As a small town kid from Southwestern Ontario with parents having no high school diploma I was very enthused to be accepted to the well-respected University of Waterloo Engineering Program in 2000. My excitement quickly turned into panic when I scored 40-something percent on the dreaded engineering entry exam. I realized that I was going to have to work my butt off for the next 5 years!
And so I did. I worked hard, and I played hard of course too. I’ll remember the first day I arrived on campus. Imprint was asking parents what they feared most about their child going off on their own. Most parents responded with comments like, “I hope he’ll be able to make friends or I hope she’ll be safe in her new environment.” My mother’s response, “I’m afraid he’ll party too much and fail.” Well, I’m glad I proved you wrong!
One of my more memorable experiences at UWaterloo was the entrepreneurial culture.
It filled the air and I made the most of it being part of the Entrepreneurs Association and getting involved in the early days of Communitech. However, amongst all the organized experiences, the most lasting impressions were set by more personal relationships.
The most memorable for me was my friend, classmate and roommate, who would tell me stories about his brother’s rags to riches entrepreneurial success story in the advertising business. It sounded so exciting, both risky and rewarding (and so much more exhilarating than our calculus and thermo-dynamics courses). From that point on my ultimate aspiration would be to start my own business.
After graduating from UWaterloo, I went on to work in management consulting for several years, working out of Ottawa, Toronto, Amsterdam and London. I also went on to do an MBA at Harvard Business School. All great experiences, but still no start up!
Alas, in 2013 I took the leap. I am now the very proud Co-Founder of HiMama. We help working parents to connect with their children through technology by allowing their childcare providers to send them photos, videos and reports throughout the day.
Looking back, it is still those moments from UWaterloo that kept me determined on the path towards entrepreneurship. Let’s hope it pays off! We’re currently working with our second and third co-op students with the fourth coming on board soon. Hopefully many more to come!