Home-Grown Fredericton Entrepreneur

Follow-up: Start Up New Brunswick I don’t know Dylan Mitchell, third-year Kinesiology student at UNB, but I read about him in a recent Daily Gleaner article. Basically, he had an idea for a coffee-related iPhone app and hired a few programmers from Bangladesh and India to write the code for him. (Forget the fact that the Gleaner never ran a story on me when I wrote my own coffee-related app.) Let’s concentrate on what the article concludes with: “Mitchell is a home-grown Fredericton entrepreneur.”

He certainly is.

Not trying to chastise the guy (or the Gleaner), but they’re absolutely right. Home-grown Fredericton entrepreneurs are the types of people who have ideas and then hire programmers from India to write them. They’re not the kind of people who walk thirty seconds from the Kinesiology building to the Computer Science building at UNB and ask around for students willing to work for just as cheap. Or try to find a partner within the faculty to start a business. No, home-grown Fredericton entrepreneurs are typically the kind of people who hire-out for the quick buck.

I once heard the owner of a home-grown Fredericton business (I won’t say which one), tell a room full of dean’s list achievers in the Computer Science faculty that they had to be prepared to work for almost nothing when they graduate. To paraphrase, he said “For the same money as hiring you, I can hire ten programmers with masters degrees from India. New Brunswick has to understand this.”

This is annoyingly typical of New Brunswick employers. Coming to Ontario and having a dozen job interviews, I’ve seen how differently members of the IT Industry are treated. Being a worker in a knowledge economy doesn’t mean you’re a disposable resource. I’m treated as a valuable asset to a company, and job interviews are used to assess my value, not assess how little I’m willing to be paid.

As long as New Brunswick keeps reinforcing these principles, its going to lose talented young people to provinces willing to treat them as more than throwaway employees.

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