Interview with Carly From Eco-LOGic

Interview with Carly From Eco-LOGic

Meet Carly, a student attending the University of Calgary out to change the face of how we thinking about a weekend camping experience.  She is one of the co-founders of Eco-LOGic and no stranger to pitching her company on stage.  She recently was selected as one of the finalists for the RBC Fast Pitch Competition hosted at the Haskayne school of business at the University of Calgary.  Top entrepreneurs from the University pitched their businesses for cash and prizes.

We caught up with Carly and asked her a couple of questions about her experience so far…

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the program you are enrolled in at university? Why did you choose it, and what do you hope to do after graduating?

I am currently studying Commerce at the University of Calgary with a concentration in Operations Management. When I was in high school, I was torn between going into engineering or business and ultimately decided on business since I thought I would enjoy it more. I love working and collaborating with people, so I thought business was a good choice for me. I chose Operations Management since I enjoy being a leader and organizing projects. After graduation I hope to work with a non-profit company or a social media company, and maybe someday start my own company.

Q: What has your entrepreneurship course(s) taught you?

I am currently studying Commerce at the University of Calgary with a concentration in Operations Management. When I was in high school, I was torn between going into engineering or business and ultimately decided on business since I thought I would enjoy it more. I love working and collaborating with people, so I thought business was a good choice for me. I chose Operations Management since I enjoy being a leader and organizing projects. After graduation I hope to work with a non-profit company or a social media company, and maybe someday start my own company.

“Being able to look at the world’s problems and think, “I’ve got a solution for that!” is way better than simply donating to a charity or hoping somebody else comes up with something better.”

Q: Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture. What was the problem you were trying to solve?

Our company is called Eco-LOGic and we created an environmentally friendly firewood alternative made of recycled paper which we started through the ENTI 317 course at the Haskayne School of Business. During the course of the semester, we created several prototypes and burned them for testing. We developed a business model using the Business Model Canvas that brought us to the final round of competition for the RBC Fast Pitch Competition. We didn’t win, but we hope to continue our venture in some form in the future. With our logs, we hope to reduce deforestation and allow campers and homeowners to have a smaller carbon footprint.

Q: What was the spark that inspired the idea for this project? What steps did you have to take (or are taking) to make it a reality?

In our ENTI 317 class, we were put into groups and encouraged to find common interests in order to find a company idea that everybody in the group would love. We came together and we found that we all loved the outdoors and had a passion for the environment, and Eco-LOGic was born.

Q: Did you enjoy the pitch experience? What was the best part/highlight of the experience? (either in preparation, or on the day of the competition)

I really enjoyed it! I spoke more in our video pitch than our live pitch in front of investors, but it was still a really good experience. It was really nerve wracking presenting in front of successful business investors but really exhilarating at the same time. I think the highlight of the pitching experience was presenting our ideas, not knowing what kind of feedback we were going to get, and then having other people come and tell us that our company had promise and that we could really go somewhere with it.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you/your team as an entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge for me, and I think the rest of my team as well, was working with such tight deadlines and at such a fast pace while still trying to keep up with our other courses and commitments. We had only 2 months to develop a business model and test out our assumptions. That may seem like a long time but it was really challenging given that we were all very busy people and it was difficult for us all to meet at the same time. It really forces you to make quick, smart decisions and not be afraid to change your business model as you go.

Q: What advice would you give to youth who are interested in entrepreneurship?

The sky’s really the limit! If you have a great business idea, now is the best time to start developing your business model. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to test out and continually improve your business model. Your business model will not be perfect when you start out, but it will not get better until put yourself out there and get feedback. Even if you’re thinking that you could never be an entrepreneur and that starting a business is something you could never do, you will never know until you try. I never thought I could or would become an entrepreneur and here I am. You can do it!

Q: Tell us a bit more about your background (education, past ventures and experiences). What are some of your interests?

I went to Ernest Manning High School, and now I’m going into my third year at the University of Calgary. I had no entrepreneurial experience before co-creating Eco-LOGic and never thought that I could start a company whatsoever, so that just goes to show that anybody can be an entrepreneur if they put their mind to it! In my spare time I love listening to music, reading, volunteering, and surfing the web.  Right now I am working at a toy store and relaxing until the new school year in September.

Q: Have you always been interested in entrepreneurship? If not, when did you first become interested, and how did you get involved in the field?

I have always liked the idea of entrepreneurship but I never really thought that I would become an entrepreneur until Eco-LOGic. I was a bit uncomfortable with the intensity of the ENTI 317 course at first, but I think it was really rewarding and it opened up a whole world of opportunities in entrepreneurship that I had never had before. I thought the idea of starting my own company from the ground up was a bit daunting and I still do, but now that I have helped start a venture, I know that I can think entrepreneurially and I may be more inclined to start more ventures in the future.

Q: What do you think our world would be like if we did not teach entrepreneurial spirit to young people in school?

It would be pretty sad! Having entrepreneurial spirit means that your ideas and innovations can become a reality, and young people have unique perspectives and ideas that older generations do not have.  It is very important that young people feel empowered to come up with new ideas and act on them.  If we did not teach entrepreneurial spirit to young people, there would be so many great ideas and innovations that could never change the world for the better.

Q: If you could travel back in time and tell yourself anything about your experiences, what would it be?

I would tell myself that it all the hard work pays off eventually, but the hard work never ends. Do not be afraid to try new things that will make yourself and your company better. You will become a better person and you can make the world a better place if you keep going, so don’t give up and always stay positive!

Read more interviews from the Eco-LOGic team here: Venus, Stephanie, and Liya