Interviewing Toronto Entrepreneurs: Steve Young and Jason Campbell
Updated: Oct 12, 2018
By Andrew Lie | August 10, 2018
Welcome to our Friday Feature: Toronto Entrepreneurs segment, where we bring you insights, experiences, inspiration, and advice from prominent entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area!
We’ve interviewed business leaders who have been kind enough to take the time to share their experiences with us on what it’s like starting their very own business (and nurturing it as well)!
We believe that these stories would be valuable to other aspiring or established business leaders. On behalf of TorontoEntrepreneurs.ca, we hope that you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed creating it! Feel free to share this story with your networks.
Introducing Toronto Entrepreneurs: Steve Young (President) and Jason Campbell (Director), Modern Theory Institute
Company name: Modern Theory Institute
What does your company do? Modern Theory Institute is an Education and Skills Training Centre based out of Port Credit, Mississauga. We’re a network of educators and professionals who strive to provide learning opportunities and enhancements to both individuals and businesses. We focus on offering global certifications and training to assist students or clients validate, upgrade, or learn new skills. Year launched: 2017 Number of employees: 25-50. We have a large network of instructors, facilitators, and professionals – and continues to grow! One of the great things about joining our network of professionals is that it gives people the opportunity to keep their day job while teaching a class on areas that they are passionate about. Whether they are doing it for the extra money or for the pure passion of evolving their industry, we notice that people simply love to share knowledge and we have provided a venue for it Website: https://www.moderntheoryinstitute.com
1. How did you get the idea to start your business?
M.T.I was founded in 2017 as a passion project of two experienced Education Professionals, Jason Campbell and Steve Young. We understand that (1) each student is unique and (2) education is evolving, as times are constantly changing. Thus, our goal is to make education affordable and accessible to everyone. We allow students to learn new concepts and get access to information that you may not be able to receive through the traditional education system. With our vast network of skilled professionals in Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and the Arts, we have something of value to offer everyone. We are a networking and learning hub for sub-cultures within our community, including individual learners, small and large businesses, community organizations and more. By sharing our talents and skills with each other we will evolve the already rich culture of Port Credit and continue its growth.
2. What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started your business?
The best thing:
Thus far being able to serve our community and help our students achieve greater employment opportunities. We also pride ourselves in being that important extension that every business needs, a training department. We believe that our training has helped businesses improve their overall efficiency.
A major hiccup when we first started was Jason’s injury when we first launched. Jason injured his ankle and required major surgery only weeks after opening. After building some momentum doing community outreach, it came to a sudden halt due to his injury. Our patience was tested early on. It helped us realize that when you run a business, things can happen that are beyond your control. Be patient, keep your composure, maintain your strategy. Control what you can control and adapt to what you cannot.
3. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, challenges are inevitable – whether in the start-up stage or the expansion phase of your business. It’s advisable to be able to balance your personal and work life, as there may be spontaneous surprises that arise in both landscapes.
4. What are some lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Patience is a virtue and at times, patience is all that is required to surpass your expectations of success. Everything requires time and effort – and there’s no easy way to get things done. It’s also very important to identify clearly who your target market is at an early stage. However, when it’s time for a revision, don’t be hesitant to go back to the drawing board and reassess the assessment.
5. What are the best parts about entrepreneurship?
(1) Flexibility. (2) Freedom to get things done your own way. (3) Working with good people. It’s all about having “Good ideas; good company; good results.” Steve has mentioned that working with Jason is the best part about entrepreneurship – it’s the experience of working with good people who have similar visions and lifestyles on a daily basis that keeps me going!
6. What has been your most effective form of advertising?
Community outreach. When we first launched our business, we made a strong effort to build relationships within our community. We would take part in community events including various festivals and farmers markets. Being a Continuing Education Center, we made a strong effort to introduce ourselves to several employment agencies in our area, as there is a strong synergy and overlap with the clients that we serve. Community organizations such as the Port Credit BIA and MBOT have been amazing resources for us starting up, so we became a member of these organizations and took part in their networking events. Once we established our relationships, it was important that we stayed top of mind. We did so by focusing a lot of our efforts and strategies on digital marketing.
7. Who are the entrepreneurs you look up to?
Richard Branson has always been a key figure on our list of inspiring entrepreneurs. Additionally, we’re thankful that we’re constantly surrounded by lots of talented people and each one of them play a part in inspiring us to constantly improve one way or another. 8. What goals have you achieved for your business so far
The team at Modern Theory Institute has been efficiently working together to have several programs on our product list to certify students and we are proud of this achievement! Furthermore, we are overall happy with the launch of our business in Port Credit, a place we immediately fell in love with and knew that it would be the perfect location to base our company. We have learned much about our clients, products and how to best deliver them, making sure to document processes along the way. Using this strategy we are in the process of expanding to two new locations, Ottawa and London, Ontario.
9. What are your goals for your business in 2018?
We would like to continue our steady growth, certify more students and continue to be an advocate for continuous learning. We want to continue to add more programs to our roster of products that will help evolve our intrinsic community. From intensive workshops designed to help businesses improve profitability to courses that will enrich the soul, our goals are that Modern Theory Institute will make a positive and lasting impact in the Port Credit community and far beyond.
10. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
In 5 years we would like to see more MTI campuses across the nation. Pending the successful launch fo our Ottawa and London locations we will then continue to expand to other provinces. We hope to have built strong and lasting relationships in 5 years with both our clients and students alike.
11. What upcoming projects are you working on?
At Modern Theory Institute, we are continuing our diligent research and attentive work on growing our global certifications. For example, one of our projects consist of getting staff trained in Microsoft products and determining procedures on how to perform better in a fast-paced environment. We are listening to our clients and consumers to determine which courses and certifications we should add to our growing list of program offerings.
12. What trends are you seeing in your industry?
We are seeing a lot of trends in the technological sector, where we are teaching lots of different software programs to both our students and clients. Theres a massive trend in Big Data, which includes capturing data, data storage, data analysis, and data transfer. Secondly, Google Analytics is also another trending platform in our industry. Apart from the technological trends, we are also seeing an increase of emphasis on having soft skills to improve communication and efficiency in the workplace. Culture is perhaps the most important aspect of any company.
13. What business advice would you give yourself if you were to start all over?
Don’t be frustrated when things don’t go your way the first time around. It’s ideal to periodically reassess the assessment to see if your initial strategy is going in the right direction or if perhaps a revision is necessary. Make your drawing board your friend!
14. Last but not least, let’s end off with a fun fact! What might we be surprised to know about you?
Fun fact: Before starting Modern Theory Institute, Jason has had the opportunity of holding the position of National Director of Marketing and Operations for more than 50 schools across Canada!
Let's get social. Follow Modern Theory Institute on social media!
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/modern-theory-institute
Facebook - https://m.facebook.com/moderntheoryinstitute
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/moderntheory319/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ModernTheory319
Many thanks to Jason and Steve for sharing their story with us! Stay tuned for our next featured Toronto Entrepreneur!
Do you have someone in mind who should be on our Friday Feature – Toronto Entrepreneurs segment? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org