Kevin Zhang never considered himself an entrepreneur, but nearly two years after starting a student venture through JABC, he sees entrepreneurship as a long-term career option.
As part of the 16-week JA Company Program, his team launched a student company called Sucseed with a goal to develop and sell environmentally friendly seed paper. Today their small business is called Dublo Solutions and they even have a patent pending on their product. After JA Company Program ended, they pivoted to focus on supporting sustainability in local businesses and are now working with Covenant House to provide coffee sleeves that can be planted, rather than discarded, after use.
“For me, entrepreneurship is not something that comes and goes; once I have had this experience, entrepreneurship becomes a quality that defines who I am and what I can do. Entrepreneurship allows me to pursue my passions by initiating positive change in my community and beyond.”
While part of JA Company Program, Kevin, who was named CEO, and his teammates learned about all the tools and resources needed for a successful start-up. They also signed up for JABC’s Discover your Pitch, an exclusive pitch competition for students who have taken senior-level JA entrepreneurship courses. They had the opportunity to meet with volunteers and judges to get advice to help them advance their business. Their persistence paid off as they managed to place in the top of their qualifying pool while making a connection with Angel Investor, Mark Betteridge.
Although they didn’t place in the top three at the Discover your Pitch provincial finals in May 2020, with the guidance of Mark, they managed to grow and evolve their business. They spent weeks focusing on research and development and managed to create a viable product ready for market testing.
Kevin, who is currently in Grade 12, appreciated the skills he learned and the overall JA Company Program experience.
“No matter what you are up to now, joining a JA program will open your eyes to a whole new level of excitement, friendship, and making an impact in your community… if you feel strong enough to contribute positively to your community, then JA is definitely for you.”