Students and New Grads Look to have an Impact

So last week was global entrepreneurship week, a celebration of entrepreneurs and to cap of a week of events the Impact Organization held their National Conference. The goal of Impact as a non profit was to create the next generation of entrepreneurs and get them to realize their potential. They are lead by students and for students. Throughout 2 days high school students, university students and new graduates got together to learn about taking those ideas and making them real by starting a business.

Andy Nulman the President and CEO of Airborne Mobile talked about how to be an entrepreneur. He found that planning was overrated and the ability to react underrated. While planning is important what you create will rarely look like what you expect when all is said and done. He said that the most important person in entrepreneurship was Nostradamus because he could look into the future and as an entrepreneur that is what you had to do, know where you want to go and where do you want it to end.

The next speaker was Jeff Adams an Olympian, Paralympian and World Champion and what he had to say was that we are surrounded by differences but when you take a step back those differences allow you to grow. As an athlete he knows how to remain consistent in his personal branding both in a win and a defeat. This is important when in the light but more important when in the darkness. Jeff said that moments of excellence don’t have to happen on the field or in the ring but can happen every day and are just as important.

Austin Hill a workshop speaker at Impact Co-founder of Akoha is what we call a serial entrepreneur. He was an entrepreneur before he could drive. His view was that an entrepreneur’s role was to observe the horizons of change and seek ways to solve problems. He went to talk about the importance of failure how the view of failure in Canada has made if challenging for individuals to develop that entrepreneurial spirit.

The days of working at one place for your entire career is long gone and you are going to change your careers several times over the course of your lifetime. Justin Trudeau said to an audience that included CEO’s and high school students that don’t let anyone tell you your tomorrow’s leaders because you are leaders today.

They have taken the first steps on the journey to help lead Canada forward and make sure that while Canada has not been known for its entrepreneurial spirit that future generations will be starting here, starting now.

Ali Asaria a former developer at RIM whose previous claim to fame was developing the Brick breaker game I am sure everyone who has ever has a Blackberry knows very well. He started well.ca a company that sells products found in drug stores online. The most important thing I got from him was create a culture where you work that makes people want to come, get employees involved by being transparent and it is the little things like putting a hand written note in every box that they ship that make your brand your customer will connect to.

Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery wants to Kill Shakespeare by taking the characters from all of Shakespeare’s plays and having them live in the real world. The audience got the chance to see a sneak peak of the first issue of Kill Shakespeare that will be published by IDW in April 2010 as a 12 issue series. They took Joseph Campbell’s famous work The Hero with a Thousand Faces that went in-depth on stories and related the hero’s journey in a similar fashion the entrepreneur’s journey. They also used the audience as a sounding board for to get young people interested in Shakespeare.

Jordan Banks helped launch eBay Canada as Managing Director and later became the CEO of JumpTV. Currently he is a managing partner at Thunder Road Capital a firm that provides investment and advisory services to tech companies in their early stages. So he said that most youth see the journey we go through in our careers as a straight line. When in reality it is not linear and it ebbs and flows, has its ups and downs, it is about reacting to change and opportunity. Out of all the leaders he has met they had these characteristics they were adventurous, curious and problem solvers.

He takes us through the journey he went through from wanting to go be one thing to becoming a lawyer to working with the NHLPA then helping to start up eBay Canada and so on. Jordan said that “business is a people discipline that happens to involve money, not a money discipline that happens to involve people.  

Like several others he says that you are not trying if you are not failing He said that people talk about having a work life balance but he takes that further and says to have a good work life rhythm. That there will be times you have to work 100 hours a week and other times when you can take a long weekend because the world of business has no balance and is always in flux.

He talked about much more than I can get through in 2 or 3 paragraphs but out of all the keynotes he was able to tap into what these entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs were thinking about and gave everyone a reason to look ahead to the next zig or zag that they will come across on the journey.

Saif Altimimi a delegate at Impact said it was a “great networking experience with a wide variety of sponsors in different industries.” Impact brought together some of the best young people from across the country in a culminating in a celebration of entrepreneurship for global entrepreneurship week. This was a chance to get inspired, to learn, network and meet your next client or business partner.

This was a year of many firsts, they announced upcoming programs like Impact Ventures and their new President for 2010 Alex Shipillo the first President for Impact from BC and held the first ever Impact Pitch Competition. Congrats to the amazing team, the stellar line up of speakers and what the future holds for Impact and for all those at the conference who take the message to heart.