These Young Canadian Entrepreneurs Share Their Top Tips On How To ‘Make It’ As A Start-Up

So you have a great business idea – now what?

While that spark can help you get started, understanding how others built their businesses can give you the motivation and advice you need to persevere and thrive.

That’s why Desjardins recently hosted a panel discussion at The DMZ. North America’s largest financial cooperative and Toronto-based startup incubator have partnered with entrepreneurs from their Launchpad for Entrepreneurs program.

Launchpad is a free, on-demand, self-paced learning platform designed to help entrepreneurs succeed in the early stages of their journey. The program is packed with expert-curated content on hot business topics in English and French.

It’s basically a crash course in becoming your own boss.

Courtesy of Desjardins

Narcity attended this event at the DMZ, hosted by entrepreneur Vivian Kaye along with Desjardin’s CEO Guy Cormier. The six young entrepreneurs – many of them studying at university – shared the good and not so good sides of their trip. Here’s what they had to say.

Quotations have been shortened and edited for clarity.

Time management is key

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The roundtable included multitasking students who agreed that being able to manage their time is vital to the success of their business — and their own well-being.

Kiana Karimi-Shahri, founder of NoTreble (a platform she hopes will make learning music more accessible), shared that it’s important to be as organized as possible. She believes that having a clear definition of your priorities will ensure you can focus on them.

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Of course, it can be difficult to devote so much energy to your business if it doesn’t already support you financially. However, if you focus on your business priorities, you will make the most of your time.

Find a mentor

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Oresta Masnyi, the creator of ConcreteConnect, which focuses on the issue of material scarcity, believes mentoring is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Finding a mentor may be easy for university students, but recent graduates may not have the same opportunities or like-minded peers around them.

Not only does Launchpad help you learn from industry experts, it connects you with other entrepreneurs—who are just as passionate (and willing to learn from others) as you are.

The Desjardins website also has some advice on how to start your search for a perfect mentor.

Be a little risky

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Many of the participants were international students, so they agreed that the risk felt familiar. While it’s challenging to venture into the unknown, it’s also necessary (and exciting!) to grow personally and professionally.

Luke Lamaj, the founder of Dochere (an all-in-one video calling platform for doctors and patients), explained that as a young entrepreneur you need to prove you have what it takes to run a successful business – and you could being means taking a certain risk.

Lamaj said, “In the early stages, investors are betting on you — they’re not necessarily betting on the idea.”

So show yourself as your authentic self, but also show that you are willing to take risks for what you believe in.

Be aware without fear

Courtesy of Desjardins

We all know that fear can deter you from all endeavors. At a time when your financial future feels uncertain – hello inflation – it makes sense to be a little cautious.

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Karimi-Shahri suggests “not making decisions out of fear or being scared of the future. There are definitely things in the future that cannot be foreseen.”

A healthy corporate strategy combines economic awareness and a positive attitude.

Accept all feedback

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Business partners Jai Mansukhani and Pashan Sidhwa spent months programming their “Ed Tech” application Ace It, which offers a range of tools to help students learn. Once the app was ready, they published it — and took notes.

Not only her colleagues were excited about the launch, Sidhwa shared that the feedback helped the developers to keep improving the app.

However, when it’s not all good news, negative feedback can help you learn from your mistakes and be just as important to your journey as a compliment.

Work with people who are excited to work with you

Courtesy of Desjardins

Don’t sell yourself short by working with people who don’t see your true potential. While some companies stigmatize youth, many feel positive about embracing and supporting the next generation of leaders.

Roundtable participants agreed that if CEOs want to work with young people, they will do so because young minds bring a new business perspective – youngsters are aware of trends and the importance of social impact. What’s more; CEOs will be happy about that.

“I’m amazed at the young people of today,” Cormier said at the panel, noting how the industry is changing. “When you decide to start your business, there is more [of a] social aspect.” Today, creating and staying true to company values ​​is more important than ever – and young people are at the forefront of more ethical companies.

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Remember that cause is more important than profit

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Cormier offered some honest advice for success: Focus on what your business will do for society – more than its bottom line – because a healthy community is necessary for long-term business success.

Aspiring entrepreneurs probably know that identifying a gap in the market is a great way to grow a business, but focusing on social impact will energize you during tough times.

For example, Masnyi’s business derived from her love of community and nature. The company focuses on sustainability and at the same time addresses the social injustice of material scarcity.

A company with a strong cause makes the work you do even better.

During the engaging talk, Cormier revealed that paying attention to what other leaders have done can be a source of inspiration for people who are just starting out.

In the words of Vivian Kaye, a business and empowerment expert, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just make it shinier, sexier, blacker, whatever the case may be. Just make it your own.”

Courtesy of Desjardins

Participants showed a particular passion for financial institutions like Desjardins, which encourage entrepreneurship from an early age.

Ali Zee, architect, interior designer and co-founder of aêtava, explained that starting your own business is a wild ride. But what’s the best way to balance it all?

Zee says, “Hashtag power through.”

Launchpad might just be the fuel you need to get started.

To find out more about Desjardins visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To learn more about the Launchpad for Entrepreneurs program, visit the website.

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