Unlike any generation in the past, Gen-Y is taking advantage of new digital online technologies to turn their digital dreams for what’s possible into their own entrepreneurial businesses.
While not everyone will achieve the mind-blowing success of a Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, stories about young entrepreneurs from teenagers on up are making headlines every day with all the dream ideas they’ve turned into successful businesses.
University of Waterloo systems design engineering grad Eric Migicovsky set a $4.4 million online fundraising record this month on Kickstarter.com for Pebble, the smartwatch he invented while at university. Pebble emits an alert when a call, email or text comes in on an iPhone or Android smartphone and displays the information so users only have to look at their wrists instead of digging around to find their phone. Migicovsky plans to use the money to expand production and hire Waterloo co-op students.
A Vancouver entrepreneur, Miguel Kudry, started his Internet entrepreneur career when he was 13 and recently launched his second startup at age 19 - a photo-sharing website called Floggia. Like many young entrepreneurs, Kudry didn’t find instant success but he wasn’t discouraged. He told the Globe and Mail he learned from the failure of his first start-up, Shopgram, that any idea requires a lot of research and testing if it’s going to succeed.
That’s exactly what post-secondary schools are helping students do these days. They’re pushing the youth entrepreneur bandwagon forward with special courses and start-up incubator programs that provide mentoring and business planning support for young people who choose entrepreneurship as a career path.
Web-based digital technologies like gaming and mobile apps, make it easier than ever before to start a business with just a good idea and a computer but the lack of business-know-how can sink even the best of ideas before it gets out of the gate.
There are lots of good programs and incubators to choose from. For example, The Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is home to one of the largest entrepreneurship departments in Canada, which includes major and minor degree programs plus two MBAs. Ryerson’s Entrepreneur Institute (REI) is the only student-run entrepreneurial centre in Canada. Its StartMeUp program provides help with education, resources, funding and research plus it’s free. There’s also Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, (DMZ) where entrepreneurial students work on their degrees and doctorates while developing digital-based businesses.
The University of Toronto has the Centre for Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship while the University of Waterloo has the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre as well as a residence just for student entrepreneurs. VeloCity. Simon Fraser University’s Venture Connection program for entrepreneurs provides experienced advisors, funding opportunities and other business connections. Carleton University’s incubator is called Carleton Entrepreneurs. The University of Ottawa includes entrepreneurship studies in its Telfer School of Management Bacherlor of Commerce degree.
Learn more about being a Tech Entrepreneur from the CareerMash Career profile. Find out what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur from the videos and stories in these CareerMash real people profiles –