Chris Bisson, co-founder, Escape Manor

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient
Chris Bisson

Age: 36

Birthplace: Ottawa

Company: We lock people up in interactive and immersive rooms!

Education: Undergraduate certificate in business administration, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa (2007)

Charitable involvement: Ottawa Humane Society

Biggest biz achievement: Building and growing Escape Manor from a budding idea and part-time project into a real and full-fledged business.  

Biggest biz obstacle: I had a pretty big professional setback in 2009 when a business that I co-founded failed. It wiped out all of my savings and confidence in one fell swoop. It took a few years to dig out from that and get back on solid ground before I was able to consider taking another shot at business.

Biggest influence: My late mentor and friend, Telfer Prof. Peter Koppel. Early in my education, he encouraged me to pursue exciting experience-based opportunities beyond the four walls of educational institutions. He instilled the importance of finding something exciting to be passionate about and to integrate real-world learning into the overarching curriculum of life.

Biggest lesson learned: You can't do it all. When we started this business, we had a hand in just about every part of the operation. We had to. Over time, we learned that with growth and bigger ambitions came the need to become good at finding people that were more talented than us and specialized in different areas of our business.  

First job: Landscaping

Advice I’d give the younger me: I would simply remind myself to not sweat the small stuff and to spend as much time with family and friends as possible.

What’s left to do: At Escape Manor, our hope is to continue growing into new markets and new entertainment genres to keep people guessing what we're up to next. Personally, I have ambitions to start a rescue farm with my partner, Brittni. I would also like to get into the vegan/vegetarian business space at some point. Local businesses such as Pure Kitchen are really inspiring success stories to me.

Favourite pastime: Playing hockey.

I’m currently reading: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson – a sci-fi novel that is taking me forever to read, but it's interesting!

Favourite movie: Home Alone 2

Favourite song: Anything by Zac Brown, baby!

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Senators

Favourite local summer event: Ottawa Bluesfest

Preferred social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn

Twitter handle: @BissonChris