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Despite potential financial difficulties start-up companies may encounter, working for a new, dynamic company may be a great opportunity for further professional and personal development.

In this competitive environment we are living today, where thousands of undergraduate students are entering the workforce at the same time, job searching is becoming very difficult for all. In order to become a strong candidate in the marketplace, it is nearly mandatory for students to pick up work experiences through internship or Co-op placements.

Speaking from my own experience, a great place to gain valuable work experience is through working at local start-up companies as these companies allow students to improve their skill set and network with professionals or other undergraduates in a non-bureaucratic, dynamic setting. According to the former BCBusinessonline.ca, companies with fewer than 50 employees consisted 57% of jobs in the private-sector during 2009. While this number may be different from today’s economy, it is still a relevant indicator that small companies have a strong hiring power in B.C. This also means that undergraduates have more opportunities in finding a job with a small-sized company.

Not convinced? Here are more reasons why small-sized companies are a great place to start your career:

1. Become a Part of an Innovative Company

Generally speaking, many start-up companies are operated by young, innovative, tech-savvy and bright individuals. By joining their teams, you may play a critical role within a company that is developing a revolutionary product that will change our world. Also, by being a part of a small-sized company, you will have more opportunities to take on projects that you are interested or want to gain more skills in, such as managing the company's social media.

2. Work in an Organic Environment

While working at a reputable, global organization is definitely fantastic for gaining excellent work experiences and developing a solid resume, bigger companies may be more bureaucratic with less autonomy for employees. Conversely, start-up companies can be more organic, where employees have more say in a company, greater freedom and more decision-making rights. For those who are not particularly interested in working for a big corporation, a start-up company may be the perfect place for you! As well, employees at a start-up company can contribute ideas to how the company should be managed as well as how daily operations should be run, as each employee has more responsibilities in a small company.

3. Receive More Responsibilities at Workplace

Although having more responsibilities and work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, newly graduates such as myself, found it extremely helpful for gaining more work-related skills. By taking on more tasks, I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty with different marketing tools as well as improving my organizational and communication skills. I believe these skills will become extremely valuable assets for my future career. For those who may find having numerous duties a pain in the butt, look at these tasks as an opportunity to develop skills that would pay off in the future!

4. Learn the Difficulties of Entrepreneurship

If you ever want to start your own business in the near future, working at a start-up company provides you with insights and perspectives on issues that you may come across with your own company. Although school does provide us with some theoretical knowledge on the problems that entrepreneurs may encounter, there is still nothing better than hands-on experience with these issues! For example, working at local Vancouver start-up companies allowed me to see the financial struggles and management complications that small companies go through. Understanding these issues helped me determine whether entrepreneurship is suitable for me. I am certain that many students or graduates would be able to ask themselves the same question during or after working at a small company.

Despite potential financial difficulties start-up companies may encounter, working for a new, dynamic company may be a great opportunity for further professional and personal development. 

Beyond the Blog

  • If you are interested in starting your own venture, check out SFU Venture Connection for upcoming workshops, competitions, mentorship and networking opportunities.

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OLC Editor

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Co-operative Education

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