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Feature - No suits for these cowboys

Young entrepreneurs make their way

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By Stella L. Harvey

They're successful entrepreneurs providing a range of services to a varied customer base. They live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world. They don't complain about Whistler's inflated rents and cost of living. Instead, they talk about having goals, doing right by their employees and customers and not getting overly stressed by the pressures of responsibility. They're focused, competitive and have the advantage of naivety – words like "can't be done" or "too complicated" don't enter they're minds. They see a demand and rush in to fill it oblivious to the obstacles that shackle the rest of us. No formal business attire here. No MBA in a back pocket. All are under 30 and all are shaping their work lives one step at a time.

Jody Edgar of Jody's Internet Services, located on Main Street in Whistler, was born and raised here. His youthful appearance deceives me at first, although I'm not sure what I was expecting. The shoes he wears are a dead giveaway. Shouldn't he be on a skateboard somewhere rather than running an operation that started with one person and now has five full time employees with talents ranging from graphic design to software development?

Jody started his first business, a Web design company, when he was 15. Now at 21, he continues to operate that original business for small specialized projects and has been running Jody's Internet Services for the past two years. His clear eyes and the eloquent, unpretentious way he speaks display an enthusiasm and passion for his work that is enticing and infectious all at once. As part of his application development service offering, he has built a point of sale system that can help any business track their sales in real time.

"It's an open system design built using Internet technology so it's scalable and can run on any hardware," he says with pride. "It's a generic point of sale system that we can quickly customize to fit any business.

"I'm excited about it," Jody says, "because software development is where I want to take my business. Right now, the storefront operation gives me the income I need to develop the graphic and Web design work we do for clubs and other local businesses. I will continue to provide those services but I want to branch out. This system is letting me do that. It's a starting point for bigger things."

Like what, I wonder and as if reading my mind he says: "Can't talk about those things yet, but there's lots of opportunities out there."

"So where did you learn about computers, about running a business?" I ask. He answers with a simplicity that is difficult to understand.

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