Alex Davidson began Odd Jobbers P.E.I. in his first year of university
© Submitted photo
Oliver Tweel, a partner in Odd Jobbers P.E.I., stains the siding of a client’s house. Tweel and his partner, Alex Davidson, are young entrepreneurs who offer a wide array of home-care projects to clients in the greater Charlottetown area.
By Andy Walker
Special to The Guardian
A recent survey by BMO Financial shows 46 per cent of Canadian post-secondary students see themselves starting a business after graduation.
To that, Alex Davidson has a simple response —“why wait?” The fourth year business administration student at UPEI started his business, Odd Jobbers P.E.I., in his first year of university. While it has sometimes been tough juggling business and academics, Davidson said he has enjoyed the freedom operating his own business provides, adding he has been grateful for the support his has received from his professors.
“They have been tremendous mentors to me,” Davidson said.
Davidson said he got the idea for his business when he began to notice not many young people seemed to be earning some spending money by cutting lawns or raking leaves — something he did as a youngster. After talking to people to determine whether there was a need, he launched the business three years ago.
Since then, he has changed business partners, (his current partner is Oliver Tweel) and has created two full-time jobs, in addition to a number of casual and part-time positions. He explained “our workforce can vary depending on the size of the job we are doing.”
That job can be anything from re-shingling a roof to landscaping to checking the propane tanks on a barbecue. While most of their clients have been in the Greater Charlottetown area, Davidson said, “We have gone as far west as Malpeque and we are willing to travel.”
Davidson said the company prides itself on offering top quality service. As for the future, “I will always be an entrepreneur.” He is exploring opportunities not only in P.E.I. but in the Atlantic region.
“I see tremendous potential for growth in this area,” he said.
The BMO survey would seem to suggest Davidson will have plenty of company as the next generation of university graduates heads to the business world. The survey indicates 42 per cent of Atlantic graduates plan to start their own business — down slightly from the national average. The lowest rate, 41 per cent, was in Alberta while British Columbia had the highest rate at 50 per cent.
“Our research tells us that a number of students are unsure if they will end up working in their field of study. The good news is, this means they will look to other post-graduate opportunities as a form of income — which could include starting a business,” said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president,commercial banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “It's encouraging to see Canadian post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ambitious, innovative and eager to contribute to Canada’s economy.”
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 130,000 new small businesses are created in Canada annually. These businesses are the key to driving employment, with more than 40 per cent of Canadians working for an organization with fewer than 100 employees.
The survey showed males are more likely to start a business than their female counterparts (53 per cent versus 40 per cent). Male students were also more confident they would find a job in their chosen field at 38 per cent compared to 22 per cent for females.
The online survey fielded by Pollara was taken between July 22-25, 2013 with a sample of 602 Canadian post-secondary students. Overall results for a probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4.0%, 19 times out of 20.