Fourth-year student at Ivey Business School, a logistics officer in the Canadian Armed Force Reserves, and Founder and CEO of Zentein Nutrition, William Wang is a true #GoGoetter in all aspects. He loves ideating and implementing strategies and experimenting with variables to see why and how things work best. He enjoys fitness and working out, cooking and (mostly) healthy eating, taking long walks in nature and looking at the trees, producing house music, and playing chess. Read on as he shares his entrepreneurial journey and his go to mantra:
What are you currently working on, and what keeps you going? I’m currently working on growing Zentein Nutrition, a health foods company that currently creates one of the markets cleanest protein bars with collagen protein. Each Zentein bar is made locally in London, Ontario, contains 25 grams of protein, and is made from just 5 ingredients: collagen, peanut butter, rolled oats, honey, and dark chocolate. I’m also currently finishing my last year of my undergraduate at Ivey Business School.
It’s been a busy but fun time organizing and making time to complete both business tasks and the academic workload. Just this past Monday, I was in the passenger seat of a truck listening to online Zoom classes as we drove to Toronto to pick up peanut butter and supplies. It’s very easy to keep going however because this (entrepreneurship) is something that I love to do. There hasn’t been a day since I started Zentein where I haven’t been challenged or faced with a new experience. I feel like I’m in another school as well, with the amount I’ve learned and will have to continue learning as we face new territories and strategies as we expand. I think that as long as I keep learning and being challenged and stimulated, I will keep going.
What inspires you? What is your mantra? Nature and life inspire me. Using plants as an example, it’s fascinating to think how one little indistinguishable seed has enough information and potential in it to grow and become a huge towering tree, a beautiful flowering plant, a delicious vibrant fruit, or anything in between (sometimes the seed gets popped and it can turn into a delicious snack but that’s beside the point). All that seed needs are the right inputs, time, and the conditions. That seed can exponentially grow in mass, productivity, and the effect it has on its external environment with the addition of sun, water, and nutrients in the soil. From a little seed, anything can happen. This example can be easily cast onto human development as well as we go through life as well. As a baby, we have no real impact on our world other than perhaps the emotions we bring to those that birthed us. However, from the moment we start crying: the impact is magnified to the room (or perhaps the house). When we learn to crawl, our impact is magnified again. You can follow the logic from here forth. There is so much potential progress and impact to be made, all it takes is time, consistency, and the right inputs.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give someone who wants to do something similar? I think you really must take some time to introspect and try to learn about yourself. Be open to yourself and your mind. You will probably naturally encounter this introspection as your business and its challenges pushes you out of your comfort zone and you are faced with tasks that you are uncomfortable with doing. The ambiguity of being your own boss and setting your own schedule and goals may be enough to trigger feelings of despair or anxiety in some people. However, these things must be overcome or simply ignored because in order for your business to continue to operate and grow, you will have to do things that you are not used to doing. You will have to motivate yourself to do these things.
Why did you get started/How did you get started? I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur ever since I was little. Granted, at the time, I didn’t know the word. All I knew was that I wanted to be the guy coming up with ideas rather than someone who was being told what to do. I fell in love with food (first through eating but then with cooking) and from a young age, I dreamed of becoming a restaurateur and creating everything from fine dining restaurants to healthy fast-food chains that would rival Mcdonalds. Going through school, I also fell in love with science and I was set on becoming a doctor for a brief stint until I realized my fear for blood. As such, I pivoted in grade 12 and applied for business school with the intent of eventually fulfilling my goals of becoming an entrepreneur.
The opportunity came a lot sooner than I expected. I learned about the Western Accelerator Summer Program a couple of days before the deadline and I figured I had nothing to lose. I applied with my idea for Zentein Nutrition in March 2020 and was accepted for the program. It’s been a great time ever since. I’m fully entrenched in the food industry that I love but also getting great learnings from the digital aspects of e-commerce and marketing as well.