Do you have an idea you're passionate about? Have you always wanted to be your own boss? If so, entrepreneurship might be for you! Entrepreneurship is the process of creating a business while taking on most of the financial risk (and enjoying most of the rewards!).
Is entrepreneurship relevant?
88.5% of Canadians work in small-to-medium size businesses, which are often started by entrepreneurs. There is a growing interest from women and younger Canadians to create new companies. So, what's so great about entrepreneurship?
- Be your own boss. This is a common response to why people choose to start their business. The independence offered is unbeatable.
- Follow your passion. Pursue a career in a field with an idea that inspires you.
- Create your own schedule. Break out of the 9-to-5 grind and create a schedule that works around your needs.
- Decide your future. You can choose the partnerships you pursue, the clients you work with, and the employees you hire.
These are just some of the benefits of entrepreneurship. You may be wondering, how do you get there? Let's get to that now!
Entrepreneurs of today
There is often a misconception that you have to study business to be an entrepreneur, but this isn't the case! There are endless paths.
Kayli Dale and Jacquie Hutchings launched A Friendlier Company after graduating from Waterloo's Chemical Engineering program in 2020. They became interested in sustainability after spending a term studying in Sweden. Their mission is to eliminate single-use packaging by making reusable food packaging accessible across Canada.
Jonathan Laurencin's desire to be his own boss combined with his appreciation for craft beer led him to establish the Elora Brewing Company. Waterloo's Recreation and Leisure Studies program gave him the skills to think critically, solve problems creatively, and ensure that the people in his business were communicating effectively.
Marc Lafleur is a Health Studies graduate who worked in door-to-door sales before starting truLOCAL, which connects Canadians directly to local farmers. Marc says that the most important lesson he learned in university is that "there's no playbook in life. When you see opportunities, you go after them." His program gave him the skills to promote healthy lifestyles and pave the way for new ways of doing business.
Rupi Kaur is a feminist artist who self-published her first book, Milk and Honey, during her time as a student. Rupi was an Honours Arts and Business student where she learned skill sets and frameworks for literary analysis that helped her write her book. She's gone on to become a New York Times bestselling author.
Apart from the skills that you'll learn through classes and co-op, Waterloo has business incubators that can help you.
- GreenHouse which provides programs, opportunities, and a community for you to make an impact around social or environmental change.
- Velocity is available to support you with research and resources to launch your start-up.
- Epp Peace Incubator supports new ventures using tech to create a more peaceful and just world.
Learn more about the resources Waterloo offers students to become entrepreneurs.
So, as you've probably realized by now there is no single path to become an entrepreneur. However, start with an idea you're passionate about, apply the skills you learn in class, and use the resources available to you to launch your idea!
Learn more about entrepreneurship at UWaterloo