Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

October 21, 2008 23:59 ET

Passive-Action: A shining example of success - Patrick Brassard wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Québec

MONTREAL, Oct. 21 - A work assignment in Indonesia led
Patrick Brassard to come up with the idea for a business that he would start
in 2004 at the other end of the world - in Québec. That company,
Passive-Action, treats stainless steel surfaces through a process known as
passivation, and is today the largest company of its type in Canada. Patrick,
34, has won BDC's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Québec and will be
honoured tonight at a ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia.
While working for a steel company in Québec, Patrick was sent to
Indonesia to solve a client's problem related to the rusting and corrosion of
equipment. The solution to the problem involved passivation, the process of
cleaning the surface of stainless steel and treating it chemically to avoid
corrosion and rusting. "I discovered that there was little expertise in Québec
in the field," says Patrick. "I had to work with Australian and U.S.
companies." And that's when the idea for Passive-Action took root. "Within
eight months of coming back to Québec, I had started my business," he

Glowing results

With very little experience in the field, Patrick consulted experts, read
technical manuals and relied on the norms of the American Society of Testing
and Material. He worked with an engineer friend to build the documentation on
work procedures. For a month, Patrick did cold calls to find clients. And then
he got his first big break: a large contract to treat train doors. "We got
another large contract and things just started snowballing from there," says
Patrick. "The work kept flowing in. By December, 2006, we had acquired our
largest local competitor." That acquisition made Passive-Action, with 13
employees and high-end clients from Rolls Royce to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the
largest passivation company in Canada.
Passive-Action works with businesses in the food and beverage,
pharmaceutical, petrochemical and industrial sectors in Québec, the Maritimes,
Ontario and into the western provinces. Patrick attributes his success to two
things: superior service and good management. "A client who has to shut down
production because of a problem with his equipment can lose up to $1 million a
day," explains Patrick. "Our clients know we are always there for them. When
they call, we react right away." On the management side, Patrick hired a
consultant for advice on handling Passive-Action's fast growth. "Our growth
happened more quickly that I had forecast," he says. "We more than quadrupled
our revenues between 2005 and 2006. The investment we made in consulting
helped us manage that and was well worth it." In recognition of the company's
successful fast growth, Passive-Action was last year awarded the Montréal East
Island Chamber of Commerce's Prix ESTim for start-up company of the year.
Passive-Action is an active member of the community, supporting causes
such as organizations that help underprivileged children as well as
fundraising for breast cancer research. The company also hires and trains
unemployed workers who are looking to reintegrate into the work force.
"Patrick's 'never say never' attitude has resulted in true success. He
recognized an opportunity and acted on it. He has applied good management
skills, determination and energy in building a reputable business that has
become a Canadian leader," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
"I think entrepreneurship is in my blood," says Patrick. "I gave up a
good salary and job security to start my own business. I risked everything.
But I knew I could do it."

Highlighting young leaders

BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week.
They recognize the entrepreneurial spirit and the business and leadership
accomplishments of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each
province and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of
their business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. The
panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and
any special challenges that were overcome.

Small Business Week partners

Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Rogers, Western
Economic Diversification Canada and Export Development Canada. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

About BDC

BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with
entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles and focuses on
helping small and medium sized businesses in their development projects, local
and global. BDC manages a $10.6 billion loan and investment portfolio and
serves over 28,000 clients. Small and medium sized businesses make up 99.7% of
all employer businesses in Canada. Visit for more information.

Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.

Contact Information

  • BDC Media Room: (604) 893-7343, 1-877-232-9321; After October 21: Johanne
    Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929