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Newcomer leverages experiences and education to make a difference

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Aug 5, 2020

Category: UNB Saint John

Seun Richards

Newcomer, entrepreneur and researcher are just a few of the many hats that Agunbiade Seun Richards wears.

As a business owner and entrepreneurship PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, Seun found his home in the Port City and is dedicated to growing the city’s economy and population growth through entrepreneurship.

Inspired by his own experiences and education, Seun founded his company, Door2Door Deliveries, with the goal of providing Saint John residents with parcels delivered to their door.

When Seun’s family arrived in New Brunswick, they needed to buy furniture, clothing, food, and everything in between. This task was made more challenging since Seun’s family did not own a car, and the alternatives – such as taxis and delivery companies – were expensive.

Perhaps the biggest lightbulb moment for Seun happened while he was preparing his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST) application, while juggling two jobs: one with a local company and the other with SkipTheDishes.

“While working at SkipTheDishes, I realized residents of the community needed more than food delivery for daily essentials,” says Seun. “This spurred me to seek more business knowledge by attending the Economic Development Greater Saint John (EDGSJ) entrepreneurship program for newcomers.”

It was after completing the Business Immigrant Essentials program through EDGSJ when Seun officially registered his startup company, which would go on to address a need that currently had no solution.

Seun went on to join the 13-week Venture Validation Program at EDGSJ in the winter of 2020 where he was coached and mentored by UNB professors Dan Doiron and Greg Fleet.

Door2Door Deliveries began operations in February 2020 and was pivotal throughout the pandemic, proving the need and importance for such a service.

Under Dr. Rob Moir’s supervision, Seun’s thesis will focus on how entrepreneurship can enhance economic development, and in turn increase population growth. UNB’s IDST PhD program challenges the status quo by providing students with the opportunity to explore individualized, novel, and multifaceted research not typically found in existing graduate programs.

“The IDST PhD program at the University of New Brunswick is something very unique. It puts the researcher in the driver’s seat,” says Dr. Moir.

As an immigrant entrepreneur, Seun has the empirical knowledge of what is it like to start a business. He has also seen first-hand the impacts that entrepreneurship has on cities and retaining talent. He has found success in Saint John and is happy to raise his family here.

“Cities need entrepreneurial ecosystems. When you reach a certain success in a city, you want to stay.”

This small but mighty company is continuing to grow, as recently demonstrated by a subcontract with Amazon Prime and an internship position open for an MBA student.

“At Door2Door we are contributing to the ecosystem. Someone is driving right now as we speak.”

The IDST PhD program is continuing to grow and is now the largest doctorate program at the university. Having an ever-expanding roster of graduates who have gone on to be leaders in their chosen fields is a testament to UNB’s one-of-a-kind program that fosters diversity, flexibility and innovation.

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo credit: Ese Richards