Student idea brings comforts of home to campus

Adela Talbot

Getting ready for your first year of university can be stressful. But a group of Western students are hoping to lessen that burden a bit with their entrepreneurial venture.

Northern Rush creates all-in-one packages for postsecondary residence life – combining bedding, toiletries, organizational products, electronics and even kitchen utensils. It aims to let students experience the move-in process with one less hassle to worry about.

Co-founder Luke Copithorne said he’s been through the experience. And while an exciting time in a student’s life, that excitement wears off quickly when they realize how much work goes into moving into residence.

“We wanted to come up with something unique, but at the same time, still be able to come up with a business plan that would work and we could turn into a real venture,” said Copithorne of the project born out of a second-year Ivey Business School course project. Copithorne, third from left, and his fellow business owners include Hunter Corcoran, second from left, Diana Fu, Josh Mays-Quinn, Shannon Stewart, Viara Stoyanova, far left, and even their instructor Greg Critchley, far right.

“I don’t think any of us initially thought about anything beyond the classroom. We were all strong students trying to get a great mark,” Copithorne said. “Then Greg got us looking at it from a true business perspective as opposed to simply an academic venture and I think the belief that we had a really good idea here blossomed.”

By ordering online, students can create their own residence package, which will be shipped and waiting for them when they arrive at school.

Critchley, an Ivey alumni himself, said while he has more than 30 projects submitted in his class, this venture just jumped out at him.

“As I was marking the reports, I came across this one and the idea just jumped out as simple and doable,” he said. “I had been through the experience, when I got here with my parents and we had spent the whole day driving around London trying to find linens and pillows. It was where do we go and what to we do – wasting a day. So, when I saw that all the stuff you needed would be waiting for you when you got here, I knew it could work.”

Copithorne said this ‘outside the classroom’ lesson has been an eye-opener.

“This experience will help us for years to come,” he said. “There definitely some stress, but it’s a true hands-on experience for all of. We’re all getting a great lesson on what it takes to run a business.”

Story originally appeared in the Aug. 21 edition of Western News.