We’re thrilled to chat with Filip Pejic from Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization. Tune into our chat as we talk about the entrepreneurship club at U of T and Filip’s own startup company Society Socks along with his cofounder – Sergey Sapelnyk.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind starting this entrepreneurship club.
Sergey and I both started a business together at the end of our second year at Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto. We found that it was an excellent opportunity to take the concepts we were learning in class and apply them to the real world.
Our business gave us a lot of practical experience which complemented our education, something we believe that many students can benefit from. Further, we wanted to build a network of students and alumni who shared an interest in entrepreneurship. With the help of Alumni Mentors Daniel Rodic and Jeremy Chiu who shared that initial belief, we were able to pilot an event and validate that there was an interest in our program for a club focused on entrepreneurship. With support from the Rotman Commerce Programs Office, we were able to attain approval for affiliation with the program, and funding for our events this year.
You had some fantastic events with some notable speakers. What were some of the highlights?
I personally find that every speaker that attended our events this year provided insights which could be considered a highlight. We have been fortunate enough to have had a diverse lineup of speakers who have accepted to speak at our events, despite our recent inception. From the Founder of FreshBooks to the President of Adidas Canada, our Fireside chats have spanned a wide variety of topics from professionals and entrepreneurs in organizations of all sizes.
You mentioned you currently run a startup while being a student. Tells us about your startup!
Sergey and I run Society Socks, a funky sock subscription company with a social cause. With every pair of socks that we sell, we donate another pair to a local charity. We send two pairs of exclusive funky socks to our subscribers every month. Our socks can be worn in both casual and formal settings. To learn more about us, please visit our site at https://mysocietysocks.com/
What is some advice you have for students who have an innovative idea and want to build their startup.
If you are nervous about jumping into your first idea, find a startup and try to get involved in any capacity for a few weeks to a few months. If you find that the idea of entrepreneurship still inspires you and you are gaining a lot of knowledge from the startup, go off and try your own. The best time to start a business is now – you are young and have a lot less to lose than you will five to ten years down the line. Expect to fail a lot, but learn even more. RCEO is well equipped to help you with whatever challenges you face along the way.
How can U of T students and others get involved with your club?
I highly recommend following our page on Facebook, our primary method of communication with our members. RCEO hosts events every week that are open to any students or aspiring entrepreneurs. We host bi-weekly Fireside Chats where students can speak to successful entrepreneurs and professionals who have experience in the realm of start-ups and innovation.
We host a weekly drop-in event called Startup Rotman for students and local entrepreneurs. We encourage our attendees to use the space to collaborate on work and share ideas with others. We are currently running an e-commerce T-Shirt competition and many of our competitors are attending Startup Rotman to brainstorm ideas and to share their successes and failures.
We will be hosting one-off events such as Hackathons and Coding Bootcamps in the future to give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive learning environment for skills at the beginner level.