Meet Venus, 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 Venus 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 enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program in Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. My concentration is Human Resources. I am also double majoring in Psychology under the Bachelor of Arts program, with an interest in Organizational Psychology. I chose these programs due to my passion in improving business process efficiency and in bettering organizational coherence. I hope to become a Human Resources Manager or an Organizational Consultant in the future.
Q: What has your entrepreneurship course(s) taught you?
Entrepreneurship 317 (Entrepreneurial Thinking) has taught me how to create a solution to an everyday problem or to “scratch your own itch”. It has also coached the students in actively solving problems and looking at an issue from different angles to search for the optimal solution(s). This course provided us a closer look to the real world experience.
Q: Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture. What was the problem you were trying to solve?
The main problems we were trying to solve are deforestation and carbon dioxide emission, both of which are harmful to the environment. This can be described in more detail in our website, in the video under the “About” tab http://steffids.wix.com/eco-logic
“Always be curious. Do not be afraid to act and solve the problems you see because the only outcomes are: the solution has already been found or it is a brand new innovation.”
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?
The spark was ignited when we realized the common interest of all team members. We were all very passionate about the environment.
Various steps were included. We had numerous team meetings to make sure Eco-LOGic was collectively created and all ideas and procedures were aligned within the team. Teamwork was the most important aspect of the project. Following the development of the innovation, we began to conduct primary and secondary research (we were instructed to conduct 1/3 of secondary research and 2/3 of primary research). Two meetings were arranged by our course instructor Houston Peschl that helped us with gaining information in terms of primary research: Advisor Day and Consultancy Day. All information was used to creating a business model (Business Model Canvas). This canvas enclosed information such as what the company can do to solve the problem of the customers and what value we can provide for the customers. The pitch and the 10 minutes video were based on the 9 section of our Business Model Canvas (https://experiencinginformation.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/business_model_canvas.png).
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)
The pitch experience was absolutely wonderful. The highlight of the experience was during the day of the competition. Although the pressure was intimidating, the adrenaline rush of being on stage and to share our innovative idea with such wide audience were incredible and worthy. Seeing how far we went to create Eco-LOGic and all the hard work we invested in the project were satisfying.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you/your team as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge for our team was finding resources for our project, specifically financial resources. All students were encouraged to innovate and execute the idea with little to no financial resources. We were forced to acknowledge and use our available means. Although it was difficult to develop and execute a business plan with the lack of financial resources, all individuals were challenged to think in another dimension and generate a solution as a team to move the project forward.
Q: What advice would you give to youth who are interested in entrepreneurship?
Always be curious. Do not be afraid to act and solve the problems you see because the only outcomes are: the solution has already been found or it is a brand new innovation.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your background (education, past ventures and experiences). What are some of your interests?
I had minimum experience in entrepreneurship prior to taking the course, partly due to my lack of awareness and understanding of the idea or title. My interests include painting, photography and sports, such as badminton, swimming and field hockey.
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?
It is not that I was not interested in entrepreneurship but I was rather unaware of it. I became interested in entrepreneurship when I realized the degree of creativity it involves and the feeling of accomplishment and possibility of change when I came up with ideas or solutions to problems in the world. I was involved in the field or Entrepreneurship 317 because it was a mandatory course to take under the Bachelor of Commerce program (this is the first year they are making this course mandatory).
Q: Do you think entrepreneurial spirit is important in the world today? Why/why not?
Yes. With Calgary being one of the top cities for entrepreneurship in 2014, entrepreneurial spirit is necessary in the world today. Continuously asking questions, being curious and searching for opportunities is the spirit we need to make our world thrive, develop and modify.
Q: What do you think our world would be like if we did not teach entrepreneurial spirit to young people in school?
Although many young individuals are not aware of or have not considered entrepreneurship as a potential future path, it is extremely important to develop entrepreneurial spirit. Curiosity and problem solving will be use in all aspect of jobs in the future. By obtaining such skills and strengths through education early on will provide students with an advantage later in life.
Q: If you could travel back in time and tell yourself anything about your experiences, what would it be?
“Do not judge a course by your presumption of the course and its title. The hands-on experience is priceless. The knowledge, strength, and potential you will uncover are more than you can imagine.”