ACE Canada’s 2011 Ontario Student Entrepreneur Champion offers advice to budding entrepreneurs
By: Ellen Stevens, Staff Writer
The inclusion of “entrepreneur and job” in the same sentence can be a scary thought. Being an entrepreneur can offer great freedom and limitless possibility, but also limitless failure and instability. For some, however, the challenge is met with great optimism and skill.
ARB sat down with Paulina Masson, a student in her final year of Carleton University. We talked about her latest entrepreneurial project, how to succeed in the field, and what to look forward to when you do.
Paulina’s latest project is called contestmob.com and it began with defining a clear niche and target group. Being an avid sweepstakes player herself, Paulina noticed that there was growing niche of people who entered sweepstakes.
Who are these people? Mainly stay at home moms. They have lots of time on their hands and enter a lot of contests. “ These stay at home moms win up to $80,000 per year and not many people know about it yet so it’s a growing niche”. Discovering a particular need and a corresponding solution is the first step to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Becoming the category leader is a key part of playing the game.
Contestmob.com is a web application for people who enter online sweepstakes and contests on a daily basis. It helps users organize contests, enter new ones, makes users more efficient and helps them win more money. The website’s goal, Paulina says, is to become the main center for all contests and sweepstakes online.
Contestmob’s advantage is that they are the only ones who offer such an organizer at the moment. Such a unique position gives them an upper hand in the entrepreneurial world. Becoming the category leader is a key part of playing the game.
When starting a new business, money is important but scarce. Paulina explains: “There are special student loans available for student entrepreneurs and you can enter as many competitions as you can. I entered 20 business competitions, one of them is ACE Canada, and I won monetary prizes to help me support my business. Just don’t give up on that, and it is very possible to raise money and start your own business”.
Paulina was able to raise $100,000 by entering contests and taking out small business loans. She also recognizes ACE Canada for their tremendous support; through ACE, she was able to attract a lot of media attention to her company, acquire new subscribers and customers, and most importantly, her confidence was boosted. Paulina recommends every student apply.
If you’re unsure about which category of business to venture into, Paulina suggests picking something you’re most passionate about. She says that this will help you stay with it as long as you need to make money and not quit before you do so.
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