Feature - No suits for these cowboys – a year later 

Experiences and lessons learned by young entrepreneurs

By Stella L. Harvey

You read about them last year in the May 17 th issue of the Pique. Six young entrepreneurs who provide our community with services ranging from system development to baby equipment rental. A desire to make a mark on their own terms is the common trait among them. And they are not alone.

The Government of Canada Services and Support for Small Business Web site captures their numbers. There are 2.6 million small businesses in Canada responsible for some 60 per cent of private sector employment and 43per cent of private sector output in this country. In fact, they are the energy behind Canada’s economic growth and they’re doing it in their T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, from home or wherever they decide to set up, without a thought to how they’ll fit into someone else’s image of corporate Canada.

They let us in last year to take a look at their world. They shared their goals openly without concern or second-guessing. As the author of the original article about them I was enticed by their open, unabashed eagerness. I wondered how they were managing. But what I really wanted was another excuse to talk to the young entrepreneurs, get swept away by their energy, and maybe in the process feel as they do, that anything is possible.

Jody Edgar, now 22, owner of Jody’s Internet Café, was providing Internet and other on-demand services while building a point of sale system as part of his application development service offering a year ago. When asked how that point of sale system was going, Jody shrugs innocently, smiles and flicks his right hand into open air as if to say that was ages ago.

"We built it, sold it and we’re onto other things."

Okay, like what I wonder.

"We’re building a sales tracking system that tracks and compares sales on any given day with the sales of the same day in the previous year."

The new system allows a company to monitor and manage its sales and labour costs from anywhere in the world. Six companies in Whistler, including Cittá and La Bocca, have already purchased the new system to help them manage their business.

And that’s not all. Jody has developed a partnership with a systems integrator in England.

"A lot of companies are operating on old systems and can’t make use of new technology. Our partner helps get the old systems ready for the new technology that we build."

So was it difficult to secure this partnership? I mean, how did you know about this guy or his company? Again he flashes the killer smile as if to say, what’s the big deal.

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