Meet Katherine Court
Katerine Court is a 4th year Marketing Management University of Guelph co-op student. Her most recent co-op work term was working as an e-Commerce student at ATS Automation, where she supported site development as well as tracking and maintaining data, among other tasks. During the pandemic, Katherine began a thifting business called Katie’s Kollective, which was started through the University of Guelph Wood Centre Hub Incubator Program. Katherine shares her experiences in both the co-op and the Hub Incubator programs, her thoughts on most important entrepreneurial skills, and her favourite things about co-op.
Tell us about your most recent co-op experience! What was your role?
“In my most recent co-op position, I worked as an e-Commerce student at ATS Automation. During this time, I was responsible for assisting and supporting the e-Commerce site development through the means of maintaining back-end customer account information, gathering image assets for the e-Commerce site, tracking and maintaining price validity data, and assisting with data collection and analysis for the overall digital services platform.”
What is your favourite thing about Co-op?
“My favourite thing about being in the co-op program is being able to apply what I learn in school to the real world within the years that I am attending university. It is also a great opportunity to network, collaborate and try out working in different sectors and positions before I graduate. I now have a good idea of my areas of interest and I feel better prepared for the future!”
Tell us what your business is. Why did you start it?
“My small business Katie’s Kollective started as a pandemic project when I had lost my co-op job for the term due to the pandemic. My small business was started with the help of The Hub Incubator Program at the University of Guelph. Katie’s Kollective is an Instagram-based thrift store specializing in pre-loved brand name clothing with an emphasis on sustainable, budget-friendly, and size-inclusive shopping from the comfort of your own home.”
What was the process of starting a business through The Hub Incubator Program like?
“Starting my small business through The Hub Incubator was an amazing experience! It started with submitting an application with a lean canvas and elevator pitch of my business idea and moved on to an interview process. Once accepted into the program, I got to meet each week with a group of other entrepreneurs and some industry professionals as mentors. In these meetings, we all got to bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions, share milestones, as well as network with and support like-minded people.”
What was the most valuable thing that you learned from The Hub Incubator Program?
“The most valuable thing that I learned from completing The Hub Incubator program was the value of feedback. Being able to bounce ideas off of other entrepreneurs and industry professionals, and to gain real authentic feedback from an outside perspective was really helpful!”
What skills do you think are most important for an entrepreneur? Why?
“There are many skills that are important to have when being an entrepreneur. To me, the most important are communication, time management, and dedication. When you have a business idea, it is your job to be able to communicate and market this idea in order for the business to flourish. It is important to have time management skills because when you are an entrepreneur, you are your own boss, and no one is holding you accountable except for yourself. Lastly, dedication is important because like I already mentioned, you are in charge of your own success and what comes from your business idea.”
Would you recommend the Hub Incubator to others? Why or why not?
“If you have a business idea that you need help getting off the ground or already have a business you are running but want to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, I would definitely recommend applying to the Hub Incubator program. The experiences, support, and mentorship gained from this experience to me made a world of difference when starting my own small business!”