By Ryan O’Connor
A Ryerson graduate wants to help students find employment in their communities through LocalStudent, a tech startup that offers a digital job search platform.
The bootstrapped company compares itself to the likes of Uber but for student services. LocalStudent allows homeowners to hire students for home services such as leaf pile cleanup and snow removal with a click of a button.
Through LocalStudent, homeowners can publish job opportunities on the website, where students are free to choose which postings they’d like to pursue. Students can also delegate the processes of sales and marketing; scheduling; customer dispute resolution; administrative work; payment collection and other services to the platform.
According to the company, it keeps around 33 per cent of the revenue made through its paid services, while the working students keep 67 per cent.
LocalStudent’s total funding to date is $47,400, accumulated over the past two years through the Summer Company program, Ryerson’s DMZ business incubator and through winning the Slaight New Venture Competition in April where it received $25,000 in fresh financing.
Alex Ryzer, who graduated from Ted Rogers School of Management’s (TRSM) business management program in 2021 with a major in entrepreneurship, founded the company as the capstone project for one of his classes in 2019.
Ryzer said the inspiration for building LocalStudent came when he noticed the benefits of working for himself.
“When I was 15 years old, I went door-to-door to find customers in my neighbourhood who needed their lawns mowed,” said Ryzer, adding that he did many home services for his local community such as dog walking, snow shovelling and window-cleaning.
“I learned first-hand that this type of work was perfect for me as a student, as I was able to fully choose my own schedule, I earned great pay and was able to work autonomously.”
Ryzen said he believes his experience at TRSM aided his journey to starting LocalStudent.
“TRSM taught me core concepts about business and entrepreneurship that proved invaluable to starting LocalStudent,” he said. “[It] allowed me to apply these concepts in the real world while being a student.”
With over 14,000 students having applied for jobs on the platform, Ryzer’s vision for a better student job culture has proven to be working with his target audience.
Students can currently pick up work in 23 different cities across Ontario, with the most common jobs being leaf and snow removal during the colder months. Ryzer said the platform’s next step is to broaden the amount of jobs that students can do, such as dog walking, graphic design, web development and tutoring.