True or False: Entrepreneurship Edition

Common Misconceptions About Entrepreneurship… Is Entrepreneurship What You Really Think It Is?

There is always going to be a societal perception surrounding any topic because of information society has instilled in us as the “norm” and what “usually occurs”. Entrepreneurship is one of these topics. There are certain elements that coincidentally occur with most situations, but that does not limit it to every single occurrence. Individuals with no knowledge or experience with entrepreneurship may tend to perceive it in a way that is learned from pop culture, media, or experiences in their daily lives… but that isn’t all it is.

Although the majority of people may perceive entrepreneurship a certain way, these common misconceptions can be dissected and explained below:

1. Entrepreneurs are born, not made

Image Source:  Giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Some people tend to believe that individuals are born as entrepreneurs, which means that they cannot be “made” or “developed”. It may seem as if individuals are born to follow a certain path because of their natural talents and abilities. However, talents and abilities can be practiced and built. It is definitely nurture rather than nature because entrepreneurs can be created, honed, and trained simply through passion and determination. If you are passionate and have a plausible idea, you can become an entrepreneur as long as you are not a quitter and are determined to see your idea through to the end.

You don’t necessarily have to be a “born leader” to be an entrepreneur or be born a genius at running a business. You can learn these skills through lessons or real-life experiences. If you are willing to learn and put in the time and effort, you can definitely succeed. Regardless of whether you are naturally born with talents, any skill needs to be consistently practiced. It’s possible to acquire skills and abilities to become a successful entrepreneur no matter if you were “born talented” or not. Anyone can become an entrepreneur – you just have to be passionate and dedicated to your idea or what you want to achieve.

2. Entrepreneurs are gamblers

Image Source:  Giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Creating any business on your own is risky which is why people have a perception that entrepreneurs are “gamblers”. It is a common belief that the more you risk, the higher the return/reward you can get. However, entrepreneurs only take up risky challenges if they believe the odds are in their favour and that they have a chance to gain the reward because they tend to seek the best risk/reward action. All risks need to be carefully calculated and thought out. This is because all risks can put the business’s reputation, time and investment at stake. You do not want to take a risk purely on your belief – lots of research needs to be done beforehand. Most businesses are risky, but with thorough thinking and planning, one can take calculated risks and not lose everything, even if the business may not fully succeed.

3. Entrepreneurs just want to make a lot of money

Image Source:  Giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Contrary to popular belief, money is not the only means in which success can be measured, and financial gain is not the only factor that motivates entrepreneurs. There are various factors that can motivate and inspire someone to become an entrepreneur such as chasing a dream, a desire to have a flexible schedule, being your own boss, having freedom, and making a change in the world. Money is definitely a motivator, but that doesn’t mean that it was what drove them to start the business. People usually create businesses because of their true passion for it and this is why they have the patience and effort to grow the business.

4. You have to be young to be an entrepreneur

Image Source:  Giphy

Image Source: Giphy

People tend to have this idea that an individual should become an entrepreneur at x age to x age because below that bracket would be too young or above that bracket would be too old. Yet they don’t realize that age should not be a limitation for entrepreneurship; in the end it’s simply a number depicting how old you are which shouldn’t hold back what you choose to do at whatever point in your life.

As we are currently in the digital age, businesses can be easily started wherever and whenever through e-commerce. With the technological advancement today, no matter where you are and how old you are; you can start a business.

5. All entrepreneurs have a degree in business

Image Source:  Giphy

Image Source: Giphy

Obtaining a degree in business may help you yield a slight advantage, but it isn’t a necessary component to become an entrepreneur. So many notable and successful entrepreneurs didn’t actually start out with a degree in business – let alone finish school for that matter. With hard work and determination, anyone can be a successful entrepreneur. You just have to WANT to learn and be willing to learn constantly – whether it’s marketing or another topic related to your business such as food.

Individuals have the ability to come up with an idea and create something regardless of the degree they have – you can even have no degree. People also learn as they go, so skills that you may not have now that you may need in the future can be learned through taking lessons, self-teaching or through real-world experiences. Entrepreneurs come from all different backgrounds; the diversity is what makes entrepreneurship so interesting because you use what you know to your advantage and constantly build your skills as you go.

There is not one true path to success with regards to entrepreneurship. You can be a college dropout and become a very successful entrepreneur. It is all about how innovative you are, how passionate you are, and how much you want to succeed.

Even in Enactus Ryerson, not all of the project managers are pursuing a degree in business – they come from all different programs across campus.

