SFU's transcription ninjas


Having worked in the post-secondary sector for numerous years, when contemplating her next academic move, Candy decided to pursue her M.Ed. in Post Secondary Leadership through Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. The large draw was the program’s design to cater to working professionals, while also culminating in a large applied capstone project (versus a thesis) relevant to her work at the time in student orientation and transition.

Throughout her experience, Candy came to become familiar with the research process and made some great connections with the peers in her cohort as well as faculty members and staff within the faculty.

One of the greatest challenges she experienced was when it came time to transcribe her interviews; countless hours were involved and she eventually hired a contractor to painstakingly type out every verbatim word that her research subjects uttered during their interviews.

Candy Ho and Dean Kris Magnusson

It wasn’t until a year later, when John had also started his own M.Ed. experience that Candy realized there was a business idea that could be developed. When it came time for John and his classmates to transcribe their own interviews, Candy was called upon to help with the process. She knew the challenges they would experience but also what was needed in a good transcript.

Working with the team at SFU’s Venture Connection Program, Candy and John developed and launched Transcription Ninjas (transcriptionninjas.ca), a Canadian-based professional transcription service offering an accurate, timely, and ethical service.

They provided services to John’s classmates and have since expanded the enterprise to cater to additional Education graduate students and faculty members. Transcription Ninjas was actually named the ‘runner up’ business in SFU’s Venture Prize Competition in 2014.

John Grant at his M.Ed. convocation

The business was developed with a focus on philanthropy embedded within. At the end of each calendar year, profits realized from transcription work are donated to a new award at SFU that Candy and John established: The Graduate Community Education Impact Award, a $30,000 endowment that the couple have committed to fund, with matching contributions from the Faculty of Education and the Knowledge First Foundation.

The entire business idea and the development of the award was inspired through their joint experience within the M.Ed. program, and they’re proud that they’re both able to leave a legacy to enable future graduate students to also realize their research potential.

Candy Ho
M.Ed. 2012, EdD (current)

John Grant

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