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Halp is an online platform that connects high school students with university students to help them transition to post-secondary. Students participate in one-on-one chats where they can ask about the in-class, campus and social experience associated with a school or program.
In this edition of Ownr Spotlight, we speak with the co-founders of Halp, Matthew McLellan and Marc Fielding about finding success in helping the student community, and life as budding entrepreneurs.
Q1: Tell us about your business
Transitioning from high school to post-secondary is challenging. Students start thinking about it as early as grade 9. There are so many options, and the process of researching, applying and accepting the right offer is difficult. Students often feel stressed, overwhelmed and without the right answers.
Halp connects high school students with university students so that they can ask questions about the programs and schools that they are interested in. We offer convenient access to genuine first-hand advice on what it takes to get in as well as insight into the in-class, campus and social experience associated with a program. Families often spend four years and $40,000 to 80,000 on post-secondary education. Make an informed transition – get Halp!
Q2: What made you decide to become a business owner?
Our founding team experienced the pain points first hand. In high school, we found campus visits, online forums and personal networks provided conflicting and outdated information. We became passionate about the issue. Although we started our careers in consulting, we were often asked by friends and family to chat with their kids about our university experience. We realized other people were impacted by the problem. It got to the point where we couldn’t stop thinking about Halp, so here we are.
Q3: When you were making your business official, what did you tackle first?
We started with market research. We spoke with people closest to the problem, like students, parents, and guidance counselors. We aimed to validate the problem and solution fit and wanted to gauge the market’s willingness to pay. In addition, we developed a business plan, financial model and overview pack. This helped us wrap our heads around the venture. That said, nothing felt official until we incorporated.
Q4: What has been your biggest success in running your business thus far?
The feedback! We have facilitated chats with high school students from Canada, U.S. and Asia. Hearing that we are solving a problem and have made a positive impact in their lives is awesome. We started this business to help people and that response is what keeps us motivated.
Q5: What has been your biggest challenge in running your business thus far?
We want to gently nudge growth into hyper speed. But, we realize it doesn’t work like that. We are working to be more patient – when appropriate.
Q6: Are there any tips you would like to share with other business owners?
I don’t think we have earned permission to give advice. That said, a couple of things have worked for us, that may work well for others. Tell anyone that will listen what you’re building, don’t be afraid to seek great mentorship, and listen to your customers (the right ones).
Learn more about Halp here.
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