Student entrepreneurship in Internet marketing

Huzaifa Sial, a fourth year student at Wilfrid Laurier University, began his journey to success as a science whiz in high school. Though it was a strong suit for him, Sial realized that he couldn’t see himself doing it for the rest of his life and began to search for other options. After coming to Laurier to study business, Sial was soon intrigued by the field, thus sparking a dream to establish an enterprise of his own.

Sial’s inspiring venture is called Fundraid, which first became a reality a year ago. Fundraid is a social enterprise that requires consumers to set up an account that tracks their activity on Facebook or other sites online. The user’s online activity raises money for a charity of their choice by putting a portion of advertisement revenue from the user clicks towards that charity. Fundraid uses their users’ consumer profile and web interests to serve those interested in purchasing online advertisements. On average 50 per cent of profile revenue through ad interaction is donated to the user’s charity of choice and from ads specifically on Fundraid’s website, 80 per cent is donated.

“The most common thing that people do is just spend time online. You watch movies, read blogs and some studies show that we spend forty hours a week online,” Sial rationalized. “I thought, what if I use that model somehow to have everyone’s time online monetized into value. And that’s where it ended up”.

Sial credits the success of Fundraid to Communitech, an organization that helps and supports entrepreneurs and their ideas, as it helped him to not only further develop the concept of Fundraid but also enabled the recognition. Sial has a space at Communitech and is able to interact with others who are involved.

Although pulling a few all-nighters, Sial has accomplished a lot of work in regards to the launch of Fundraid, simply because Communitech provides him with sufficient resources.

While Fundraid has provided success, Sial admits that entrepreneurship is an emotional battle. Starting a business and trying to make it a reality is like standing in the middle of uncertainty, Sial has explained. Comparing it to “Bipolarity”, Sial has had many ups and down, where he feels like no one is listening to his idea and wonders if it is going anywhere. Remembering why he started the business gets him through the difficult times.

“Fundraid is something I am really passionate about, so I talked about it with my friends. Every now and then, they ask you about it or someone else asks you about it. When I explain the concept to them and they give me the reinforcement, and it makes me realize why I am doing this,” Sial answered.

When looking into the future of Fundraid, Sial sees Fundraid as being one of the most popular ways of advertising and revolutionizing the standard of how advertisements are done online. Sial also wants his establishment to move from just giving money to charities to allowing other social businesses to raise money for the charities. Sial hopes to remain a person who develops ideas and to create a powerful movement.

“I consider Fundraid as my beginning, this is my start. Hopefully, it will get me to a point that I want to go,” Sial concluded.

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