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Prime Time

December 12, 2016

Guess who made prime time news look good.... Ankit Sharma. CBC News Vancouver. 6'o clock news with Andrew Chang.

Prime Time - Ankit Sharma

Prime Time - Ankit Sharma

Forty under 40 Winner 2016

December 5, 2016

Launching a tiny operation in his parents’ basement when he was 24, Ankit Sharma has since expanded Surrey-based Kitply Industries into a countrywide wholesale distributor of hardware and plywood with more than $5 million in annual revenues and a team of six full-time staff members.

“I strongly believe that the success we have achieved has been due to the strength of the team, and the strength of the team is due to the way that we manage and treat our people with the respect that they deserve,” said the founder and CEO.

The 32-year-old also recently co-founded a new startup called TradesBlock.com, born out of a need to connect building and construction contractors with homeowners.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2007. He completed studies at the London Business School in March 2016, and is participating in the Entrepreneurial Masters Program housed by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization at MIT Endicott House.

His only other job after graduating from Kwantlen was as a sales management trainee at Hardwoods Specialty Products. He later moved into account management and began to sow the seeds for Kitply. He quit his job in 2009 to pursue his dream of entrepreneurship. He prepared his business plan and secured funding during the recession, defying a business climate that was unfriendly to new ventures.

It wasn’t the first challenge he’d overcome. Success didn’t come easily at first, said Sharma, who moved from Bareilly, India, to the Lower Mainland when he was 15. It took time to learn how to navigate the Canadian business landscape.

He’s proud of what he’s achieved so far. “We set a new standard in the industry, and I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Family life is important for Sharma, who spends as much time as possible with his wife and two young children. Giving back to the community is also important. Sharma chairs the Vancouver chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has won the Self Employment & Entrepreneur Development Society’s Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Ethno BC’s New Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.

 Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40.

Immigrant entrepreneurs missing out on valuable help

September 1, 2016

Government aid for small businesses is being underutilized by the immigrant community in Surrey, says one entrepreneur who got valuable help from the province while building his successful company.

Ankit Sharma, founder of Kitply Industries, a cabinet hardwood distributor, started his business back in 2009 out of his home. Now he has five full-time staff members and 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, and he has regularly tapped multiple government programs such as Small Business BC and the Industrial Research Assistance Program at every step of his company's expansion.

But Sharma said his story is not the norm in Surrey; in fact, he is an anomaly. He said the city has a high number of immigrants running small businesses (more than 30% of the population is of South Asian descent), but they're unaware of the government programs available.

“A lot of immigrants come from countries where there isn't a lot of support from the government. So they don't naturally think of the Canadian government of being supportive of small businesses when the opposite is true. There's a lot of support there.”

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, said culture does play a role when it comes to accessing government grants.

“The challenge lies in language, or being focused on selling product or services, not education of the owner or staff,” Huberman said. “For us, to help business immigrant communities and offer quality service, the face-to-face interaction seems to work, but yes, more needs to be done.”

Kitply Industries, which wholesales hardwood and plywood products for cabinet manufacturers and designers, has found a niche in the market. Sharma said he recently completed a free Small Business BC program, partially funded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, to help with another step of his business expansion.

“I just did a webinar through them for our new online space and social media, and then one on taxation for different provinces.”

Sharma was 24 when he started Kitply Industries fresh off a business degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and he would have had a much rougher time without government help during the startup phase.

“They should do outreach to the owners – to the immigrant community. I'm an immigrant myself, but I came here when I was younger. They're doing something great but nobody knows about it.

While the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and low-income immigrants have been grabbing headlines recently, there's another demographic quietly making its way to this province.

In 2012, more than 9,000 U.S. citizens applied for permanent residency in Canada – many of them white-collar workers venturing north in search of a better quality of life – making the U.S. the fifth-highest country in terms of immigration to this country.

Among the newcomers are Jay Chakravarty and his family. Chakravarty is commuting weekly by plane between Los Angeles and his new home in South Surrey while job hunting in Vancouver. Chakravarty is still employed in the information technology sales and business development industry for a large corporation in the United States, but wants to settle down in Surrey with his family.

“Obviously Canada just gives you a better opportunity for a healthier life,” he said. “So that was my motivation to choose Vancouver. And we moved here for the quality of life, and we think Canada has great potential as the country down south becomes more saturated.”

In August, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that Canada had added 150,000 new citizens in 2014 – double the number compared with the same period in 2013. Changes to the Citizenship Act that took effect in June have streamlined the process, clearing backlogs and speeding up some paperwork delays.

While she loves their new home, Chakravarty's wife, Aparna, whose background is in teaching, said her job search has been tough.

“My experience so far has been very challenging, especially since a lot of employers seek experience in Canada that I don't have. I've started to find some part-time opportunities of late that should hopefully lead me into the mainstream.”

