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How hiring a student helped simplify internal processes: lessons from Naked Snacks

Posted on May 30, 2019

Did you know you don’t have to be a tech company to take advantage of Innovate BC’s Tech-Co-op Grant program? BC small businesses can get up to $10,800 per year to hire a student in a tech role within their company.

Last year, Naked Snacks took advantage of Innovate BC’s Tech Co-op Grant program to bring talent to their team and help double the capacity of product shipped in 2019. As a healthy snack food company based in Vancouver, B.C., Naked Snacks’ focus is on using whole ingredients in fun and delicious ways, hence their 80/20 nutritional philosophy: 80% whole grown goodness, 20% earned indulgence as a reward for making smart decisions.

Through the program, they received $2,700 to hire a student from the University of British Columbia Science Department. The co-op student helped Naked Snacks setup an inventory management system (IMS) for their business and integrate their online ordering, offline ordering, and bookkeeping systems with the IMS.

“We’ve dramatically simplified our internal processes and have much better visibility of how the company is performing on a daily basis,” says Neil Thomson, Founder and CEO of Naked Snacks. “The funding has enabled us to do important work that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do this year. Ultimately, it’s given us a much greater chance of success.”

Q: What made the Tech Co-op Grant program stand out from other options?

Neil: Ease of application was a big part of what made it so easy to engage with the program. From the first web search, the program provided clarity on which expenditures would be covered, how much funding was available, and how to get started on the application process. It was also really helpful to get an early indication of conditional approval before investing too much time in the more detailed due diligence work.

Q: What’s the main reason you would recommend the Tech Co-op Grant Program?

Neil: The match between the granting organization and the UBC Science Co-op department was fantastic. Our application fit really well into the existing relationship. UBC knew exactly what to do when we mentioned we were working with a Tech Co-op grant. They understood our specific requirements and used that context throughout the hiring process, and when it came time to make an offer. That saved us a lot of time.

Q: What are some company milestones you’re most looking forward to in the year ahead? Or are there any recent successes you’d like to talk about?

Neil: Since implementing the IMS, we’re on a trajectory to double the amount of food we ship in 2019. Managing that many relationships and customer orders using spreadsheets, like we were doing before receiving the Tech Co-op grant, would have been an unwieldy beast. Beyond volume, we’ve also been able to take on more operational complexity. We just launched six new snacks to our online snacking services and we’ll be looking to add a number of new products to our offering in the near future

Are you looking to hire a co-op student this summer to grow your business? Apply today get up to $10,800 per year to hire a student through our Tech Co-op Grant program.

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