Junior Achievement created his ‘Golden’ opportunity
Creating jobs for Islanders -
For Charlottetown custom clothier Coltin Handrahan, the path to entrepreneurship led straight through the Junior Achievement program at school.
He started his company Golden Custom Clothing while he was still a student, making custom-designed shirts for school events. Today, Golden Custom is a host of several Island sports events and supplier of shirts, hoodies and jackets to teams and brands across the country.
“I remember Junior Achievement at school being a great eye opener,” Handrahan says. “They exposed us to so much about business that went beyond producing and selling something. We had mentors in areas like marketing and finance who really opened our eyes to the fact that these were important aspects of operating a business.”
The provincial government has been a long-term supporter of Junior Achievement of PEI, recently announcing a contribution of $35,000 to the organization in 2018.
“Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of the Island economy,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said. “Innovative, hard working young Islanders like Coltin Handrahan have a chance to learn so many skills through JA that benefit them in whatever career paths they pursue."
“Coltin and other entrepreneurs like him make us the mighty Island – because even though we are small, we make big things happen.”
Handrahan said 80 per cent of his business comes from organic, word of mouth marketing here on the Island from happy customers. Orders are also coming in from other provinces as people tell their friends – and every once in a while an online order comes in from overseas. .
“We’ve really relied on word of mouth and our reputation to build business,” he says. “If you treat your customers well and deliver a quality product, word spreads.”
Handrahan said he’s grateful for the support he’s received through JA as well as through other government programs like the Startup Zone, Canada Summer Jobs Grant and Propel ICT that have helped him secure personnel and training.
“You’re always learning in business, so these programs have given our company a chance to stay on top of new technologies and approaches,” he said. “Any business operating today has to be at least partially a tech business, so I’ve appreciated the chance to work with – and learn from – experts.”