Hub Spotlight: Confluxia Consulting
Baylee Rubinoff and Lauren Hotchkiss are both University of Guelph Alumni who graduated with Master's degrees in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Their research and experience working as consultants have provided Baylee and Lauren with the knowledge and skillset to become co-founders of their own company, Confluxia Consulting.
Confluxia Consulting is a consulting company with a main mission of helping small businesses access evidence-based tools that will allow them to improve hiring practices, find great candidates, and build a stronger workforce and community.
We sat down with Baylee and Lauren and learned what inspired them to take the next step and turn their idea into a functioning business!
How did you come up with Confluxia Consulting?
We have been talking about how to apply human resource best practices to small businesses throughout our master’s program as we are both passionate about equal opportunity, reducing bias, and engaging with our community. As we started our job search after finishing our degrees at the University of Guelph, we saw that companies were still using hiring practices that were highly susceptible to bias. In general, we found there was a significant gap between the methods we were taught to use and the hiring practices that companies were actually using. We realized that our experience and education allowed us to support both businesses in our community to improve their practices and members of the community prepare to apply for jobs.Through conversations in the community, we found that small businesses do have a desire to implement better practices to support diversity in their workplaces, but are not always able to access the tools that larger companies are able to use. We found that they were limited by the number of employees and the financial resources they had, making the services provided by larger consultancies out of reach for them. Thus, we were inspired to create high-quality services that are backed by our research in organizational psychology and to make them accessible to small businesses in our community.
What motivated you to take the next step and apply to the Hub?
We applied to the Hub Incubator Program because we know that our business is more than just our products, and we wanted to receive guidance from experienced entrepreneurs. Our education and experience prepared us well for delivering our services but we lacked some of the fundamental knowledge around starting and running a business. We realized that the structured support the Hub provides would be a great asset to help us get our business off the ground. We also saw the fantastic feedback from participants in the program and realized it would be a great resource to support us with our business operations.
What do you hope to get out of the Hub?
From the Hub program, we are really looking forward to meeting and collaborating with other like-minded folks and sharing the Hub experience with them. We also want to learn from others who have been through the process of starting a business before. We hope to develop a network of Guelph entrepreneurs, mentors, and small business owners.
Do you have any advice for someone with a business idea in mind, but are not sure what to do next?
Our biggest pieces of advice would be:
- Talk to people. Conversations with other people will help you flesh out your ideas, give you advice and input, new perspectives, and provide reaffirmation that you are on the right track! You are not in this alone, and people are a fantastic resource. For us, speaking with friends, family, colleagues, other people in the industry, and more, really helped us build momentum in our initial stages of idea development.
- Put your ideas in to writing. When you start writing down your ideas, it helps you process your thoughts and makes your business idea feel more real. Sometimes it takes seeing your thoughts written down to start problem solving and progress forward. For us, revisiting our notes and ideas from week to week has helped us focus our attention and determine what areas of our business we needed to work on. It is also a huge help if you already have things written down when you take the next step to apply for funding or incubator programs, like the Hub!
- Set time aside. Starting a business is a time intensive process. Try to set aside a bit of time every week to work on your idea in some way – talking to people, taking courses, doing your research. You want to make sure that you can build your business idea into your schedule so that you don’t burn yourself out by trying to get everything done at once. We also tried to be really mindful about using our time effectively and setting boundaries between work time and non-work time. Time can easily get away from you when you are starting a new business.
To learn more about their business check out their website confluxia.ca.
Housed within the John F. Wood Centre for Business & Student Enterprise (Wood Centre), the Hub is a business incubator designed to support early-stage business ideas with high-potential, but unproven business models. The goal of the Hub is to provide University of Guelph students (undergraduate and graduate) and alumni the opportunity to build a successful business enterprise in a supportive learning environment.
The Hub has a tiered program that ensures a good mix of start-up companies at varying stages of growth. “Hub Start” is for ventures still getting their idea off the ground. These ventures typically have a great team and a great idea, but still have not demonstrated product-market fit with traction. “Hub Build” is for ventures with traction looking to refine their business model and/or scale.