Are You Prepared?

On October 16th, in the UTSC Library Makerspace (a free resource for staff, students, and faculty at the school), The Hub at UTSC held a start-up preparation event as part of its series of events leading up to the Pitch Competition!

Hub mentor, Luki Danu discussed different types of entrepreneurs (intrapreneur, side-preneur, freelancers), emphasizing that you should avoid becoming a “want-repreneur” – someone with a great idea that never takes action to make the dream happen. Luki gave tips on how to find a niche and make your product/service stand out from the competition. He really focused on the cultivation and refinement of entrepreneurial ideas and how to form those ideas into a concise business pitch.

The most important of these tips is that feedback is essential, so make sure you run it by as many people as possible! And don’t forget that mentors and peers at The Hub more than happy to listen to your ideas and give feedback on anything pertaining to your entrepreneurial ambitions!

Gray Graffam, The Hub’s Director, added that success is not an objective concept, as everyone has their own goals, and success is just a matter of reaching them. Gray also shared a great method for narrowing down a target market by imagining a person, giving them both physical and personal traits, and then finding out how many people like that are actually out there to buy your service – a research technique known as Persona Research.

A huge and somewhat tricky part of all this is research, fortunately the UofT Library is here to help. Sarah Shuja, the UTSC Entrepreneurial Resources Librarian, gave a brief explanation of what the library offers, including a seminar series which teaches how to access and evaluate industry reports, databases, and more, while adding to your co-curricular record.

Once again, food was provided and there was an excellent opportunity for mingling and networking! There was such a wide range of people and teams to collaborate with. Ideas ranged from the most useful and fashionable backpack to affordable cannabis oil to music therapy and anything in between!

Our next event is on Tuesday, October 30rd, and will include a makerspace orientation required to utilise the facilities! Be sure to check out our upcoming events and don’t forget to submit the required materials by November 1st to part-take in the main event, the Pitch Competition on November 10th!

                        — story by Amanda Taylor, Social Media Specialist, The Hub

Here’s What You Might Have Missed at Our Latest Workshop!

On Thursday, October 4th, The Hub at UTSC held an event all about social entrepreneurship. The event started off with the director of The Hub, Professor Gray Graffam, giving a presentation on what exactly a social entrepreneur does, followed by a quick Q and A with social entrepreneur and 1st year UTSC student, Sam Demma.

Sam became a social entrepreneur because he has a passion for keeping the environment healthy and inspiring others to make a change in the world. He is a co-founder of Pickwaste, a company that hosts events where people gather to make a difference by picking up waste in Pickering and Scarborough.

Shortly after the learning what it means to be a social entrepreneur, attendees were given a chance to come up with ideas of their own. They were encouraged to form groups based on a shared passion (such as healthcare) and given a large whiteboard to brainstorm ideas of their own. The groups then worked together, bouncing ideas off each other, to narrow down their more generalized topic to a specific concept for a potential business.
To help the groups come up with ideas, Business Advisor at The Hub, Donovan Dill gave a short explanation of some strategies for social enterprise. One participant commented that he enjoyed the challenge of coming up with solutions to new problems.

A favourite part of the event for multiple students was when we all took a short break for dinner. Not only was the food delicious (and free), but the opportunity for networking was really fun! Current members of The Hub were there to answer questions and get to know, potential members were sharing ideas with each other, and, of course, Gray and Donovan were there as well to get to know more about The Hub and the many opportunities it offers. At any given time during the meal, everyone was engaged in some kind of conversation, ranging from personal conversations about school to entrepreneurial ideas and anything in between!

If any of this speaks to you, be sure to sign up for our upcoming pitch contest for a chance to receive up to $7, 000 in seed money for your start-up, or check out our other amazing, FREE events at The Hub (click here!)

                        — story by Amanda Taylor, Social Media Specialist, The Hub

What Would You Do If This Were Your House?

That was the question foremost on Aver Bayon-on’s mind after Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji, and also laid devastation to all of his year’s work in helping local Fiji communities. Aver’s answer? To give back by building a startup called Workbox, and fundraise through gofundme!

