As an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, when I wanted to explore entrepreneurship as a potential career path this summer, I decided to live in the Velocity Residence and take the Conrad Centre's BET 300: Foundations of Venture Creation course.

My most memorable moment was our trip to Montreal for the International Startup FestivalBET 300 provides student entrepreneurs with opportunities to attend events that help them develop their venture ideas.

Conrad Centre students and staff at the International Startup Festival.

Exploring entrepreneurship at Waterloo

Back in high school, I knew I loved the business world. I thought that the right path was to go to the University of Waterloo, get some work experience through co-op terms, graduate, and try to land a job on Bay Street. Perhaps I would even find "the one" while I was at it. The plan sounded so promising and I would be following the path of success that I was taught. However, not everything happens according to plan.

University gave me freedom and independence, but it also presented me with challenges that made me consider a different route for my career. I had a startup idea that I believed in and I wanted to push it forward, so I applied to live in Velocity and enrolled into BET 300 this summer. Being an entrepreneur seemed like a great challenge and accomplishment that I wanted to strive towards.

The Startup Train and International Startup Festival

Ten students from the BET 300 class and the Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) program attended the International Startup Festival to search for great opportunities and connections.

 We travelled to Montreal on the Startup Train, where we got to interact with mentors and up-and-coming entrepreneurs from Ontario; most were from Waterloo, Guelph, or Toronto. We landed great contacts and potential clients before we even arrived at the main event.

Right: BET 300 students at Union Station before boarding the train.

The Startup Festival included speakers from around the world that wanted to share their experiences. They were not there to compete but to collaborate. Many of the speakers were available after their talks at the Mentor Tent for one-on-one sessions.

 All of the students had a mission at the Startup Festival; mine was to make right connections in the fashion or retail industry. I met several aspiring entrepreneurs with ventures only a few degrees of separation from my own. I took advantage of this amazing opportunity because I did not want to let myself down.

Right (from left to right): Chase Denomme, Tawny Tram, and Spencer Gardner just outside the Startup Festival venue in Old Montreal.

I will never forget this event and would consider going to it next year. The ten students really bonded because we all wanted each other to succeed with our businesses and get value from the events. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and ambitious people gives you an advantage at an event like this; we were all comfortable referring people we met to one another if we thought that potential valuable connections could be made. 

BET 300

My overall experience with BET 300 has been welcoming; our class is diverse, we're all aspiring entrepreneurs but we come from different academic backgrounds and are pursuing businesses in a range of different spaces - which makes the experience so much more valuable. I have made some great friends with the people in BET 300 and I will never forget them. (I can't really because of Facebook and LinkedIn...hahaha.)

I would like to credit our professor, