Hunting for entrepreneurs

The founder of a cool-hunting website wins award in innovation excellence.

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Trend Hunter’s Jeremy Gutsche (Photo: Salvatore Sacco)

Staying on top of the ever-evolving world of consumer trends is an almost impossible task for businesses to tackle. But Jeremy Gutsche, the Ontario-based founder of Trend Hunter Inc., has plans to make trend-spotting and reporting a simpler, hands-off process.

The Trend Hunter website monitors trending topics in pop culture, fashion, technology, art and business through a combination of contributor posts (they have 50,000 contributors around the world), data and research—all found online. The data are then sorted into various topics, and compiled into trend reports. Trend Hunter reports go out to companies including eBay, Google, Microsoft and Pepsi Co.

“They rely on our information when they need to kick-start innovation in their teams,” says Gutsche, who adds that he started the business back in 2006 as a form of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Originally, Gutsche had plans to start another business using Trend Hunter as a tool, but instead the site itself became his main priority. Since then, Trend Hunter has logged close to 40 million page views per month, and 32-year-old Gutsche’s Toronto-based team now includes 18 employees working in editorial and programming.

For his success, Gutsche was awarded the Cisco Innovation Excellence Award at this year’s Business Development Bank of Canada Young Entrepreneur Awards. The award is handed out annually to young entrepreneurs who demonstrate innovation and creativity in growing their business. Before Trend Hunter was even an idea for Gutsche, he received a small-business loan from BDC during college, which he used to start his own house-painting business. Gutsche credits that original support for guiding him along the entrepreneurial path.

Michel Bergeron, vice-president of corporate relations at BDC, says BDC’s annual awards are meant to provide both internal and external recognition that will help young Canadian businesses continue to grow.

“In most cases, this represents the first external recognition of the success they’ve had,” says Bergeron. “They get a stamp of approval by a recognized brand, BDC, in terms of professionalism, and they can leverage that in terms of external reputation.”

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