My name is Wayne Chang and I teach BET 300 – Foundations of Venture Creation at the Conrad Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre. In this class, we have had the privilege of having various successful UWaterloo alumni come to talk to students about their entrepreneurship experiences.
In a series of posts, I would like to showcase these outstanding alumni and share their stories with you.
Our first star alumnus is Margaret Cichosz-Grzyb, Honors Arts and Business Co-op, Political Science with Option in International Studies, 2011 and Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET), 2012.
Margaret is a Coordinator at Bridging Entrepreneurs to Students (BETS) Program, University of Waterloo and Co-Founder at Apartmint Inc.
Margaret has presented to many classes and always gives insights about early start-up peaks and valleys. She has shared her experience, including her initial entrepreneurial environment growing up in her parent’s family-owned real estate business and doing literally everything that was part of the business, which gives her great foundation expertise with her current start-up. Her stories about co-founder dynamics are authentic - she recommends you leverage your experiences and the strength of your team!
Margaret said one of the most important things about taking the MBET program was that you really get out of it what you put in; people with a lesser sense of entitlement seemed to benefit the most. Sounds like the entrepreneur’s story of follow your effort…and don’t quit.
Q&A with Margaret Cichosz-Grzyb
What are you working on these days?
“We’ve been working on Apartmint for about a year now with two of my former classmates. We recently pitched and placed 2ND at the National Business and Technology Conference (February 2014). We are finalists at the upcoming DigiFest Toronto competition (June 2014). Things are picking up quickly, and we hope to release our platform for web and mobile within the next few weeks. It’s been busy, challenging but super rewarding. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s a great feeling when students you don’t even know approach you and tell you how great your platform is and how excited they are to use it!”
What was memorable for you at UWaterloo that impacted your later entrepreneurial perspectives?
“In undergrad, my favorite classes were by far with Kevin Hood and Geoff Malleck. They gave me a dose of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. I was never bored in their classes, and never missed class. Tuesday afternoon came and I was one of the first people in class. The MBET Program was eye opening in the sense that it really showed what it takes to build a business, whether its tech or not, and what it would take to grow it.”
What would you like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs at UWaterloo?
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my time in the ecosystem is to not be afraid of failing. I find that people respect you more if you own up to the things that you actually don’t know. This leads to reaching out to people and asking for help. No one’s perfect, but learning from others through their experiences gives you insight.”
Stay tuned for more posts about these outstanding alumni!