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Blog post by:

Jenny Bang

 


5 Pieces of Advice from Successful Entrepreneurship Students

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Thinking about majoring in Entrepreneurship? The Entrepreneurship major (ENT) is one of Ryerson’s newest and most exciting majors. With classes like Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Strategy, and Identifying Opportunities, students are not only taught entrepreneurship strategies but also how to begin to think and solve problems like an entrepreneur. Much of your classes will focus on experiential, or project-based learning. Concepts such as design thinking, and out-of-the-box problem solving are enforced with hands-on projects and venture creation.

If this sounds interesting to you, you might want to consider majoring or minoring in ENT! To help incoming ENT majors prepare, we reached out to ENT majors at Ryerson and asked them for advice they would give to incoming students.

1.     Stay Involved!

Like all other majors, you can only take full advantage of the skills and concepts you learn, once you put them to use! School programs and groups are a great way to do this. In the Entrepreneurship major, it can be especially beneficial to attend workshops to learn how to expand on, and apply concepts learned in class in a social setting. Networking events are also a great way to meet more individuals in your major and those interested in entrepreneurship. This can broden your network, and allow you to ask upper-years questions. The Ryerson Entrepreneurship Association (REA) hosts lots of ENT-centered events throughout the year; these can be a great place to start.


2.     Take Advantage of Zone Learning

Image Source:    WhyRyerson   .

Image Source: WhyRyerson.

Ryerson Students have access to 10 different start-up incubation zones, each for different industries. This means bringing your ideas to life has never been easier. Enhance your student experience by taking advantage of startup workshops and employment opportunities hosted by the zones. You can even apply for a membership if you have a business idea, but don’t know where to start. These memberships offer mentorship, funding, resources and connections to get your startup or experimental project off the ground. Joining a zone can give you real life experience as an entrepreneur.

3.     Discover Your Purpose and Nurture Your Passion

In order to become a successful entrepreneur, it’s no secret that you need drive and a passion to make change. To enhance your success in this field you must dig deep and find out what type of change you want to make. Are you passionate about a social change you want to see in your environment? Or maybe you have an idea that you know will change the world for the better? Figuring out what drives you can motivate you toward success and give you a sense of your goals as an entrepreneur. Once you choose something that inspires you, the possibilities are endless!

4.     Set Goals and Work Towards Them

Being an entrepreneur isn’t simply working in a specific industry, but being an industry trailblazer with your own unique ideas. Think about where you want to go once you graduate, or what types of businesses you might want to start. Think about the skills you will need to make your goals a reality and actively work towards them. Once you focus your studies using a specific business or product idea, you are able to focus your learning and motivate yourself more!

5.     Delete Misconceptions and Be Ready for the Realities of Entrepreneurship

Many people think the life of an entrepreneur is glamorous, and some choose the profession only because it seems trendy, or because they don’t want to work for others. It’s important to understand the life of an entrepreneur isn’t just those things. Just because many of your classes won’t have exams, doesn’t mean the program isn’t serious. Prepare yourself for a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, and thinking on your feet. Just like any other profession, success will come your way so long as you’re willing to work hard, and develop connections and instincts. Much of the learning you do in class is experiential, so be ready for lots of hands-on learning, and for both positive experience and mistakes.


Overall, pursuing an Entrepreneurship major is a unique and a rewarding experience. We hope these tips help you decide if the major is for you, and prepare you for what may come next.

Thank you to the following Ryerson Entrepreneur students, for providing insights on their program experience for this article: Aniel Molina, Rand Abu Ras, Marie Rocha.

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Blog post by:

Zoe Papakonstantino

 

Enactus Ryerson at the Enactus World Cup

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Enactus Ryerson attended the Enactus World Cup at the end of this past year and we have our VP of Projects, Dilpreet giving you the inside scoop. The following blog post is a guest blog written by Dilpreet Matharoo.


The Enactus World cup showcases the world’s brightest leaders who are helping create change in communities in need around the world, through entrepreneurship. This past October I got to travel to San Jose California with a team of six to experience the Enactus World Cup. There were 35 countries from around the world who came together to compete on the impact that they created over the past year. Every year each branch of Enactus is given the chance to compete in order establish a sense of competition that can be used to drive more success in Enactus projects, and more social change as a whole. While on the trip, I met people from Germany, Tunisia, South Korea, and India, there was a total of over 3500 people all from different backgrounds, who at a core, had very similar beliefs as me. It was refreshing for me to be able to meet new people and feel that I'm talking to old friends. I don't think I’ve ever experienced that elsewhere.

Enactus Ryerson at the Airport heading to San Jose.

Enactus Ryerson at the Airport heading to San Jose.

