Brady Lumsden | Winner of the 2018 Young Entrepreneur Award – British Columbia
“Find your “why”. Find the “why” that will inspire you to fight an obstacle – to change the world – even if it’s only the world of one single person”
At the age of seventeen, Brady is the CEO of Weekend Fuelbag, a charity program that collects food for students and families in need.
The program was founded by Brady and his cousins after learning that a student was going home on the weekend knowing he wouldn’t eat anything for dinner other than a granola bar.
After coming up with the idea, Weekend Fuelbag began helping 16 students at three local schools. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of its founders, it quickly grew to help 80 students in 9 different schools, who are referred to the program through counsellors and administrators.
For his hard work and commitment to help others, Brady has recently won the Surrey’s Top 25 under 25 award and the IDEA Summit scholarship. As a young entrepreneur, his mission is to create change and raise awareness about the issues that many face on a daily basis.
From a small idea to an expanding charity, Weekend Fuelbag is an organization run by students for students, inspiring many to lend a helping hand. Brady truly embodies the essence of Canadian entrepreneurship.
Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Brady Lumsden to learn more.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
BL: The visible need I saw in the world around me initially inspired me to pursue entrepreneurship. I was never aware that being an entrepreneur could be a positive way to create change, but as soon as I saw a need for societal change in my community, I thought that there had to be a way to help. I always believed that travelling overseas was the only way to make a large impact, but when you dig a little bit you can find an unbelievable amount of need right where you live. Child poverty rates in my home city are close to 25%; there are 1.2 million Canadian children who go home every night wondering if there is going to be a meal. Most people do not realize this as the children who suffer from poverty often remain invisible. I was able to see this need in a friend and the entrepreneurial journey found me. Every week I provide local students who are living in poverty with food. Something as simple as doing a few food drives to feed a few students grew into a charity that has delivered almost 6500 bags of food providing almost 25,000 meals in two years. I always knew I wanted to help people overseas but I switched my focus when I realized the staggering need in my own community. My quest to want to help others is what inspired me to become an entrepreneur.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
BL: The biggest lesson I have learned is to never stop asking “why”. It is the foundation of entrepreneurship. Being able to recognize a problem and asking the question why: why do some children have so little, while I have so much? Why does child poverty exist? Why is it that nobody has taken action? These questions are the foundation and root goals of my organization and my life. I have also learned to realize the “why” of what I am doing. Why am I providing food to children? Why is this important? Why will this help to break the cycle of poverty? To stop asking why would be to eliminate curiosity, the only thing that enables humankind to continuously advance.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
BL: “A key concept for those who are just starting up their entrepreneurial ventures today is to relay your goals and ideas to everyone you meet. It is amazing how many people want to help in any way that they possibly can and the more people who you tell about your endeavor, the more people there will be to help you further your reach in the future. I have had valuable opportunities arise because I take every conceivable opportunity to talk about my charity. People from the community have stepped up to help me overcome obstacles and have provided me with assets, contacts, and the tools I need to be able to continue on my journey towards reaching my goals. Without this guidance and assistance, I would never have been able to grow as an entrepreneur. Everyone wants to see others succeed, and if people know about your endeavors and your needs, something will always work out to help you achieve your goals.
SN: What is the one thing you think we need to do as a nation, today, to position Canada as a global innovation and entrepreneurial leader?
BL: Societally, becoming an entrepreneur is perceived as extremely risky. This is simply because there are not enough young Canadians who think of this as a viable option for their future. If current Canadian entrepreneurial leaders could take time to pass on the lessons and values of entrepreneurship that they have learned over their career to our youth, then as a nation, we will thrive on the entrepreneurial spirit built from a young age. This would be most beneficial to Canadian youth if it was part of elementary and secondary school curriculums. Programs such as Junior Achievement and Entrepreneurial Adventure already do exist, however, these programs are not numerous enough and it is generally up to teachers to take an interest in involving their students in these groups. There are also several programs across the country for youth entrepreneurs which involve funding and mentorship, however, there is little available for youth under the age of 18.
To remedy this, more business competitions for youth under 18 need to be enacted that will provide startup funds for great ideas. It is not feasible for us to wait for people to be 18 before we reach out to support and encourage their ventures. The entrepreneurial spirit must be inspired in youth at a younger age in order for Canada to even begin to emerge as a leader in global innovation.
Everyone likes the stories of individuals who worked hard to create a business that changes lives, but people are under the impression that only a certain type of person would actually be able to accomplish this. Eliminate this uncertainty and this doubt holding Canadians back, and the innovation created will inspire the world.
SN: What is your message to the world?
BL: “Why” is the quintessential word in human advancement. It has lead to countless impactful inventions and has become the foundation for the human will to pursue knowledge and, even further, progress. “Why” is the initiating factor in social change. It allows us to see the issues plaguing our cities, provinces, and even our entire nation and without it, our society would stagnate. My message to you: find your “why”. Find the “why” that will inspire you to fight an obstacle – to change the world – even if it’s only the world of one single person. My “why” started with one friend and has expanded to address child poverty. Even the smallest “why” can have the greatest impact.
Where will you find your “why” or your “why not”?
SN: How have you benefited from being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards so far?
BL: Receiving the BC Youth Entrepreneur Award has benefited both myself and Weekend Fuelbag as it has unlocked further opportunities. I was recently awarded the Ted Rogers Scholarship through OMNI TV. I was chosen as one of two recipients to appear on the news channel in early August. Winning this award has given me credibility and has been instrumental in furthering my media presence as I am in the process of lining up opportunities to also speak on Global, CTV, and CBC. This award will, therefore, help bring in more donations and will enable Weekend Fuelbag to feed more students in the upcoming year.