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Growing the exporters of tomorrow

Monday, July 23, 2018

From NSBI we learned that entrepreneurs need to think about exporting. You need to pick your target market and put the time into LOTS of research and understanding about the rules of selling across borders.

Dr. Paw Team

Dr. Paw

The JA Company Program inspires high school students to understand the role of business in society by starting a business of their own.

Students collaborate with professional volunteers to create, build, and launch a real business. They learn to work within the reality of the Nova Scotia economy and discover the risks and rewards of running a small business. The students also learn to solve actual business challenges, make ethical business decisions,  and enhance their critical thinking, presentation and leadership skills.

NSBI offers business advisory services on a voluntary basis. 

At NSBI we work towards a strong, thriving, and globally competitive Nova Scotia today and for generations to come. We believe in the power of experiences. Much like the way we sell Nova Scotia to the world by showcasing all the value found in doing business with our province, we want to showcase the world of opportunity found in high-value sectors to Nova Scotia youth.

Laurel Broten

NSBI was matched with a team of six students from Citadel High School and Halifax Grammar School. The team was working to launch Dr. Paw, an all-natural paw balm designed to protect and prevent cracks in a pet’s paws from snow and salty sidewalks. It’s a truly Halifax-born concept: Halifax’s salty and slushy sidewalks can dry out dogs’ paws while they are out for a walk. The team saw a need for a product that could keep sensitive paws safe.

The students canvased Halifax dog walkers to gauge consumer interest in their product. They researched existing competing paw protection solutions to see what worked and what didn’t. They combined their research to test and create a new product: an all-natural pet-safe paw balm strong enough to protect paws from salt and ice. Then they created a marketing strategy to take Dr. Paw to market.

Each week the students would spend three hours with NSBI for training, guidance, and advice on core concepts like marketing and sales, bookkeeping, and production planning. NSBI also coached the team through the steps of starting and operating a company.

NSBI specialists regularly spoke with the team to help them with a particular stage of growth – for example, when the students were planning to sell their product at the Farmers Market our Export Development team explained how to get the most out of their efforts.

Although they graduated from the Company Program in April, Dr. Paw continues to grow and expand their export market. They also plan to create new products, reduce their costs, and refine their marketing strategy. 

The students say the experience of starting their own business has expanded their awareness of what is really possible in Nova Scotia.