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Charlottetown web designer wins Startup Zone pitch competition

Emily Coffin is starting a web development, design and digital marketing course in Charlottetown. The seven-week course is slated to begin Sept. 25.
Emily Coffin is starting a web development, design and digital marketing course in Charlottetown. The seven-week course is slated to begin Sept. 25.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Emily Coffin’s idea to start her own website training course was good enough to win Charlottetown’s Startup Zone’s inaugural pitch competition.  

But the course – codeAtlantic – is more than an idea.

Coffin, 30, is launching the seven-week web development, design and digital marketing course on Sept. 25 out of Startup Zone’s Queen Street location.

“You essentially design, build and launch a website in seven weeks,” she said.

Coffin – a freelance user experience (web) designer – has received about 15 applications so far to take the $650 course.

She said the part-time course differs from a post-secondary offering in that its contents will be specialized and current rather than based on a wide variety of subjects.

“I found that traditional tech education doesn’t always work. The tech industry moves really quickly, really fast pace. Things are always changing. It’s hard to stay on top of the trends, the latest software,” she said.

“The traditional education that is two to four years and has a long time to develop its curriculum kind of gets out of date pretty quickly.”

Coffin explained the course instructors are “industry professionals in the trenches working these jobs every day.”

“You’re learning practical, in-demand skills that people are using at modern tech companies. You’re learning all the latest modern technologies, all the latest platforms.”  Coffin said the course also supports people with resume writing or getting job interviews.

Coffin is running the course in partnership with Ladies Learning Code – a national organization that offers workshops on technology, coding and design. She explained that anyone having difficulty with the tuition can apply to Ladies Learning Code for a scholarship, she said.

Coffin is the organization’s P.E.I. chapter lead.

In terms of the Aug. 23 pitch competition, Coffin said it was helpful to see how other competitors structured and delivered their pitches to the judges.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Coffin said.

“Being a little bit out of my comfort zone is how I learn best. So, it was a little nerve-racking at the beginning. But I definitely got a lot out of the day.”

By finishing in first place, Coffin won return airfare and a ticket to attend the SingularityU Canada Summit in October in Toronto. She also won $1,000 of Downtown Charlottetown Inc. dollars. Chris Van Horn came in second in the pitch competition.

Doug Keefe, Startup Zone’s interim CEO, said Coffin has a great idea for a business.

“I come from the IT (Information Technology) world and tried to hire people locally. There’s just not enough local IT talent around for jobs. So, Emily, with codeAtlantic, is actually creating an opportunity to have people job-ready in that field.”

Coffin said applications are still being considered for the course. Anyone interested can visit for more information.

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