion.
Robert gained many of his entrepreneurial skills working in the financial district, where he spent a lot of time analyzing all aspects of businesses, their competitors, and their industries. “I was responsible for determining if a business was a good investment,” Robert says. “This gave me a deep understanding of the nuances of a business and how they should work, including what makes a good business plan.”
He was set on a path to move upwards in an investment management firm, but eventually found that there were limited opportunities that sparked his interest. Finally, when a manager told him that he had no potential to understand business, Robert made the decision to leave and start his own business instead. This led him to start a number of ventures in a variety of areas: technology, music production, and investment analysis.
“I believe every entrepreneur has always been an entrepreneur,” Robert says. “For me, my passion is the process of creating and building. It wouldn’t matter if I’m building a music company or a video game company; it’s that process of ironing out the business model, testing it out and making it work that interests me.”
Ctrl V, Robert’s virtual reality arcade company, is growing quickly. Franchises have been popping up across North America as the technology becomes more and more popular. Despite being kept busy as the CFO of Ctrl V, though, Robert makes an effort to be involved in other initiatives as well. He’s a Director with oneROOF Youth Services which addresses youth homelessness in Waterloo Region, and is a mentor to entrepreneurs at the Founder Institute, a pre-seed startup accelerator in Waterloo.
“I have a desire to help others – it’s just part of my nature,” he says. “Whenever anyone asks me to join the Board of an organization, I’m always open-minded about it.”
Robert says that he tried to get involved in entrepreneur support systems such as incubators when he was starting his new ventures, but ultimately ended up depending mostly on himself and his business partners. He joined Innovate Inclusion as a board member because he believes it can have an impact.
“I have ultimate trust in Sarah [Juma] – she’s an absolute rockstar. Everything she does seems to come to fruition because it’s always strategic and well thought out,” Robert says. “When I see Innovate Inclusion and the impact it’s had so far, from the perspective of the Board, I’m proud of the organization.”
His advice to new entrepreneurs?
“Work harder, better, and faster. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who have the same mindset as you. Do your research properly so that if your venture fails, you can learn from it and move on knowing you’ve done everything you could have.”