Hub Spotlight: RentASkill
Co-founded by Josh Dhanapala and Ben Brunt, RentASkill provides busy households with a simple and efficient way to meet their “Help Wanted” needs by connecting them with motivated local workers! With the introduction of its new app, RentASkill connects local youth in search of work with members of their community who have household-oriented tasks or work to be completed. RentASkill has incorporated and has most recently launched its App on the Google Play Store and the App Store!
We sat down with RentASkill to get the inside scoop on how they started their business and what they hope to get out of the Hub Incubator Program.
How did you come up with RentASkill?
Growing up as a competitive soccer player, finding hours to work traditional part time jobs was challenging. However, as a teen still eager to earn money, I began mowing lawns, shoveling driveways, or picking weeds in the miscellaneous hours I had open.
While doing so, it dawned on me how convenient it would be to have a platform where students could connect with people in their community that needed chores completed. This was when RentASkill was born.
February 2017, Ben Brunt and I refined the concept and pitched RentASkill at DECA provincials placing 3rd and advancing to internationals in Anaheim, California. We both felt very passionate about materializing the idea. Yet as we were both headed to university, we chose to put the idea to the side for the time being.
What motivated you to take the next step and apply to the Hub?
March 2020, COVID-19 hit. Thousands of students struggled to find available and reliable summer jobs. This is when we decided it was time to bring RentASkill to life. RentASkill provides a resource for students to find flexible, beneficial, and reliable work, while offering a convenient service to homeowners in search of assistance. We decided to quickly apply to the University of Guelph Hub Start Program for the Summer 2020 semester, and got accepted! This commenced the beginning of RentASkill's journey.
What do you hope to get out of the Hub?
The Hub has provided RentASkill with numerous valuable connections and resources. The Hub was critical in helping RentASkill manage and attain our goals, while connecting us with individuals embarking on a similar journey. The weekly meetings with the Hub kept us focused and on track for our goals and visions for the future.
Do you have any advice for someone with a business idea in mind, but are not sure what to do next?
My biggest piece of advice for someone looking to start a business is to research the “problem” they are trying to solve. Before you start investing time and money into developing a product/business, make sure your business is solving a key problem for your target consumer. RentASkill started by surveying local homeowners and students to help us understand the problem we wanted to solve. We are still in the process of validating our solution through our minimum viable product, but continue to try to validate this as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.
To learn more about their business check out their website.
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.