Entrepreneur Profile: James Fitzgerald, founder of Ontario Post-Secondary Esports

Staples is proud to support Canadian entrepreneurs with tools and resources to help them build their businesses and turn their dreams into reality. That’s why, together with Ownr (by RBC Ventures), Shopify and Moneris, we joined the Canada Starts initiative to support Canadian entrepreneurs by awarding grants to help them get their big idea off the ground. We caught up with James Fitzgerald, founder of Ontario Post-Secondary Esports, to find out how his business venture is going since being awarded a Canada Starts grant.

Tell us a bit about your business.

Ontario Post-Secondary Esports is a volunteer and student-operated organization focused on integrating collegiate esports into the traditional post-secondary institution athletics system. OPSE provides schools with new ways to engage with their students, alumni, and local community.

How did you get started?

OPSE was founded in response to the growing need from post-secondary institutions to engage their student bodies. This need was magnified because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools moved towards a virtual environment and could not engage in their traditional ways.

How did COVID-19 shape your business idea?

The pandemic allowed our business to develop in a fully digital manner. Without having to consider logistics and expenses that come with live events, our team was able to put its efforts into creating the best possible league and content experience for players, administrators, and fans. 

Why did you decide to start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 created an opportunity to generate awareness among those who would be too busy otherwise to learn about the experience and value esports provides.

What’s your greatest struggle as a business owner right now?

Our biggest challenge has been the lack of separation between work and personal life. Working from home has the team thinking about the project 24/7. We are doing our best to maintain balance and avoid burnout.

What are your expectations for 2021 as an entrepreneur?

OPSE had great success in the inaugural season, awarding $24,000 in scholarships to esports athletes while working with 16 founding member schools. Our broadcasts were able to reach over 300,000 unique viewers with a peak of nearly 9,000 concurrent viewers during our playoffs. In our 2021-2022 season we aim to provide more opportunities to students and student athletes across the province! 

Where do you think entrepreneurs should invest their time and money?

The OPSE team focused on investing in assets and skill development that will last year over year. It’s easy to get distracted by what is currently going on and fall behind on your future needs.

What keeps you inspired and working every day? The hundreds of student athletes and hundreds of thousands of viewers inspire us to keep working hard every day. It is amazing to think we have built something for them from nothing. 

What tips do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs in 2021? Build creative solutions to create a good work/life balance.

How does Staples Canada help your business?

Staples Canada is our first stop for office supplies and we’ll be working with Solutionshop for our printing needs when we go back to in-person events.

Learn more about OPSE at https://opsesports.ca

Instagram: @teamopse

Check out Small Business & Entrepreneurship on our Working and Learning Blog to learn more about how Staples Canada is supporting Canadian entrepreneurs.

By Staples Canada

September 28, 2021

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