Come to The Host Show to meet with UTSC grad Aver Bayon-on and learn about social entrepreneurship.
The Host Show
The Hub
July 19, 2018
6:00 to 9:30 pm
Food and refreshment provided
* There is also a second speaker
Free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/host-show-tickets-47523983514

Artist Sylvia Chan, July 19

Sylvia Chan will be hosted by The Hub at the Host Show, where she speaks about her company, Sylvia Chan Art and the importance of entrepreneurship to sustain the arts. Sylvia is an Award Winning Artist and Ontario Certified Teacher who creates opportunities for people to get in touch with their inner ‘artist’ and inspires youth to make a difference in the community.

Come to The Hub’s Host Show to learn how UTSC grad Sylvia Chan got started and where she is taking her art next.

The Host Show
The Hub
July 19, 2018
6:00 to 9:30 pm
Food and refreshment provided
* There is also a second speaker
Free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/host-show-tickets-47523983514

QwikCommerce

QwikCommerce

Sebastian Alvarado and Varun Sharma – two software engineering students at UTSC – formed QwikCommerce in 2017. QwikCommerce is a tech platform designed to evolve and simplify the international trading process between South American suppliers and North American merchants. The idea for this company was generated when Varun and Sebastian compared notes on supply and demand issues in South America; Sebastian offered considerable insight from his business and family connections in Ecuador and Colombia. Together, they brainstormed QwikCommerce as a business that leverages their insight, along with their profound capabilities in ecommerce and software development.

Varun and Sebastian have worked hard for the past couple of months to maintain the success of their start-up. One of their early accomplishments as owners of QwikCommerce was earning a space in The Hub in 2017 with seed funding of $7,000. This has provided them with the exceptional opportunity of building their business, as well as a chance to further develop their essential core entrepreneurial skills.

Currently, as an ambassador for more than 20 South American suppliers, Varun and Sebastian are focused on building strong business relationships interested in this import/export sector. Their goal is to expand QwikCommerce to assist 50 suppliers overseas and link them with North American merchants.

QwikCommerce provides merchants with on-site inspections in South America to ensure everything is on track, with fast shipment times. It also provides suppliers with an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to manage resources and enhance their online presence.

The Hub has assisted Varun and Sebastian in several ways to establish the success of their start-up. Their company has received funding, workspace, and continuous support through mentorship and coaching sessions. As Varun and Sebastian expand their business, The Hub will continue to provide them with the tools and resources to develop their business further.

Article by Praveena Vivegananthan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/QwikCommerce/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/QwikCommerce/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/qwikcommerce

Eastbound Comedy Theatre

In 2017, Tiegh Fitzgerald and Jazmine Scott formed Eastbound Comedy Theatre – a company that specializes in improvisational comedy. Improvisational (improv) comedy is a form of unscripted theatre where performers deliver new and spontaneous content every time. After years of experience in improv, Tiegh and Jazmine decided it was time to combine their interests together to build a creative business.

Eastbound Comedy’s main purpose is to put on improv performances in the Eastern GTA (Scarborough and Durham region). Their dream is to someday have their own venue – a theatre where live performances can be presented, along with food and refreshment, similar to a Yuk Yuk’s or Second City.

Aside from their core objective as performers, Tiegh and Jazmine intend to offer workshops and training sessions at schools, businesses, and private events to teach people the essential skills of improv such as cooperation, quick thinking, creative problem solving, confidence and public speaking.

Tiegh and Jazmine’s initiative has been a successful, thus far. Their hard work and resilience throughout the years have been acknowledged through multiple accomplishments. In 2017, Eastbound Comedy was awarded a coveted placement in The Hub at U of T Scarborough – along with $7,000 of seed funding made available by the Ontario Centres of Excellence and U of T’s Provost’s Office. They have also performed at UofT’s Comedy Festival, taught improv at Seen X Scene Entertainment, and headlined at Open Mic Night hosted by UTSC’s Drama Society.

Currently, Tiegh and Jazmine are working on developing Eastbound Comedy’s online presence through its website and social media. They have their hearts set on creating their own space as the go-to place for comedy in the Eastern GTA.

The Hub has been a great source of support for Eastbound Comedy. From helping create a business plan to one-on-one mentorship sessions, the staff at The Hub have provided Tiegh and Jazmine with the required resources to help them succeed in forming their business. The Hub continues to assist Tiegh and Jazmine to further develop their business and accomplish their long-term goals.

We look forward to seeing what’s in store for Eastbound Comedy in the near future.

Instagram: @eastboundcomedytheatre

Article by Praveena Vivegananthan