July 31, 2012

With the Timmins mining industry in his blood, it’s no wonder that Rene Fink has developed a local mining conglomerate.  Trident Group is an umbrella organization that consists of Z Equipment, Trident Mining Group and Nautilus Automation.  But this is not the most recent development of Trident.

Mr. Fink began his career as an entrepreneur when he realized the potential for a remote mining system.  In 1997, he established Nautilus Automation and then later acquired Z Equipment.  He has greatly contributed to the major industry of the Timmins region, and has created 40 high-end, high- paying jobs.

Part of the thanks must go out to the local Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) in Timmins, The Venture Centre.  “We provided him with some working capital. We thought he would be a good mix for our organization and we certainly believed in his capabilities of running his business” says Executive Director Ellen Sinclair.

This year, Mr. Fink was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year in a province wide competition.  Ms. Sinclair had nominated him, noting that he certainly met the criteria of a successful business which had benefitted from a Community Futures loan.  He was honoured at the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations Annual Conference, held in Sault Ste. Marie in June.  A video about Trident Group was shown to the 200 delegates, and Mr. Fink was presented with a trophy and an honourarium.

Local suppliers and welding shops are also benefitting from Trident Group’s success.  “I try to use as many local suppliers as I can, from everything from paper towels to hydraulic hoses to welding supplies.  I try and buy locally as much as possible.  I subcontract to a number of smaller companies here, as well, to help us out.  My business helps other businesses by trying to use as much local – because one of my major selling points is ‘use local’.  So, I better practice what I preach,” says Mr. Fink.

 To undertake a business like this is no small feat, and certainly one cannot do it alone.  Mr. Fink is no exception.  With support of his family and The Venture Centre, he also had his whole community to assist in his endeavours.  “The main thing is I live in a town where there are a lot of mines.  So, I am able to draw from a pool of people that have experience in underground mining, which is crucial.  I have mechanics and electricians, who’ve spent twenty, thirty years under ground.  They know the problems they had.  By being able to access that kind of personnel really sets us apart.  So, what is my success?  My staff - the quality of people that I’m able to hire,” Mr. Fink stresses.

The Venture Centre staff, including Ellen Sinclair, Paul Caron (recently retired)and Roxanne Daoust, continues to support Trident Group and take pride in the business’ success.  Trident Group even has support and approval from agency which funds the Community Futures Program in Northern Ontario, FedNor.  In fact, FedNor Minister, the Honourable Tony Clement, was hosted by Mr. Fink during a media event in October 2010.

“We are pleased to honour Mr. and Mrs. Fink and Trident Group as our Entrepreneur of the Year,” says Diana Jedig, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations.  “They demonstrate the type of business that the Community Futures Program can nurture and assist in their growth.”

There are 61 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) across rural and Northern Ontario.  They offer free business counselling, loans for start-up and expansion of small business, strategic planning on local projects, and community economic development.  Each CFDC is locally managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  CFDCs in Southern Ontario are funded by FedDev Ontario, while those in Northern Ontario are funded by Industry Canada through FedNor.  To learn more about CFDCs in Ontario or the OACFDC, go to

Photo:  Paul Caron, (now retired) of the Venture Centre CFDC in Timmins congratulates the Entrepreneur of the Year Rene Fink and Jane Fink of Trident Group, as they accept the trophy from Carmen DeMarco of FedNor, along with Roxanne Daoust, also of the Venture Centre.

Entrepreneur Rene Fink