Even though Enactus Ryerson wasn’t competing in the World Cup, I am glad that I was able to compete at the regional and national levels in Canada which led to me spectating in the World Cup. We had the opportunity to cheer on Team Canada which was lead by Enactus Lambton College, who awed the crowd with their outstanding impact in Zambia and won the 2018 Enactus World Cup. After being crowned the winner, the Canadian delegates captured the whole auditorium while singing our national anthem in unison, which was an experience that gave me goosebumps.

One thing that will always stick with me is the fact that I can always do more, to do better. Meaning that I should be doing everything in my power, to help others who may not have the ability to do so. Lambton College, the team who was representing Canada, has been able to completely transform Zambian farmers over the past 6 years by introducing them to new farming technologies and creating more local businesses through entrepreneurship. They were able to take the lower class, and create a new middle class through engaging with the community, helping them in a way that empowered them to help themselves. Ever since we came back from the trip, I feel more ready to actually start executing ideas that I’ve had, and I am even more eager to continue to make change.

Project Sacred Valley: Education and Entrepreneurship in Peru

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To address quality education and poverty with social entrepreneurship, Enactus Ryerson has created Project Sacred Valley. It has been a successful project, even winning the title of National Youth Empowerment at Enactus competition. As it is currently in the process of graduating, we decided to talk to Project Manager Aneesa Ramkay to find out more about Project Sacred Valley’s journey thus far along with her experience at Enactus’ competition.

Aneesa Ramkay is a fourth year Global Management Studies student at Ryerson University. This is her second year with Enactus Ryerson as a Project Manager for Project Sacred Valley.

What is Project Sacred Valley?

“Project Sacred Valley is a youth empowerment project. It’s about bringing education, but more importantly, choices to the youth in the Sacred Valley within Peru. Their lifestyle is obviously very different from ours. As well, their upbringing, their values, and their traditions [are different]. So what we wanted to do was take that in and encompass it, and create a solution that would allow them to still hold onto their values while also pursuing things that would bring them more entrepreneurial skills. Through that, we brought them education, certain things like accounting, entrepreneurship, human resources, things that are applicable to the markets that are around them. They have two choices: they can [either] go work in a different community or they can go work within the mines. What we wanted to do was give them more options. The second thing is empowering the youth to pursue education outside of grade 12. It starts really dense in the first couple of grades - there’s probably about 25 students in each class and as you go up to the high school grades between 9 and 11, it trickles off to almost about three. So we wanted to retain more of these youth through our program and through an integrated learning program including through a garden as well.”

What has been the most rewarding part of being a Project Manager for Project Sacred Valley?

“The most rewarding part was actually going to Peru and putting everything we’ve worked [on] into action. There’s action going on throughout the entire year, but [we’re] behind the scenes; [we] don’t get to see it. We got to meet the children and actually see their faces and the programs that we created and implemented. That was the most rewarding part, as we got to see it all come together, there is no words for it. It was absolutely amazing.”

What do you think is a common misconception about entrepreneurship and why?

“A common misconception is that you have to have a business idea. You don’t have to have a business idea to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is [about] having the confidence, it’s having the grit, it’s having the wear with all, to pursue something that either you’re passionate about or just an idea that you think could make a difference in the world. It doesn’t have to be a new business idea. It can be anything. It’s cool to see that we’re doing social entrepreneurship, which is on the flip side of doing the business because we’re making changes in people's lives by being these consultants, by being these partners, that are helping them create a different life, choose a different path, and pave a new way for their future generations.”

Have you always been interested in project management?

“I actually have. Prior to joining [Enactus] as a Project Manager, I got to go to the Virgin Islands in the summer through Ryerson, through a program, and they asked me to make a five year business plan of where I see myself. That can be kinda tough if you haven’t thought about it. If you’ve thought about it - that’s awesome, but to actually put it on paper can be challenging. I kinda sat down and realized that project management is something that I am really interested in because I have skills that are applicable to bringing resources together and then making them into an end result. So I started to get really interested in it and when I saw that there was a Project Manager opening for Enactus, I was so excited about that; because I thought ‘hey that is a great opportunity to kinda dip my toes in something that I’ve always been really interested in, and to join a student group that I have really been interested in.’ So, it was a great kinda mix between the two, and I was really luck to get this position.”

What are some of your goals for PSV?

“Our goals by the end of the year are to continue to provide consulting services to our on ground friends in Peru. What they’re looking for right now is, we’ve bought a second piece of land with them to create organic quinoa. More importantly, they wanted to create a protein bar production facility. We had to wait three years for it to become certified organic and now it is, which is awesome. Yay! So now they're looking at ways that they can implement it into the protein bar production facility. We did a lot of research on this last year. And now, i’m helping them to get to where they need to be in terms of setting up the initial things. And that’s our goal by the end of the year - to help them get to the point where they’re able to actually start implementing the business plan.”

