From left: Kwantlen entrepreneurial leadership students Cody Waterfield

Kwantlen students conquering the cold

School-based business to provide blankets, gloves and other winter essentials to the homeless.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) business students are making it their business to bring blankets, gloves and other essentials to the less fortunate this winter, and they’ve founded a company to do it.

As part of their fourth-year practicum class, entrepreneurial leadership (ENTR) students David Dryden (from Surrey), Cody Waterfield (from South Surrey) and Stefanie Broad (from Coquitlam) have launched the Conquering the Cold Campaign: A real business that will turn every $20 purchase into $20 worth of supplies for the Vancouver Raincity Triage Shelter, as well as $23 worth of food for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

The project will also earn the team part of the six credits to their practicum course, which gives students the opportunity to apply the theories, technique and skills they’ve learned throughout their degree at KPU.

“The ENTR practicum prepares us for the business world because it is the business world,” says Dryden. “Our group developed the Conquering Cold Campaign to give back to the homeless and less fortunate at a time when they need it the most, while delivering value to the purchaser and ourselves, as our grade is based on our financial results. We wanted to do something creative and different, and we believe we have accomplished that by providing a win-win solution.”

The course is a required upper-level business course unique in B.C. that has two primary aspects: A company-wide consulting report for a small or medium-sized local business, and the creation of a company that sells a product or service to raise funds for the Kwantlen Venture Fund, which will back businesses formed by KPU business graduates.

“This project began as an experiment, as a way for final-year business students to apply their business skills in the business world,” says instructor Chamkaur Cheema, who meets with students on a weekly basis as their project consultant. “It’s the students who have made this class what it is today, and they get out of it exactly what they put into it: Experience, learning, skills, connections.”

“We have learned theory and then applied it previously, however launching a business, making sales, accounting for inventory and producing weekly detailed financial statements with all revenues and expenditures is as practical as it gets. This is what makes the entrepreneurial leadership degree so challenging yet so rewarding at the same time,” says Dryden.

“Practicum has really impacted me,” says Waterfield. “The different aspects of the class incorporated all into one speak volumes of the practical experiences I derive week in and week out. The Conquering Cold Campaign is specifically rewarding to myself and my team for both the practical experience and the amazing feeling you get from giving back to the communities around us.”

Broad adds: “This practicum project allows me to take my existing job skills from working with charities and apply it to a business that is my own. The Conquering Cold Campaign is a huge challenge for our team, yet it will be very rewarding to be able to give back to these amazing charities on behalf of our customers.”

Sales will run until Nov. 12. More information on the Conquering Cold Campaign can be found on the company’s website. For questions, contact the team at conqueringcold@gmail.com, or call David Dryden at 778-869-2187. For information about KPU’s business programs, visit: www.kpu.ca/business

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