Serving up success at Chilliwack secondary

Chilliwack secondary student entrepreneurs get a taste of business with Dragon's Den, RBC

John Schulstad

John Schulstad

When Trinity Redekop cooked up an idea for her Entrepreneurship 12 class, she stumbled on a recipe for success.

She would create a homemade soup mix, package it with some old-fashioned TLC, and donate a portion of her sales to charity.

Soup was the first thing to come to Trinity’s mind when her Chilliwack secondary teacher Matthew Ferris put the project to his students. She loves soup, she explains, both for its flavours and for its comfort value.

The 17-year-old also has a warm place in her heart for helping abused women and children.

“Domestic violence is something that has always bothered me,” she says. “Not for me, growing up, but watching people I love being affected by it hit me the wrong way. I’ve always thought, ‘this has to change.’”

So, for the social justice aspect of the assignment, she decided to give a portion of her sales to the Ann Davis Transition Society.

Next was a name, and she came up with Love Soup by Tiny Trinity’s. She created labels for mason jars, test tasted soup recipes, and even set up a Facebook page to sell her product. She made two dozen jars of soup mix, and sold half of them the first night.

But like all great recipes, succeeding really came down to good timing.

And this is how it rolled out. Last week, they had the Dragon’s Den portion of the class. Business owners Sam Waddington and Richard Procee were pulled into duty as judges, and Trinity impressed them both along with her teacher.

About the same time, an administrator received an email from RBC asking if there were any students doing anything exciting that should be rewarded. That email was fanned out to teachers, and Ferris knew Trinity deserved some accolades.

So did RBC.

On Wednesday morning, John Schulstad, RBC branch manager for Chilliwack, and banking advisor Mary-Anne Thomasson arrived at CSS to give Trinity their appreciation.

The national bank has told its managers across the country to go out into the community and find youth who are doing inspiring things. And then they are asked to give them $150 cash, no strings attached. In total, they’ll be giving away cash to 3,400 young Canadians.

It’s a way for the bank to acknowledge the upcoming 150th birthday of Canada, and the youth who have been recognized have been using a hashtag on Twitter to show what they’ve done with the money, #150MakeItCount. Some have sat in coffee shops and paid for people’s orders until the money ran out. Others have bought bundles of flowers to give out to strangers in the street. Others have used the money to reinvest, and that’s what Trinity says she plans to do, too.

“I’m thinking $150 for soup goes a long way,” Schulstad said, as he passed the cash over to Trinity.

He and Thomasson asked her about her business plan, her manufacturing costs, and urged her to keep moving forward with her fledgling business.

The soups cost $3.50 per jar, and she’s charging $8 a piece. For each jar, she’s committed fifty cents to Ann Davis. It’s a small amount right now, but if Love Soup continues to grow, so will the donations.

The next step will be to make a few more batches, and find some better rates on bulk items. She is working toward the right health approvals to sell in stores, and she’s been invited to a few upcoming expos as an exhibitor.

“It’s growing so fast,” Trinity says. “I’m getting a lot of good ideas from people.”

But she says, she was expecting it to be a slow go at first. Trinity is a busy student, with studies at school plus her job at Little Mountain Greenhouses. She’s just a few months from graduating early in January, and through the ACE-IT program at CSS she’s already completed her first year of university, studying horticulture at UFV.

For Love Soup, Trinity used her own pocket money as venture capital. Most of the cost was for the brand new mason jars, and she sourced out bulk amounts of the necessary ingredients.

While Mr. Ferris won’t admit what grade Trinity will get for this project, he does imagine she’ll be busy creating soups far into the foreseeable future.