Aleks Poldma from Hydrated World talks business and Enterprise Co-op

hydrated world norman winnerAleks Poldma (left) and Spencer Kelly (right) are fourth year mechanical engineering students currently on an Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) term. On top of being full-time students, they are also varsity athletes at the University of Waterloo - Spencer is on the cross country team and Aleks is on the volleyball team.

Aleks wrote this blog post to talk about their new venture, Hydrated World, and the many benefits of being a part of the E Co-op program.  


Spencer and I have both had a variety of co-op jobs at many different, amazing companies: Toyota, Nestle, and Powerhouse, just to name a few. These have all been fantastic learning opportunities and experiences; however, both of us have always played with the idea of owning our own business after graduation. Money is at the heart of a profession for many employees, but this is not what we value as much as we value creativity, freedom, and having a positive impact on the world. This entrepreneurial way of thinking is what led us to the E Co-op program at the Conrad Centre.


After hearing about how great the E-Co-op program was from a fellow student, we decided to apply with the idea to start our own industrial design firm. We wanted to start this industrial design firm because of our love of design, inspiration from creative industry leaders, as well as positive feedback from our mentor and business advisor, Professor Oscar Nespoli. The fact that we were open to this new challenge and unorthodox approach to a co-op term was hugely rewarding. We have already gained so much from the program, and can’t wait to apply what we’ve learned to our newest venture, Hydrated World.

hydrated world sign


The most amazing characteristic of the E-Co-op program is the people that are involved; everyone is there to support you and help in any way possible. This starts right away when you are interviewed by Wayne Chang, the program coordinator. Wayne is there every step of the way offering ideas, contacts, and other resources to help us with our venture. Throughout the term, he has been an amazing resource and mentor. Many people directly and indirectly involved with the program have made a substantial impact on us as individuals and the direction of our companies.

It is important to be open to ideas, opportunities, and constructive criticism, because you never know who you'll meet or what kinds of different ideas others may have."


Spencer and I are now working on the apparel company Hydrated World, selling t-shirts, v-necks, long sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts. We co-founded with Matthew Scott, a business student at Ryerson, and Mihkel Poldma, a kinesiology student at York.

hydrated world team

The Hydrated World team (from left) Mihkel Poldma, Matthew Scott, Spencer Kelly, and Aleks Poldma.

Hydrated World is working with Charity: Water and together the companies make a five item commitment which means every five items purchased provides one person with access to clean drinking water.
 

Spencer and Aleks after winning their Nicol Entrepreneurial Award.

hydrated world nicol award winnerThe opportunities for financial support within the E-Co-op program were an unanticipated bonus to help get our start-ups off the ground. With Hydrated World, we have won the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship award for $4000, as well as the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award for $500, which have both been crucial for our success. We were also pitch finalists for the Velocity Fund Finals competition.

We are very proud of both of our ventures and we are thankful for the E Co-op program because it has given us the chance to explore our passion for entrepreneurship!"


Catch Hydrated World on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @HydratedWorld.

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