Student stories

Recent Gustavson grad brings entrepreneurial know-how to Indigenous communities

Jordyn Hrenyk


Recent Gustavson grad Jordyn Hrenyk (BCom) is wasting no time in putting her entrepreneurial and co-operative education (co-op) experience to work. Recently transforming a unique co-op placement with both the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (NCIED) and the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) program into post-graduation position, she’s successfully bridged the gap between the classroom and the professional world.

No stranger to the co-op program (co-op is mandatory for all Gustavson students), Jordyn completed two work terms with the Bank of Montreal before looking for her final placement. She worked with Lalita Kines, UVic’s LE,NONET Experiential and Community Learning Coordinator, to carve out her own placement with NCIED.  “I met with Dr. Brent Mainprize, who is a faculty champion of NCIED and an instructor with NW-ACE, to talk about a possible work term,” she says. “ I was hired on the spot, and was able to design everything from my job title (Case Writer and Research Assistant) to the work that went with it.”

 Jordyn spent her term writing business case studies focusing on Indigenous entrepreneurs, material that was produced for the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) program, which provides entrepreneurship education to Aboriginal individuals who have started or are looking to start a business. Jordyn completed 10 case studies over the course of her four-month term and continued to contribute throughout the rest of her time at school.

Post-graduation, there was no hesitation on Jordyn’s part in accepting another contract with NW-ACE. “I had this amazing job that I’d created, and there was still a lot of work left that I was committed to,” she says. “I was happy to go back.” Jordyn currently works with the program as an Aboriginal Business Plan Coach, working directly with cohorts of the program (she’s spent time in both Prince Rupert and the Shuswap), facilitating workshops (on public speaking, pitching a business and refining a business model) and mentoring alumni of the program in business plan writing and the funding application process. “This job has allowed me to travel and visit the communities we work with,” Jordyn says. “I’ve had a lot of opportunity to move around and try new things.”

Jordyn has relied on the strong foundation of competencies she developed through her coursework and the co-op program and credits this for her transition into her a satisfying career. “Gustavson taught me the skills and information that I now teach other people- I apply the things that I learned through my co-op terms in my current position and in other aspects of my life,” she says.

Although her current contract with the NW-ACE program is coming to a close, Jordyn is facing no shortage of opportunities for the future. “I’m so lucky that Gustavson motivated me to go out and get experience through the co-op program,” she says.  “Not only did the co-op program give me an advantage when I graduated but it has defined my entire future career path.”

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