Entrepreneurship: Create Your Own Opportunities, Get Where You Want to Be

Get started at the National Business and Technology Conference in Toronto

Written by Herbert Lui, Staff Writer

Everything has a beginning. We know this. International companies, like Four Seasons or Harry Rosen, or the recently blossoming Kobo, were started by individuals like Isadore Sharp, Harry Rosen (you don’t say?), and Michael Serbinis. On the other side of the fence, small businesses are a huge driver of the economy. The most recent economic downturn has once again illustrated how the safer paths are really much less safe than we’d previously imagined.

My colleague Shelly recently wrote about who entrepreneurs are and why you should care. We create opportunities for ourselves and people who end up working for us. We solve problems that bother people, and make a living doing it. Want to avoid unemployment? Employ yourself.

Don’t just read about it. Absorb it. Sponge it up. Learn by doing. How?

  • Participate in a competition: The next-best to a real world experience is a simulation. Where startup costs can often be a barrier to entry in the real world, competitions allow you to freely explore your imagination and find problems and offer innovative (and unusual) solutions.
  • Get involved: Find problem to solve by really digging into people’s lives. Get involved with extracurricular activities or a real job, and figure out what really bothers your clients, colleagues, and friends.
  • Learn from the best: Network with ambitious individuals and experienced entrepreneurs who are just as passionate as you are about the things that you do. You may find a new friend to chat about business with; you could also find a future business partner or a mentor.

We have a limited time here in this world. It wouldn’t be a struggle to get your dreams out if we had all the time we wanted. So, let’s accelerate our learning curves and have a look at how we can achieve our goals. There’s a place where acceleration happens.

Sharp and Rosen delivered keynotes here last year. Serbinis takes the stage this year along with Jordan Banks from Facebook, Eric Gales from Microsoft, and Peter Aceto from ING Direct. Who better to learn from than experts who have led extremely successful organizations?

There’s also an entrepreneurship competition hosted by KPMG (with a $5,000 cash prize). Is there a better way to refine your ideas? (Holding the variable of time constant, of course…)

Chances are the people you meet here are heavily involved in things outside of school. It could be something like a charity or a club, or even an entrepreneurial venture of their own. It’s a great chance for you to find something interesting to get involved with.

The National Business and Technology Conference has been growing and cultivating entrepreneurship and innovation for 11 years now. It is taking over Toronto this year on March 23rd and 24th. We decided to ask the Nspire team for their insights into this year’s NBTC:

ARB: How has Nspire helped you with your goals?

“Nspire has been a major influence in every part of my career so far. As a chemical engineering student at UWaterloo, I felt a few years ago that just because it was the program I chose I would have to do it for the rest of my life. However, I no longer enjoyed it. Joining Nspire opened my eyes to a world of possibilities and broke down mental barriers I had to changing my career path. I developed my business skills as a part of the organization and leveraged it to gain my first business internship at Microsoft as a Business and Marketing Associate. I then continued on to become a Market Strategist at Facebook. Being a part of Nspire also introduced me to the world of startups and entrepreneurship. This eventually led me to start-up my own company now, Kingpin, with someone I met on the Nspire team.”

Philip La, Nspire President, Kingpin co-founder.

“Time management, being connected with truly inspirational people (within the Nspire team, network and at other conferences like Socialight and CUTC), learning about what other people my age are doing and that so many things I had previously categorized as “not for me” are really very much within my grasp. I’ve also reevaluated my goals and interests and have been forced to reconsider what my values and priorities really are – all with positive results!”

Tina Dot, Director of Marketing for NBTC, President of JHR U of T, contributor for The Blue and White and Women’s Post, and avid skateboarder.

ARB: What are you most excited about for this year’s NBTC?

“I cannot wait to see everything coming together, seeing our year of hard work turned into reality and meeting all the delegates I’ve been corresponding with in person! I know the two-day conference is going to be buzzing with energy, great connections being made and really innovative ideas fluttering around. It’s going to be a good time! NBTC is the place to find innovative thinkers and the people who will be leading change in our world tomorrow, and when I think of NBTC I automatically think of this type of person.”

Tina Dot, Director of Marketing for NBTC, President of JHR U of T, contributor for The Blue and White and Women’s Post, and avid skateboarder.

 “It’s tough to choose between the amazing speakers and competitions. Personally, I’m most excited for the KPMG Entrepreneurship Competition. I love to learn about the disruptive young companies coming up – very inspirational.”

Brad Menezes, Nspire Chairman, Kingpin co-founder.

The speaker at NBTC’12 I’m most excited to meet and hear is Brian Wong. From his profile, he seems like an amazing individual. I have a high degree of respect for young entrepreneurs like him. At the same time, he seems like a very down-to-earth individual.”

Arsh Sidhu, Nspire Campus Ambassador, OneProsper International President of Student Strategic Team and OneProsper U campus club.

“I’m most excited to meet and hear from Jordan Banks, Managing Director at Facebook. His pre-Facebook experience is as amazing as his position today and I’m really interested in hearing his diverse perspective on business and technology today.”

Zoya Shrivastava, Nspire Campus Ambassador, VP Finance of U of T Women in Science and Engineering, and writer and section editor for the Cannon.

 “I’m most excited to listen to each of the keynotes speakers, as well as the panels.  In addition, I can’t wait to meet all the delegates, because that’s our future.”

Dhruv Vyas, Nspire Vice President of Marketing, OneProsper International Board of Directors.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators: if you decide to go, bring your best self, stay open to networking and ideas, great things will happen for you. It could be a crucial lesson, like the one about the golden rule that Sharp spoke about last year. It could also be a life-changing perspective into things.

Everything has a beginning. So does your dream. Regardless of whether you decide to attend NBTC or not, I wish you the best of luck with all your ventures and ambitions. Stay persistent. Keep hustling hard.

ARB Team
Arbitrage Magazine
Business News with BITE.

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