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Competition inspires entrepreneurship in trades people

Philip Jacyszyn's idea to build a business wrapping houses under construction has made him $5,000 richer. The Journeyman Carpenter's business proposal was the winner in a Dragon's Den style competition run by the SAIT School of Business. The contest was connected to a seminar focused on helping SAIT-trained tradespeople learn how to operate as a small business.

The seminar held in March featured experts who discussed topics such as creating a business plan, accounting, contracts, and employment. About 120 SAIT alumni attended the event. The inaugural session was sponsored by Jack and Joan Donald, two very generous donors to SAIT. They contributed funds for the seminar as well as the prize money for the competition. Jack Donald, a Motor Mechanic Journeyman who graduated from SAIT in 1958, helped establish this seminar to inspire entrepreneurship in trades people studying at SAIT.

One month after the seminar, SAIT hosted a "Train the Trades Business Plan Competition" which was a showcase for five trades alumni to present their business plans to a panel of judges. They received some help in the form of free individualized coaching sessions from School of Business students who chipped in with some sound business plan advice.

Jacyszyn's winning business idea addressed common new home-construction problems such as condensation in the attics, leaky windows, freezing wall plugs and rotten framing . He says these problems are expensive to fix but can easily be avoided if they're addressed continuously during the building process. He proposed a business called Under-Wraps House-Wrap Specialist which would focus on air-barrier, insulation and vapor-barrier - three parts of the home that are crucial to a home's reliability and comfort.

Philip Jacyszyn, 23, recently earned his red seal journeyman carpentry ticket through SAIT and comes from a family of carpenters. He's currently working in his family's home renovation business.

Thanks to the generosity of the Donalds, there are plans to hold similar seminars over the next four years.

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