Entrepreneurs Exchange offers to help students take a closer look at startups

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Photo by Jackie Vang

Startup Laurier, Wilfrid Laurier University’s entrepreneurship club on the Waterloo campus, held its eighth annual Entrepreneur Exchange last week on Friday, Feb. 1 at the Vidyard in Kitchener.

The event, an evening of networking, workshops and speakers, provided all Laurier students, as well as students from the University of Waterloo, with the opportunity to get acquainted with the career option of entrepreneurship, engage with professionals and develop some essential business skills.

“What we look to do is inspire students … and give them any resources or support that they may need to be able to take that next step and actually take on their entrepreneurial journey,” said Lauren DeSouza, co-president of the Lazaridis Students’ Society club Startup Laurier.

“[W]e bring together all the main resources from the [Kitchener-Waterloo] community in one night.”

The event featured a keynote panel, including presentations from Scott Douglas Clary, member of Forbes’ Business Development Council and head of marketing and business development at Bedrock Affect, Harp Gahunia, vice-president of venture studio operations at TribalScale and Laurier alumni Mallory McKewen, president and founder of BridesMade.

“In the past, they’ve been $20 and the reason we lowered it this year was because … our ultimate goal should be providing value to the students that are coming out,” Binks-Collier said.

“We were originally going for a larger keynote, but then as we got closer to the event, what started making more sense to us was that a big keynote can be extremely valuable, but having a person from each stage of the start-up cycle was most important,” said Charles Binks-Collier, Startup Laurier co-president.

Workshops that ran at the event included “The Perfect Discovery Call,” “Making the Leap from Student to Entrepreneur” and “Minimum Viable Product,” which were run by local business professionals eager to share their knowledge and skills with students.

“The turnout was really great,” Binks-Collier  said. “We definitely had [at least] one-hundred ticket sales and that included students from [a variety of faculties] … What we sort of realized is that if you look at any typical start-up it’s not just business students, so we really wanted to make sure we had that diversity there.”

Tickets for the event were sold for $10 to Laurier and University of Waterloo students — a discounted price from previous years.

“In the past, they’ve been $20 and the reason we lowered it this year was because … our ultimate goal should be providing value to the students that are coming out,” Binks-Collier said.

“If, not necessarily, all the prices could be justified, in terms of using the extra money to get a lot of food and such, we realized we could do it for $10 and provide students with the value of [the event] for as cheap as possible.”

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