What is Enactus competition and how would you describe your competition experience?

“Enactus competition is a competition against all the schools in Canada, and then hopefully worldwide. You get to present on the projects that are currently being implemented within your branch. You get to choose between different roles [when joining]. I personally chose the presenter role. What you’re doing is you’re making either a five minute or a 17 minute presentation to showcase your accomplishments and to even showcase your hardships if you went through it. It’s just to show how you’ve made a difference in the world within the year; which is the coolest part because it’s this year. The numbers you end up seeing, the impact you end up seeing, is absolutely phenomenal.

My personal experience was great. We won Nation Youth Empowerment. So, now Project Sacred Valley is the number one youth empowerment project in Canada currently; which is super cool to say.”

How do you think being a project manager helped you grow as a person?

As a Project Manager, it’s been an interesting journey to juggle something that is not school or work related on the side. So right now, I’m working and I’m going to school full-time but I also have this project on the side as well. It’s nice to have something that you’re really, really passionate about, that you chose to do. When I am planning my time [PSV] it’s something that I am always really excited [for], whenever I have a meeting, or whenever I have work to do for the project because I know that whatever we put into it, we get back; in terms of effort and seeing the difference you’re making in other people’s lives. That’s invaluable I believe.”


Want to find out more about Enactus Ryerson and Project Sacred Valley?

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Interview by:

Emma Young-Buchalter

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Edited by:

Jenny Bang

 
 

Feedback: a Wallet-Friendly Way to Bring Meals to Those in Need

An interview with Feedback’s founder

An interview with Feedback’s founder

For most of us, the idea of starting a business, making a plan or even sharing an idea, can seem daunting or frightening. So many of us have great ideas, but for whatever reason, are hesitant to take the plunge and share them with the world. At Enactus, we value the courage to embrace this entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the context of helping those in need. And so we sat down with Josh Walters, founder of food purchase app Feedback, who told us his best advice to anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur is to “just do it”.

As Josh talked about growing his company, and his journey as an entrepreneur, the message that the world belongs to those who reach for it rang clear. To an extent, the decision to begin is just that simple. And it seems to have worked pretty well for him; his app is now transforming the way the restaurant industry interacts with customers, while feeding the Toronto community, one meal at a time.


How was the idea for feedback born?

“I went for a late night pizza and as I was leaving the owner was closing up shop for the night, and he offered me all the pizza he had left for a fraction of the price. It got me thinking [about how] restaurants experience these times of the day where there are no customers and they’re wasting food, and price is a great way to drive traffic at certain times. That’s when I came up with the idea for an app that consolidated all the restaurants that had pre-prepared food, or quiet hours of the day and they could upload these time specific promotions to reduce waste and get customers when they’d otherwise be empty.”


So, how does the app work?

“You log into the app and scroll through a list of restaurants; they’re all offering food [between] 20% to 70% off depending on what time of day. You can go directly into the restaurant through the app, look at their menu, place your order, and then you go to the restaurant during those hours, show your mobile receipt, and pick up the food.”

And how exactly does each order from the app help to reduce food waste?

“We started with just end of day deals at restaurants, and this was only pre-prepared food, sitting in a window, whether it was pizza, like my experience, or salads or sandwiches, even juices, sushi is a great example, and they were gonna throw it out. We started with that since it was most obvious, but we realized pretty quickly that restaurants actually throw out waste throughout the entire day. They prep for the lunch rush, and then when the lunch rush is over, they throw it out. And so our restaurant owners actually came to us, with this platform where they could offer time specific deals and said ‘hey can we also do this at 2:30 when no one is eating at our restaurant?’ We understood then the problem wasn’t just this leftover food at the end of the day, it was really the demand and peaks and valleys in demand at the restaurant. If you operate a restaurant you have like a huge lunch rush, and a big dinner rush, and not necessarily much traffic in between. And all that in between is what causes the waste and leftover food at the end of the day. So, in using price in sort of a dynamic sense instead of in a one-price fits all model, you can really control when customers show up, and ensure that you don’t have food to throw out at the end of the day.”


I’ve read that a portion from every purchase goes toward helping bring meals to those in need, how does that work? Do you partner with any other charities or companies to make this happen?