Chakravarty said another factor for choosing Canada is the natural setting. Having been in Los Angeles for the past five years and having worked in various places around the world including Atlanta, New York, South Africa and Dubai, he said nothing beats the scenery in Vancouver – and the lifestyle that goes with it.

“In the United States and especially California, it's a really crazy life. And one of the things I was also looking for was something a bit more laid back, even though Vancouver is not one of the greatest places for a tech professional like me. But we still chose this place because of a more laid-back and relaxed life, hopefully.”

The family has already reaped one of the rewards of being Canadian – medicare. Their son, Shuv, 10, fell off his scooter and broke his arm shortly after arriving. However, being a young boy full of energy, he seems relatively unscathed by the whole incident.

“I've started liking our place even though I'm missing my friends in California a lot.”

The Harpreet Singh Show

April 18, 2016

The show focuses on the positive contribution of South Asians to Canadian society.


February 15, 2016

BC New Canadian Entrepreneur Awards

May 22, 2014

Nominee - Surrey International Trade Awards

May 8, 2014

Celebrate Your Strengths, Celebrate Your Successes

June 25, 2013

Celebrate Your Strengths, Celebrate Your Successes, Presented by Joyanne Landers

Learn to utilize your strengths for success in the Kitchen & Bath Industry. In this highly interactive session lead by Joyanne Landers, you will identify the untapped and inspiring accounts of what works for you. When you tap into your strengths, it leads to a solid foundation of self-confidence and increased enthusiasm. Acknowledging your strengths helps you achieve your goals and enjoy success.

About the Speaker, Joyanne Landers

Joyanne Landers has gained a solid reputation for over twenty years as a trainer, speaker, and leadership coach. She builds on her wide-ranging experience guiding managers and their teams throughout Canada in getting the results they want. Joyanne's company is Elephant Ears Training because she believes smart conversations are really all about big listening, big ears, Elephant Ears.

Designing a Safe Environment by Controlling Motion Through Damping Technology, Presented by Chrystin Piscopo

Damping systems are designed to slow and to control motion on objects, such as doors and lids. Understanding the proper ways to utilize damping in the environment will increase the usefulness of many existing and new designs. This session will cover how to incorporate damping systems for a safe environment in the home or workplace.

About the Speaker, Chrystin Piscopo

Chrystin Piscopo has been involved in the architectural and woodworking business for five years by working for Sugatsune America, a leader in cabinet hardware and architectural building products. She works closely with kitchen and bath designers, as well as cabinet makers, to bring innovative designs to their clients.

Advantages of Attending:

  • You will learn to tap into your personal strengths to increase both sales & customer service
  • You will pinpoint practical tools to enhance your happiness & your productivity
  • You will learn can improve the safety of your work environment and increase the usefulness of existing designs with damping technology
  • Networking opportunities

Who will be Attending:

  • Designers and architects
  • Cabinet, millwork and furniture manufacturers
  • Sugatsune product specialists

Buy your ticket now for June 25, 2013

"Best New Company" Award

November 15, 2012

Finalist for "Best New Company"

October 2, 2012

Kitply Industries was announced as a finalist in the "Best New Company" category for the Surrey Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards. This is Kitply's second nomination for best new business in 2012. Kitply was a nominee for the Small Business BC's Successful You Awards earlier this year.

The Surrey Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards recognizes exceptional Surrey-based business and organizations and offers awards in 8 different categories. The award ceremony will be held on November 15th, 2012 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. Business and community leaders including Jim Mihaly, President of the Surrey Board of Trade, and Dianne Watts, Surrey Mayor, will be in attendance. For more information and event details, contact the Surrey Board of Trade.

Sugatsune Celebrates 30 Years at in Canada

July 12, 2012

Join us for Sugatsune's 30th Anniversary Celebration: Designs to Reality on Thursday, July 26th, 3pm-8pm! Co-hosted by Sugatsune and Kitply Industries, we invite you to attend the celebrations:

  • A Special Presentation by Sugatsune:
  • A Showcase of Installation Demonstrations and New Product Innovations
  • Appetizers and Wine
  • Priority access to Sugatsune's 2013 categlog
  • Free giveaways and more!

Who should attend:

  • Designers
  • Architects
  • Cabinet manufacturers
  • Customers

The event is free and open to the general public.

For more information, contact us at info@kitplyindustries.com or 1-877-754-8759. Register online by Thursday, July 19th. Space is limited.

About Sugatsune "Be Original"

Sugatsune is a manufacturer and distributor of hardware technologies that has designed over 5,000 products covering Architectural Hardware, Soft-Closing Door Systems, and Builders Hardware. The company is world-reknown for their high quality, durable and innovative technologies. Established in Kanda, Tokyo in 1930, Sugatsune continues to be known for their unsurpassed quality and unparalleled craftsmanship. Learn more at www.sugatsune.com.