Here’s our interview with Jade Proulx.
NextMontreal: What project are you working on in The Next 36?
We are tackling the problem of small businesses being limited by extremely small advertising and promotional budgets. We think that by leveraging mobile technology tools, small businesses can benefit from visibility approaching that of bigger businesses at an affordable cost. We have previously worked on a prototype called LocalTreasure, which consisted of digitizing gamified promotional campaigns like Tim Horton’s Roll up the Rim and we are now iterating on this prototype.
NextMontreal: Why did you decide to join The Next 36?
Jade: I was entering my last year of university, and I was still hungry for more. The Next 36 promotes itself as being a program that pushes students to their limits.
Next Montreal: How did you meet your teammates?
Jade: My Next 36 team is extremely diverse. I work with Alex Litoiu who is a computer science major, Michael Murchison who is studying cognitive science, and Donnie Yee who is enrolled in mechanical engineering. All 3 are from Toronto so I am the one who has to work remotely. I was able to visit them several times in Toronto so we got to know each other rapidly, and we get along very well. Brad Ross, co-founder of Entrust, and Mark Zimmerman, advisor at Mars Technology have been meeting with us every week this winter, and are extremely grateful for their time and advice.
NextMontreal: What’s the experience been like so far?
Jade: The Next 36 experience has been very demanding so far. Most participants still had to attend school full-time this winter, two Next 36 classes and establish the foundation of our ventures. It is extremely challenging to start a new company with people you barely know in these conditions, but that’s exactly why I think I will be learning much more and much faster than through any other means. However, the Next 36 is definitely not just about the learning experience. We are founding real companies, building real products and producing real value. I think that getting this close to making a difference is the best reward I could imagine.
NextMontreal: What are you studying in school (and what year are you in)?
Jade: I’m in my Final Year of a BSc. Food Science degree at McGill University – Macdonald Campus. I was the only one from Food Science among the 72 other candidates. The Next 36 want applications from people coming from a variety of academic backgrounds, and I think my current participation is a proof that they actually mean it!
NextMontreal: What are your thoughts on the overall level of interest in entrepreneurship from young people today?
Jade: The more I learn about the startup community, the more I realize how dynamic it is and how the people driving it are young. I just hope that this entrepreneurial spirit in startups eventually expands to other fields, and that people from backgrounds other than technology or business realize that they can also get involved.