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Financial Post: Jeremy Gutsche on Innovation and Business Ideas

— May 25, 2011 — About
Trend Hunter is an example of innovation as a key component of a successful business. Our Chief Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche was recently featured in the Financial Post, hailed as the image of modern entrepreneurship.

The article highlights Gutsche as the winner of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award, identifying innovation integrated into every facet of TH as the main reason why our Chief Trend Hunter is the perfect candidate.

Little idea leads to a lot

By Daryl-Lynn Carlson, Financial Post

Small businesses that achieve an element of innovation to ensure their profitability and longevity will always have an added advantage. In fact, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will often measure a company's ability to be innovative in its business plan when determining whether a small businesses applicant will qualify for a loan.

As Michel Bergeron, the BDC's vice-president of corporate affairs explains, a creative approach to sustaining the challenges of financial longevity is indeed an important component of a business's long-term survival in a competitive market.

"The project's viability is where innovation comes in, so we look at what kind of plans a business owner has to differentiate themselves and make a living out of this in the long-term," Mr. Bergeron said. "We invest in people and it's very important to have innovation for competitiveness and the businesses' viability in the long-term."

He said that the concept of being innovative in the approach to running a small business can range from anything from human resource policies to retain employees, to understanding customers and what they may appreciate to encourage their loyalty and repeat patronage.

"Innovation is not just about doing research and development in a lab," Mr. Bergeron said. "Innovation can be all kinds of things and we see even incremental innovation efforts when businesses can find a little idea that's new and will put them ahead."

He noted that most of the recent winners of the BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards, held in Saskatoon May 3, exemplified innovation as a key component of their success in sustaining their businesses; the BDC selects winners from every province across Canada, who receive access to consulting services as well as recognition that they can tout to further promote their enterprise.

Jeremy Gutsche, founder of trendhunter.com, a website and accompanying magazine that shares "what's cool before it becomes cool," received the award for Ontario. He launched his business in 2005 based on his desire to search out a premise that had never been done before.

"I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and I have done everything to push myself to discover a new opportunity for a business that was new," Mr. Gutsche said.

Through trendhunter.com, he has garnered many major corporations as clients. Some of his clients retain him to provide workshops for employees to teach them how to leverage the information for the benefit of their company. He has also been a keynote speaker at many conferences, which has accelerated his business's success. "We have been very profitable over the last couple of years," Mr. Gutsche said.

Pierre Martell was the winner from New Brunswick. He launched a company called Martell Home Builders that uses technology to keep clients apprised of the progress of their new home.

Through a real-time webcam, clients can view the progress on their home 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We're making sure that we can involve our clients in the process," he said. "It's been an evolution as we're always tweaking and changing to try to come up with new, innovative ways to link our clients into the build."

The company commits to completing each new home within 99 days, and clients can log in on the Martell Home Builders website to view a calendar of their homebuilding schedule. For example, a client can see the date when the kitchen cabinets will be installed, and can choose what kind of cabinets they want from a wide selection of choices on the company's website.

They can then watch the cabinet installation on the website, which provides clients with confidence and generates business.

"We were trying to be innovative and do things differently, which was an advantage that got us the funding from the BDC," Mr. Martell said. "Since we started, we've never missed a closing date or gone over budget."

Mr. Bergeron acknowledged that the innovative approach to business by both Mr. Martell and Mr. Gutsche -along with the other provincial winners -sets each entrepreneur apart.

"Innovation not only makes these businesses much more efficient, it enhances its viability and financial strength," Mr. Bergeron said. "So a business that looks to innovation and seeks out new ways to do things will be able to be much more efficient."

He added that with developments in technology, the market is becomingincreasinglycompetitive. Therefore, young entrepreneurs who want to launch a business will have to be resourceful, savvy and generally be able to 'think outside of the box" to achieve success in the longterm.
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