Summer Company Program: Troy Blackwell - Top Knotch Paracord
Troy Blackwell is an 18-year-old entrepreneur from London, Ontario. He attended the Catholic Central High School and currently, is studying Fish and Wildlife at Fleming College. His passion for the outdoors, hunting and fishing led him to start his own business in the outdoor sporting goods industry.
Top Knotch Paracord, launched in 2021 with help from the Summer Company Program, produces high-quality handmade paracord items for outdoor enthusiasts made from Canadian sourced materials. "This business started relatively strong and progressively grew as the hunting seasons started in the fall. Over the summer, I was limited to what my own two hands could produce; since then, I have paid workers to do a good majority of the work, which has increased my order volume by about 3x," celebrates the student.
With the London Small Business Centre support, Troy received a grant that helped him to purchase bulk materials. "In addition to this, the seminars from various professionals helped get valuable information on topics that may be daunting. I know that the tax side of things was very confusing for me. They helped me understand and organize effectively. The program was well organized, enjoyable, and provided individuals with the funds to turn a dream into a reality. I know I would not be where I am right now without the Summer Company Program," says the young entrepreneur.
When asked about the challenges of starting a business, Troy recognizes that one such obstacle is the need to establish a reputable name. In order to do this, Troy has invested time in building up a social media presence. He has used strategic advertisements and reached out to other companies to create collaborations, which increased interactions with potential customers. "The main thing that helped me the most was networking. You never know who you might meet and what connections they might be able to offer you," he explains.
Happy with the business growth rate that allows him to balance it with his schooling, his long-term plan is to sell a product to every province and state, and he is well on his way to achieving this goal. So far he has sold to eight provinces and eighteen U.S. states. Troy's success is an inspiration to other young entrepreneurs, proving that anyone can find success if willing to work hard and pursue their dreams.
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