Cameron Perdue was attending Laurentian University full time and looking for summer employment when the entrepreneurship bug bit.
The Sudburian was in his fourth year of a bachelor of business administration degree when he saw a gap in the market for drone-assisted videography.
“I’ve always wanted to start up and own my own business, and be my own boss,” Perdue said during a Nov. 30 online presentation.
“I used some of my skills and experience and saw a big opportunity in the drone market, which is a lot of what we did the first year.”
He continued to build up his filming and editing skills, and last year successfully graduated from the Summer Company program through the Regional Business Centre.
Launched by the provincial government in 2001, Summer Company assists entrepreneurs aged 15 to 29, providing mentorship and coaching services from local business leaders, in addition to financial support to help get the business off the ground.
Today, Perdue’s company, InCapture, produces an average of 28 to 30 videos per month, while Perdue simultaneously studies toward a master’s of business education degree, on a part-time basis.
Two additional people work with him, and he’s currently seeking a fourth.
Demand has soared since the start of the pandemic, particularly in real estate where agents are looking to provide a virtual walk-through experience for clients leery about attending open houses in person.
“We thought it would peak in October or November and then die off, as people would show fewer places once it was snowing,” Perdue said of the demand for his company's services. “But we’ve been booking more and more projects moving forward, and different industries are coming to us.”
In addition to the real estate work, InCapture has surveyed a quarry for a Sudbury mining company, created virtual tours for numerous retail outlets, provided event coverage, and more.
“We became so busy that I wouldn’t have been able to, this summer, go back as a full-time student without simply telling existing clients, ‘We can’t do this anymore,’” Perdue said.
He shared his story as part of Innovation for a Greater Sudbury 2020, an annual showcase of the city’s up-and-coming innovators and entrepreneurs.
Now in its 10th iteration, this year’s theme is NextGen Innovators, which pays tribute to business leaders from the city’s younger set.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, presenters are appearing on a virtual platform.
Perdue said he first became enamoured by video technology as a kid when he and friends would spend their spare time filming and uploading videos to YouTube.
Once he hit postsecondary education, he put his hobby on hold so he could focus on school, but his interest in film never waned.
His need to find a summer job reignited his interest in the medium, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In giving advice to other aspiring student entrepreneurs, Perdue said attending school while running a business is challenging, but not impossible.
“If you’re in your first year and you want to be a full-time student for the next three years, make sure that what you’re picking (for a business) can be part time,” he advised.
“Make sure if demand picks up, you can transfer to be a part-time student, or figure out a way to make it work.”
Perdue also suggested finding mentors who can offer guidance, and urged budding entrepreneurs to take advantage of all the resources available to them.
As a Laurentian University student, Perdue regularly gleaned feedback from coaches at The Foundry, an on-campus innovation and maker space designed to help business-minded students grow their ideas.
Perdue had always been interested in business, but thought entrepreneurship would become a reality for him much later in life, once he had completed his education and gathered some “quality work experience,” he said.
InCapture began as a fun way to earn a few extra dollars while in school, but with the way the business has taken off, he doesn’t anticipate it slowing down any time soon.
“We’re here now, and we’re having fun, and we’re managing it.”
Innovation for a Greater Sudbury continues until Dec. 3. A full schedule of presentations is available here.