The importance of finding good people: young entrepreneurs weigh in

HandshakeFor this post, I wrote to two university students and asked them to tell me which resources were most useful to them in their development as young entrepreneurs.
Their uncategorical answer: find the people who can guide and support you.
Béatrice Val is a entrepreneurship student at HEC Montréal; she is currently working on an initiative with her partner to start their own bar, Shot Gun Bar.

Scott Carr is a finance and entrepreneurship student at a Concordia and the president of Enactus Concordia. His goal as president of the student organization is to “create an accessible database of resources for student & recent graduate entrepreneurs™”, he wrote. “As of now, we have speakers reserved for almost all our events that will cover most of the main topics key to surviving in a new business. These include: legalities of entrepreneurship, building a business plan, using excel to create financial projections, marketing for start-ups; and a few more. There are even more things available to students through Enactus Concordia, and we are doing our best to really increase the program’s reach and offering as much as possible”, he continued.

Both Val and Carr said the support of people around them as important contributors to their work. “The biggest resource I have as an aspiring entrepreneur is the people around me. I have had some really influential professors help me to get where I am today,” Carr explained, including his faculty advisor Ronald J. Abraira, who gave him “a firm understanding of entrepreneurs and the thought process behind a business plan”, and professor Peter Vogopoulos, who helped him understand the practical side of being an entrepreneur. Both his father and his grandfather are entrepreneurs, he added. “Whenever I feel like I’m in over my head, I know I always have someone around to offer some words of wisdom.”

Each student in Val’s program is paired with a tutor to work with for the year. Her tutor is Pierre Morin, the owner of Le Glacier Bilboquet. “It is so much fun to be able to talk about all my different problems, how to progress, where to find financing, where to meet the right people… he has a lot of advice for both my project and my life in general!” she wrote to me in French.

The HEC also provides many bursaries for students, she explained: “Ten or 11 different bursaries exist solely for (the 20 or so) entrepreneurship students… so the chances of receiving one are pretty high!”

What’s more, at the end of the semester, Val and her business partner will present their project to a professional jury. This jury, Val wrote, is composed of entrepreneurs who play the role of investors.  During the two presentation days. the judges will distribute prizes worth $500 a day. “Once more, it is an opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and connect directly with them. Some years it happens that these people are interested in investing in the project!”

As a young entrepreneur, who or what helped you find your footing?

Jacqueline Di Bartolomeo is a Concordia student and freelance writer. She tweets @jacquelinedib.


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