Digital Adventures Assists Young Entrepreneurs Volunteerism opens door for Web business

By Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business, 11/03)

Clients may do a double take when the brains behind Force-Network Designs walk into the room.

Steve Sauve and Kevin Rusnell. But Steve Sauve and Kevin Rusnell, two talented, teenaged Sault entrepreneurs, are years ahead of their time, having already launched their own Web design company. Force-Network Designs offers Web design, hosting and content management solutions. All their layouts are custom made.

Steve, 15, does the eye-catching graphics, design and layout. Kevin, 14, does the PHP scripting, database work and content management systems. “Together we can create some pretty crazy things,” says Sauve, a Grade 10 students at Sir James Dunn Collegiate.

The pair met two years ago at a computer summer camp hosted by Nevin Buconjic, the small business advisor at the city’s Enterprise Centre.

Buconjic, who acts as their mentor, says it was clear they were the most advanced in the class and had the best handle on the topics. They love making Web sites and began asking questions of him about how to start a business. It eventually led to the point of registering their company in early October.

To get their feet wet, the two young entrepreneurs began volunteering to build the Web site for the Norgoma Marine Heritage Centre. They are also doing some paying jobs including designing the subscriber up-load system for an online editing service.

The two work from their homes but they are investigating leasing some business incubator space at Algoma University College’s proposed ICT centre, hoping to share a joint office with Buconjic’s company, Digital Adventures, an Internet consulting and computer training firm. “Clients might come through me,” says Buconjic, “but I’ll be sub-contracting work to them.”

Both have aspirations to stay in the industry. “I want to work for or own a major (computer) company,” says Rusnell. “If we can get this going, maybe we can expand but I definitely want something in the field of computers,” says Sauve. For more information visit www.force-network.com

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