We’re excited to be chatting with Saheba Segu who is the co-president of Startup Laurier. We have heard great things from Startup Laurier.
Tell us about Startup Laurier.
Startup Laurier is Wilfrid Laurier University’s primary entrepreneurship club where students are given a variety of avenues to connect and engage with Kitchener-Waterloo’s thriving entrepreneurship community. The organization has breadth of programs, events and competitions to provide students with real world experience, and give a true insight as to what entrepreneurship really is. In this past year alone, the team introduced nine new initiatives, one of which is our very own internship program called: “Winternship”. Since its launch in January 2017, Startup Laurier has been able to provide fifteen students with real world working experience with startups in the KW Region. Not only has this allowed students to gain new insights, but it has also allowed for startups to gain new insights and further accomplish their goals.
The Winternship program is just one of many ways Startup Laurier aims to inspire students. Every year, the team effortlessly adds more zest to what Startup Laurier stands for: “Live your passion”. Stay tuned to see what our new team has planned for the upcoming year!
We keep hearing about your great events. What are some of your signature events?
The Startup Squad is always looking to push the boundaries, especially when it comes to events. Just this past year, the team put out almost twenty events in a twelve month period! However, when it comes to our signature event, Entrepreneurs Exchange (EntEx), is our fingerprint. This event has been something that Startup Laurier has been putting out for the last four years, with each year having its own unique spin.
To provide some context to the event, it is a gathering/celebration/showcase of entrepreneurship in the KW Region. Community members and students gather for an evening filled with high quality networking, workshops, and a keynote speaker. This year, EntEx was hosted at Vidyard’s HQ in downtown Kitchener, with Laurier Alumnus and Juno Award Winner Rapper, Shad as the keynote. The event consisted of students from University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, and Wilfrid Laurier University that had a chance to attend workshops centered around ideation, building an MVP, and product design. This is just one of the unique events that Startup Laurier offers to entrepreneurial-minded students.
Another first for the team this year was hosting Laurier’s first ever hackathon, Starthacks, in collaboration with PHI Laurier. With over 900 applicants, and being Major League Hacks (MLH) certified, we were humbled to bring the first of many hackathons to Laurier.
Given this, it is fair to say the Startup Laurier team is committed to providing students and community members with unique experiences that push the boundaries of student-volunteer organizations.
What advice do you have for students looking to do a startup?
This question is something that I personally had to do a little research on, and was also something I asked the Startup Laurier team. From my personal insights, if you are a student looking to start a company, get your hands dirty. Fail as much as possible. You probably won’t be successful on your first venture, so use it as an opportunity to learn as much as possible; be a sponge. At this point in your life, it is the easiest time to have saturated learning experiences, meet people that are experts in their respective fields, and not to mention, getting a lot of it, if not all of it, for free. With that I would say, attend as many hackathons as possible, collaborate, talk to people that disagree with what you’re doing to find out why, network, and have fun. After all, you are dedicating a ton of time and effort into a project, you’re young, and are changing the world!
When I asked my team this question, here’s what they had to say: “[It’s a] gateway to your future”; “don’t do it for the money”; “impact, impact, impact”; “it’s an oppourtunity to get out of your shell and embrace the full university experience”; “[you are able to] take your future into your own hands”. Some pretty good words of wisdom out of a very well-seasoned, and talented group of students.
Over all, if you want to do it, do it. Make it happen. Do it fiercely and fearlessly. There truly is no better time, and you never know what will come of it.
As Drake once said, “you only live once, that’s the motto, YOLO”.
What are some resources available to Laurier student entrepreneurs?
Outside of Startup Laurier, some great on campus resources for student entrepreneurs are the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Laurier LaunchPad, taking entrepreneurship courses, Startup Fund, and Enactus Laurier. These resources are all easily accessible for students, even if you’re wanting someone to bounce ideas off of.
How does one go about getting involved with Startup Laurier?