Kelowna startup Trellis' goal is to be the go-to fundraising event platform across Canada. Their online platform allows charities to maximize their impact by creating a cost-effective tool for ticketing, receipts, and reporting to encourage participation and manage events with ease. And with clients like Big Brother Big Sister, United Way, Canadian Mental Health Association, and Okanagan College using their platform, they’re well on their way to help Canadians do good.
Last year, Trellis hired two students from UBCO and took advantage of our Innovator Skills Initiative program, administered by New Ventures BC, to get $10,000 in funding to offset the hiring costs.
We sat down with Justin Goodhew, Founder and CEO of Trellis, to discover how the Innovator Skills Initiative impacted his company and what’s on the horizon.
Q: What do you do and why are you passionate about it?
Justin: We make it easy for charities and champions to work together and fundraise. Trellis is an event and campaign management platform specifically designed for charities and third-party champions (both individuals and businesses) to fundraise more efficiently for the causes they care about. The platform allows corporate champions to easily select a cause or community partner, create a beautiful looking event or fundraising campaign and start promoting within their community. Trellis streamlines many administrative tasks, increases transparency among donors and organizations, and markets and provides increased awareness for charities, which increases donations and impact.
Trellis’ mission is to increase the collective impact within our communities. We believe that when equipped with the right tools, people can be profound forces for change. We are passionate about empowering businesses, individuals, charities and non-profits with straightforward impact-focused technology to strengthen events and community initiatives. Through our platform, we want to change the face of charity fundraising, increase impact made, and simplify the process, allowing charities to get back to what they do best.
Q: What made you decide that the Innovator Skills Initiative was the right fit for you?
Justin: I am a UBC grad, I know the value of a degree and wanted to find people like me that were wanting to prove themselves and work hard. In a startup there is always a lot to do so finding students to help us was all about finding students that were excited to learn and passionate about their craft. The ISI grant was a great way to de-risk the hire, as students have limited experience.
Q: How did hiring a BC student help your business? What did the student do?
Justin: One of the students joined Trellis as our UX/UI Designer, and he has worked tirelessly to improve the design of our platform, continually reviewing the customer process and adapting the platform to maximize the client experience. He's also worked with our marketing, sales, and customer success teams to improve our brand image and ensure consistency of our messaging.
He has been a vital asset to our company growth during his time with us.
Q: Who would you recommend the program to?
Justin: The ISI program would be great for any tech startup looking for a student who needs to wear multiple hats to get the job done.
Q: What tips or advice do you have for companies looking to hire students?
Justin: You aren’t looking for specific skills, just a desire to learn, work hard and continue to grow. They will have to learn skills on the job but that is why the ISI grant exists, to help you offset the costs of learning time.
Q: What are you hoping to accomplish in the year ahead?
Justin: In our next year, we are launching a nation-wide campaign and beginning our expansion into the US.
Do you think your startup could benefit from a student hire? The Innovator Skills Initiative offers up to $10,000 a year to hire a business or tech student.