“When you start to deal with the issue of food waste it’s hard not to think of the issue of food security, and how many people don’t have enough food, especially when you see all this great food being thrown out at the end of the day. So we looked around Toronto for someone either to pick it up and donate it, or whatever it was, but logistically it’s very complicated. With so many restaurants all wasting a small amount. We found Second Harvest which is an incredible food rescue and donation charity, [..] we created a deal with them where from our profit we [..] give them a monetary donation equivalent to what it costs them to provide a meal to someone in need. And we do that based on each users purchase behaviour. Once you order a certain value a certain amount of times [on] the app, we obviously collect revenue per set commission on each sale, and from our profit we donate money to Second Harvest for them to donate meals to people in need.”


There are a couple other popular food purchasing apps on the market right now, what makes feedback different? Do you think it’s socially conscious positioning attracts more customers?

“Most of the food ordering apps are centered around convenience, so your paying a premium to get the convenience of delivery, or it being prepared ahead of time. Ours is kind of flipping that around, [we’re asking you to be] a little more flexible, and pick [your food up] up at a certain hour, but your getting a discount, and you’re actually helping with a larger problem. And what we talk about and what we tell everyone is that you have two major types of customers: price sensitive, and socially or environmentally conscious. The price sensitive customer is just gonna jump at the next best deal, the one who’s actually tied to the mission of our company is the one whos gonna be a loyal customer and the one who's gonna stay with us in the long term. It’s not just a marketing ploy to get people to use the app; its actually ingrained in our mission and who we want our customer base to be.”

What was your biggest challenge in growing feedback?

“Feedback operates as a marketplace, restaurants on one side, our customers or diners on the other. Growing [both] out at the same time is always difficult because you sign up some restaurants, and don't have enough customers, then [restaurants] feel like it’s not really working. Then you get a lot of customers all over and they want restaurants nearby. So in scaling our model, the trickiest part was trying to manage that supply and demand side of the marketplace at the same time.”


And how did you overcome that?

“[It's] still something were dealing with but now that we have over 300 restaurants and many people [are] using the app every day. I think as you scale there’s sort of a snowball effect in terms of restaurants get orders, and because they get orders the staff know how to handle the orders better and it just leads to a smoother operation.”


In what ways are you currently working to grow feedback?

“We’re signing up new restaurants every day. We found that signing up a lot of restaurants in a small geographical area is the best way to deal with that supply/demand mismatch problem, and so building the restaurants out, and following up by either digital ads or stopping by local office buildings or community centers [..], to spread the word and we’re [just] sort of being really hands on with it, and growing out both sides at the same time.”


I know this is a pretty deep question, but where do you see Feedback in 5 to 10 years?

“What we’re doing now, is gathering a lot of data around pricing. We want to know what price at what time, shown to which person will get that person to show up at the restaurant. We think after sort of dealing with this issue, that having a static price at a restaurant that just stays the same the entire day makes no sense. You’ve got other industries like [the] flight and hotel industry that have the same sort of peaks and valleys in demand, whether its a flight over the holidays, obviously more expensive, or a hotel room on New Year's Eve is more expensive, so we say why would a bagel fresh out of the over, and minutes before being thrown out, cost the same? So our idea has really flipped the industry on its head in terms of bringing dynamic pricing to the restaurant industry. Not to surge it during lunch and dinner, but to do the opposite in terms of flattening out the demand throughout the day,  and helping them manage their inventory. We believe that is the root cause of the food waste problem also. Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s all about going out and doing it properly.

What do you think the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

“That it’s glamorous. It’s absolutely not, it’s a lot of responsibility, you have a team that relies on you, and eventually you have investors that demand things of you. And at the same time you’re trying to run a business and build a culture and do all sorts of things that you don’t necessarily think about at the start but it’s definitely worth it.”

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?

“Just to do it. So many people have ideas and want to start and don’t know where to start. Talk to people who’ve done it before, they’re more than happy to help for the most part, [...] find some good mentorship, whether that be through the university, or just friends or friends of friends, and yeah take the first step.”

From this experience, what was your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur?

“Not to let the ups and downs move you in either direction too much. Like, on a day to day [..] there will be great moments and moments where you think it’s all gonna end, and its important just to like stay level headed and work through that entire process toward your goal.”


Overall, the difference this app has been making socially, and the difference it has already made is truly inspiring. What I personally took away from this interview was that, although it is never easy, the keys to forming a socially disruptive company include a revolutionary idea, devout belief in that idea, and most importantly, the dedication needed to put yourself out there and try. Josh Walters and his company are a testament to the statement that a simple idea, grown through passion and dedication, can be capable of making a true difference.


Want to find out more about Enactus Ryerson and Feedback?

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Check out Feedback’s app and support their amazing initiatives.

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