Rising Clarkson junior grows Web biz while taking full course load at school
At 16, most teenage boys are worried about getting their driver’s license and how late they can stay out on school nights.
Instead, Matthew Turcotte was developing a business plan for his website design company, then-named North Shore Web Development. Now a rising junior at Clarkson University, Potsdam, Mr. Turcotte has not only made a name for himself in north country web circles, but in the business community as well. North Shore Web Development has grown and expanded since the company’s founding and is now called North Shore Solutions, offering website design and development, site hosting, logo design and branding work, backup services and specializing in website design for municipalities.
Business has grown exponentially since the day Mr. Turcotte first built a website for his uncle from his home in Clayton. He now operates two offices, one still in Clayton and another in Potsdam, manages contractors, staff and interns and his more than 100 clients’ needs. Oh, and he’s a presidential scholar at Clarkson, takes a full load of classes and is a published author, too.
“I have always wanted to give everything my all and I didn’t want to just get by,” Mr. Turcotte said. “I will tell you that I work a lot of late nights, I don’t get much sleep and at certain times things get stressful, especially during tests and exams when I also have clients who have deadlines and projects to get done.”
North Shore got off the ground when Mr. Turcotte was a high school junior, landing his first major client with the town of Clayton municipal website. When he was a senior, he self-published “From Main Street to Mainstream: The Essential Steps to Launching Your Small Town Business Online.” The book stresses the importance of small businesses having an online presence, something that Mr. Turcotte actively works on for his clients with web branding and e-commerce sites. At that point, he began looking towards the future. Having a business that was rapidly growing, college wasn’t the only option for a young entrepreneur.
“I always wanted to go to Clarkson, and I wanted to go to college,” Mr. Turcotte said. “I felt it was important and once you have a degree no one can take that away from you.”
As is the case with many aspiring college students, tuition was a hindrance.
“I was interviewed to go to Clarkson and the president [Anthony G. Collins] saw my energy and he wanted to meet me. So I went back to campus a couple of weeks later and I told him how I got started and said to him, ‘I’d like to come here, but I can’t afford it’,” Mr. Turcotte said.
That conversation led Mr. Turcotte to be the first person enrolled in Clarkson’s groundbreaking new initiative, the Young Entrepreneur Award Program. As a member of the program, Mr. Turcotte sold 10 percent equity at fair market value of North Shore Solutions to Clarkson in return for full tuition paid.
Kyle R. Hayes is associate editor of NNY Business. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 661-2381.