Feb. 26, 2014
Memorial student Alex Stead has won a provincial competition for student entrepreneurs, but she’s no stranger to business.
The 20-year-old bachelor of business administration student got her start as a business owner when she began Alex Stead Photography in her early teens.
“When I was 15, I babysat for the entire summer, working for half minimum wage, just so that I could afford that entry level camera. I spent that entire summer ignoring the child and taking pictures, or taking pictures of him,” she laughs.
Now, five years later, she’s been named Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2014 Student Entrepreneur provincial champion by Enactus Canada and the John Dobson Foundation.
“I was so surprised but very excited,” she says. “I didn’t expect it at all.”
The Birchy Bay native was interested in the creativity of photography and began to teach herself the medium. “I’ve always been creative and artistic. Photography seemed another way to do that.”
She later took workshops with professional photographers such as Sue Bryce and this spring, with Dave Brosha, and continues to develop her skills through online courses and on-the-job training. Her interest in pursuing a business degree grew out of running her own business.
“When I got in Grade 12, I realized that my parents wouldn’t be able to put me through college, and I have this ridiculous fear of student loans, so my goal then was to make $10,000 so that I could pay for my first two years of education, which was kind of the striving point to continue learning more about marketing and selling so that I could charger higher prices,” she says.
“Through that I realized that business was where I wanted to be, even more so than photography. Marketing is really where I’m interested, and I just kind of learned that through a roundabout process.”
Taking courses in business has helped her grow her enterprise as she learns more about marketing and entrepreneurship, and winning the provincial competition has helped spread the word about her business already, she says. Her Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/AlexSteadPhotography – has received positive reviews from clients and new friend requests from people she doesn’t know since winning the competition.
“Just being named the top of anything gives you credibility instantly,” she says. “People look at it as being more high quality because I have that success behind me. So I think it’s a great thing.
“Anything you can have that kind of puts you at that top is great for business. So I’m excited to see how far it goes.”
Ms. Stead will vie for the regional title against three other provincial champions in Halifax on March 8. The winner of that competition will take home $1,000 and compete for the national title in April.
“I hope to make some connections. That’s always my goal, to meet kindred spirits and keep those connections alive. And if I win, obviously that’s great,” she says. “But if I can walk away with one connection, one relationship, it’s worth it.”