Making their mark as entrepreneurs

Making their mark as entrepreneurs

Ryan Brownell and Alistair Covey started and manage their own company as a work term

“We want to be innovative. We want to create something we can contribute to our education and the province, right now and in the future.” - Ryan Brownell

Fast Fact

Ryan and Alistair launched Almighty Software Company, a mobile application firm, at Volta Labs in downtown Halifax.

As NSCC students province-wide lined up work terms for winter 2016, Ryan Brownell and Alistair Covey were dreaming up a unique idea.

“Let’s start our own business,” Ryan remembers saying. “If we register a company, we could work for that company.”

Now second-year Information Technology students at the IT Campus, Ryan and Alistair knew they would need approval from their instructor, Marc Scarfone, but were skeptical that he would sign off. 

“We thought having a business plan ready would be a selling point,” Alistair says. “It would show we were serious.”

Marc reviewed their plan with the Now or Never Report from the OneNS Commission—generally known as the Ivany Report—in mind.

“The report calls on Nova Scotia’s youth to be innovative,” Marc says. “I referred them to NSCC Entrepreneurship for access to resources and we outlined guidelines (to meet NSCC work-term criteria). For their first work experience, they could spend that time establishing their business and for the second, spend time operating the business.”

In good company

Ryan and Alistair launched Almighty Software Company, a mobile application firm, at Volta Labs in downtown Halifax. It subsequently became a work term for six additional students who continue to help run the business—Chris Burton, Mel Thibault, Alex Cochrane, Dylan Carlyle, Matthew Saleh and Omar Silva.

“It’s a partnership between all of us,” says Ryan, who is specializing in Programming. “We’re all partners, so decisions are put to a vote and all work is transparent. We want this to be a full experience for everyone.”

As per the work-term requirements, the company is developing Kinshift, a mobile exercise application that pairs people based on matching skill levels and goals.

Building skills

In addition to applying the technical skills they have learned, Alistair says the company is enabling students to develop new capabilities.

“I’m learning management skills, graphic design, project management, finance and relationship building,” explains Alistair, who is specializing in Web Development. “Everyone pitches in to help each other, but we also focus on our own areas. It’s a lesson in teamwork and collaboration.”

Marc says that the Almighty Software Company has set an example for students, faculty and staff about what is possible not just for work terms but also entrepreneurship. “In a very concrete way, they have shown us a path to actually becoming innovative.”

Creating opportunity

For this team, the company has become more than an opportunity to earn the credentials to graduate; it’s about attaining skills to succeed in Nova Scotia.

“We want to be innovative,” Ryan explains. “We want to create something we can contribute to our education and the province, right now and in the future.”

03/12/16

“We want to be innovative. We want to create something we can contribute to our education and the province, right now and in the future.” - Ryan Brownell

Fast Fact

Ryan and Alistair launched Almighty Software Company, a mobile application firm, at Volta Labs in downtown Halifax.

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