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Rivers Corbett, MBA is an award winning serial entrepreneur, speaker, startup business specialist and author of "13 Fears of Entrepreneurs" and "10 Insider Secrets all Business Owners Must Know."

He has received numerous business honours: 2015 Business Person of the Year, Canada's Hottest Start-ups List and Canada's Fastest Growing Companies list through Profit magazine and recognized as one of Canada's 10 Mentor RockStars.


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Professional Story: 

Rivers is presently a member of Startup Canada's National Advisory Council, host of the StartUP Canada Podcast Show and founding entrepreneur of StartUP Fredericton. Most recently, he was the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of New Brunswick.

As a co-founding entrepreneur, he is now part of a team building an international business that "ZAGS while everyone else zigs"...with the reLiSH Gourmet Burgers restaurant chain.

One of River’s primary responsibilities with reLiSH is franchise development, across Canada and into the United States.  He is a member of the International Franchise Professionals Group, an organization made up of members with common goals.

“Any good businessperson continues to try to expand their network” 

Rivers got together with his restaurant chain’s co-founder, Chef Ray Henry, in the summer of 2009. They opened their first store in downtown Fredericton in January of the following year, and now have 8 locations (four owned by corporate), with three new stores being built in Vancouver, BC. Plans are in the works for locations in Toronto, ON and Saskatoon, SK.

Chef Ray noticed a lack of a good burger in Fredericton. Rivers considers himself the “farthest thing from a chef”, but saw the opportunity to introduce the concept to the city.

“I hate cooking, but I love the food business. I was excited because it was a new business concept.” 

Their burgers are based on a French concept of cooking, which uses layers and pairs different food and tastes together. They’re currently looking for franchisees that will develop at least two locations. As well, they’re searching for master franchisees to bring the concept to parts of the United States and United Kingdom, places where they don’t have “on the ground” experience. 

The franchise fee for reLiSH is $29,000, with a 5% royalty and 2% marketing fee. The build-out costs vary from $50,000 to $350,000, depending on the amount of work that’s needed at the location. They have a 32% target on food and beverage, and strive for labour costs under 23%. Revenue varies by market but Rivers says that by following the system they have in place, 13-18% returns on investment are possible. 

Franchisees are required to be active leaders that support their staff and are connected with their respective communities. 

The chain has had their challenges, but ultimately it comes down to “good people and good locations.” 

Rivers’ passion is the startup world.

“I’m a firm believer that entrepreneurs are going to save the world” 

In addition to being a founding member of Startup Canada, Rivers hosts their podcast and recently recorded 22 episodes of the show. 

His motivation to become an entrepreneur comes from his time in the corporate world. After getting his MBA and climbing the corporate ladder, he ran into a bad boss who wasn’t a good coach or leader. From then on, he wanted to be in control of his own destiny and start his own business. 

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Business isn’t easy but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” 

His one piece of advice to entrepreneurs, and those inspiring to be one is: 

“Zag when everyone else zigs. Be different. Don’t try to be like everyone else.”