With a love for the outdoors and an idea of starting his own business, Jesse Duhacek was ready to get started.
In 2021, Duhacek decided to take the idea of entrepreneurship more seriously, by starting his own lawn maintenance service, JMD Lawn Care.
Since then, business has been booming for the 17-year-old from Elora.
“It’s going well, especially right now. I currently have about 30 clients. It’s been busy, working after school and on the weekends,” Duhacek said. “But it's going really great.”
JMD Lawn Care specializes in lawn maintenance such as lawn mowing and trimming, weeding, leaf\-raking, as well as general yard and garden maintenance.
“I’ve always been interested in the idea of entrepreneurship and being your own boss. In that sense, and I really do enjoy it, not just the landscaping part, but running your own business. It’s really cool,” Duhacek said.
“I’ve made lots of connections within the community. I get to meet and talk with lots of people, and that’s been really great too.”
Starting out when he was just 15, Duhacek received support from the Business Centre Guelph Wellington (BCGW) through the ‘Summer Company’ student entrepreneurship program.
A provincial government program, Summer Company helps young people between the ages of 15 and 29 to start and run their own summer business by providing funding, advice, hands-on coaching and services.
Students receive a first payment of up to $1,500 for start-up costs as well as a second payment of up to $1,500 once they’ve successfully completed the program.
“Being so young and just starting out, I had a lot to learn. I really didn’t know much, so the Business Centre was a great help early on, with guidance and advice," Duhacek said.
“I started to learn more and more about not only my sector, but running a business in general, and I was able to grow to where I am today. And now I’m running solo.”
The Grade 12 student at Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus says he looks forward to completing his final school year and to see what opportunities lie ahead.
“When I finish school, I’m going to take a gap year and continue to run the business while I think about things. Lots of my friends are off to university, and I do want to as well eventually, but I’m just not sure what I’d like to do in the long run. So, I’ll continue with this because it’s doing well,” Duhacek said.
“I’ll take some time to think about it.”
When not in school or working, Duhacek plays rep baseball with the Guelph Royals.
Last month, Duhacek received the Youth Citizen of the Year award at the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s (CWCC) annual Awards of Excellence Gala.
“It felt really good to win the award. I feel really honoured,” Duhacek said.
“My family and friends think what I’m doing is pretty cool,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.”
Now in his third season operating JMD Lawn Care, Duhacek says he’s grateful for an experience that has taught him alot.
“I've learned about the actual work itself, about landscaping work, and all of the tricks of the trade,” Duhacek said.
“But in terms of running a business, I’ve learned how to manage customers, how to build strong relationships, and all of the record keeping and invoicing. I’ve learned a ton.”
Duhacek hopes to pursue more entrepreneurial opportunities in the future.
“I definitely want to run my own business. I really do enjoy entrepreneurship that's for sure. Maybe I'll even grow this business into something that could be full-time," he said.
Duhacek encourages other young business minded students to not give up.
“Don’t be afraid,” Duhacek said. “Take the risk, take the leap. You will make mistakes at first. I made quite a few. But you will learn from them and progress. If you want to take the jump, just go for it.”
For more information about JMD Lawn Care, visit here.
For more information about Business Centre Guelph Wellington Summer Company program, visit here.