Gateway City Brewery

From the employer’s perspective

Gateway City Brewery

Sully Sullivan, founder, North Bay
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Gateway City, a start-up brewing company, was looking for some advice on how it could expand outside its local base in North Bay. But Sully Sullivan, one of its three founders, said he had no idea that the local university, Nipissing, could be the answer until he saw a local media report that the university was looking for local businesses for experiential learning projects.

The brewery engaged a team of Nipissing students to create a full marketing plan, including advertising, social media, events and other marketing tactics, and providing suggestions for markets that Gateway City should consider moving into. Sullivan said he and his co-founders were delighted with the results.

It’s full of great ideas, and we’re looking forward to acting on most of them. We were impressed by the amount of work that went into it, and it will be very beneficial to us.

— Sully Sullivan, founder, North Bay

Sullivan says his team sees the benefits of hands-on learning projects, both to the businesses that hire students, and to the students who get invaluable experience working with the local businesses community. He says Gateway City will definitely be in the market for future projects with EL students.

From the student’s perspective

Taylor Hummel

Business Administration, 4th Year
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Taylor Hummel’s third experiential learning (EL) opportunity served as a valuable final stepping stone from campus life into the real world of work.

The fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration student, specializing in Marketing, was on a small team tasked with producing a real-life, actionable marketing plan for a young start-up brewery in North Bay, Gateway City Brewery. Her department at Nipissing had put out a call offering student help and expertise to local employers – and got 52 responses.

Gateway City was one of five companies selected to team up with students for an experiential learning partnership.

For the project, Taylor’s team spent time meeting with the brewery’s management team at their site, researching the market, and drawing up a full marketing plan, complete with market insights, marketing tactics, budgets and market opportunities. She says it was an exciting and fulfilling experience.

Having had this real-life experience. I feel more prepared going into a job, having done this marketing consulting with the brewery, working with real budgets and real people. You get to see it in action − what works and what doesn’t.

— Taylor Hummel

This EL experience – essentially, a consulting project carried out as part of her course – was different in nature to one she undertook two years before. As part of Nipissing’s innovative EL program Lead, she spent eight months as a paid marketing intern for the university’s varsity sports administration, carrying out a wide array of tasks such as digital and social marketing, and promoting community engagement with the varsity teams. Another useful hands-on learning opportunity came in the form of event-managing an annual charity hockey game organized by the university.

“It really helped to have all the experiential learning on my resume,” says Taylor, given that even entry-level jobs in her field often demand one to three years of experience. In her case, her work-related experience not only got her into job interviews, but also helped her land a full-time position at an Ottawa advertising agency, which she started upon graduation.