We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Shanae Vander Togt
I have never had difficulty imagining. It is amazing how many ideas I can come up with in my day-to-day life, opportunities like, “I wish I could do that” or “wouldn’t that be great if this existed?” Before I came to do my Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) degree, I would come across these opportunities and dismiss them after only a quick ponder. Real life took precedence, with a lengthy to-do list, commitments, a job, and schoolwork, and it started discouraging me to see where any of these ideas might lead.
That was before I came to MBET.
One of the first things I noticed about MBET was the calibre of women that have started in this program with me. The women that enter MBET are of a formidable sort, and bring different ideas and approaches to the male-dominated start-up industry. Supported and surrounded by Conrad faculty and staff that includes impressive women, creating, running, and succeeding in their own businesses, it is an incredible environment that breeds motivation. Our classmates have a seemingly endless supply of ideas, motivation, and support. It is an amazing experience to have so many people rooting for our success, all the while helping to refine, challenge, and validate our businesses.
We support each other, and we are self-starters, we are determined, and we are here to shake things up.
I recently read an article discussing the lack of women in technology start-ups. It interested me that an industry focused on “get-up-and-go” individuals lacked a female base, when the tech industry is beginning to realize that a diversified approach facilitates the best success. The businesses that have succeeded in recent memory all approached their respective markets from angles that had never been attempted or had been previously dismissed as so improbable that success was impossible. The tech industry only stands to gain from female entrepreneurs because we bring a different style of leadership and methods to run a business.
The tech sector as a whole had previously been painted as an inclusive, same-minded network that had incredibly high entrance barriers for anyone who had not previously studied programming or created a disruptive product or concept. However, the industry is changing. The current scope is open and inviting to anyone who has the drive and wherewithal to take an idea and put it on the ground.
I believe that the MBET program is an ideal environment for female entrepreneurs to break into the tech industry. The support, education, and network that we encounter through this program is bar-none, and I believe that the potential success of the candidates here is forthcoming and immense.
Shanae Vander Togt is the founder of a conceptual plus-size fashion line and a member of several other businesses in the tech sector. She is excited to explore the fashion market and continue to pave the way for females in technology start-ups.
Feel free to contact Shanae through email.