Reducing student debt
How startup StudentHire helps you make cash in your spare time
By Amber McLinden, Features Editor
It’s no secret that students have crazy schedules. If you’ve ever had to go to work when you should be studying, or if you have nothing to do but you aren’t getting booked for shifts at your part-time job, then you know the problem.
University students don’t have a rigid schedule or a specific amount of time available every week, but they often have a lot of debt. Why can’t you just work when you want to work?
“StudentHire basically eliminates that problem in students’ lives,” says Marc Nzojibwami, one of the partners of StudentHire.
StudentHire is a website aimed at providing university students with an opportunity for students to work when they want, how they want and still make money. It’s something that Nzojibwami says is wanted by students.
“Within three weeks [of operating], 300 students had signed up wanting to find work. We quickly realized that was something that was worth pursuing,” he says.
“More often than not, the people who post the jobs are willing to bump the prices just because of the social impact they’re having on these students lives.” – Marc Nzojibwami
Since then, the website has proven its value by attracting over 2300 users and 900 jobs in Edmonton alone. The group plans to expand into Calgary and other cities in the coming years.
Students can pick up jobs ranging from shovelling a driveway to photography sessions. While StudentHire only provides these job opportunities to students, he says it’s not an excuse for job posters to take advantage of them.
“This is a way to help post-secondary students, and so we don’t want to market ourselves in a way to get cheap labour, basically,” he explains.
If someone posts a job on the site and it’s pay is too low, the team will reach out to the poster and explain what the job typically goes for. They also hope to have a feature soon that will allow students to bid for jobs, giving them the ability to raise the price if it’s too low themselves.
“More often than not, the people who post the jobs are willing to bump the prices just because of the social impact they’re having on these students lives,” Nzojibwami adds.
The business stands out from other job posting and freelancing sites because of that social impact. The average student debt in Canada is estimated to be about $25,000. Nzojibwami says that alone puts StudentHire in front of competitors.
“For one, we have the social impact that we’re helping these students mitigate a part of their debt, which is a heavy backpack to carry around as a student and after when you graduate, too.”
Many students feel like their part-time or full-time job affects their grades. The value of being a student and having the ability to choose when you can work and make money is something that is difficult to find. StudentHire hopes to make that a little easier.
“It helps [students] take control. If somebody doesn’t have the ability to rely on parents to help them through school, and if they don’t have the time to go through a part-time job, it gives them a means and an avenue for them to empower themselves, and to maybe pay for their rent, and pay for a few meals, and maybe pay a part of their tuition too,” Nzojibwami says.
StudentHire is currently participating in ATB Boostr, a campaign by ATB Financial to help businesses raise funding. Their campaign began on Nov. 7 and ends Dec. 21. The team has raised almost $2,500 of their $10,000 goal.