Sarah Prevette: Tips from a Serial Entrepreneur
I’d recommend that anyone interested in start-ups first gain experience working at someone else’s start-up. The culture, uncertainty and hectic pace of a new business is not for everyone—try it on first and see how it fits before committing your life to it.
Sarah Prevette shares her entrepreneurial experiences and advices to be successful in a recessionary economic climate
Laksh Vig, Contributor
Many students in university dream of landing a nice job when they graduate. They want a job that will offer a great starting salary, a job where professional development is encouraged and recognized and a job that provides them with self-satisfaction.
Other students meanwhile dream of having their own business. They want to be their own boss, they want to make their own hours and want to be rewarded for everything they do.
These students want to be entrepreneurs.
While many students dream of owning their own successful business, few of them venture out to do so because of the risks involved. It is a fact that 80% of new businesses close within the first year. And with an economy still recovering from an ugly recession, the chances that a student will take a risk and open up a business is very unlikely.
Still, some do find a passion in working for themselves and being the one to make the important decisions. As a result, they begin to execute their brilliant idea and open up shop. While some do not make it to their fiscal year, some go above and beyond.
University and College students have the privilege of getting to meet and hear successful individuals speak and share their success stories at events and conferences. Many of them are from large corporations and well-established businesses. That said, students don’t often get to meet the ones who took the risks, invested all of their time and money, the ones who can offer advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Sarah Prevette, the founder of Sprouter (a website that “enables collaboration and networking between entrepreneurs globally”), visited students at York University to speak about her experiences as a young entrepreneur. The following are some of the highlights of what she had to share:
How did you come up with the idea of being an entrepreneur, as entrepreneurship is not a well-publicized profession and as it can be a ‘risky business to enter into’?
Entrepreneurship has traditionally not been an actively promoted profession. In Canada, there is a systemic culture of striving to be “number two”—a propensity to join larger companies, climb the corporate ladder and achieve success through direct reports and an executive title reporting to the president.
The more visibility we can lend to innovation and innovators, to new start-ups, the more we will encourage entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.
What was your inspiration to become an entrepreneur?
I was incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain experience in a start-up while still a student. Learning first-hand under an exceptionally charismatic and visionary entrepreneur was a great initiation. Being submersed in an environment that fostered ongoing innovation, had a culture of unyielding passion and an ongoing sense of urgency was intoxicating. It was that first experience that gave me the desire and confidence to pursue my own ideas.
How did you come up with the idea for Sprouter?
Sprouter was born to overcome the traditional isolation of entrepreneurs and create an instant, plug-in network of support. Start-up founders leverage Sprouterfor advice, inspiration and real time feedback on their business.
Do you have any advice to give University students who are interested in start-ups?
I’d recommend that anyone interested in start-ups first gain experience working at someone else’s start-up.