U of W - Inside sCo-op Newsletter
by Marianne Nguyen
After completing two work terms, University of Waterloo Honours Arts student and German Studies major Jasmin Hofer decided to take charge of her future and tailor her co-op advantage into an entrepreneurial venture. Working with UW's Enterprise Co-op program, Jasmin is now CEO of her own company, Energrow.
"Enterprise Co-op is definitely an excellent way to go for anyone who's thinking of starting up a business. Aside from creating the means to earn my way during my co-op work term, the best benefit is the amazing mentorship and the contacts I have made. There's always someone who has experience that I can go and talk to and if they don't know the answer, they can refer me to someone who does. Everyone is there to help you take the first few steps to make a business grow."
Jasmin was inspired to start her own company following a trip to Europe where she discovered a money-saving vegetable oil production system. Explains Jasmin, "I thought it'd be something really great to bring over to Canada." Energrow designs and builds custom vegetable oil production systems comprised of a press, sediment tanks, and a filtration system. Farmers use the system to convert diesel engines to run off of the oil produced as well as generate meal or protein supplements for their animals, thus saving money on their feed, electrical, and fuel bills.
Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Jasmin financed Energrow's through savings and loans, private and family investment, and government grants. She then selected a business name and logo that would "speak to people," and created a business plan which involved organizing a list of import items, establishing cost-effective measures, and narrowing down a market. Energrow expects full set-up will happen March/April 2008.
The stress of balancing a new business with school results in many sleepless nights for Jasmin but as she says, "It's worth it. I know that in a few years, you'll hear more of me."
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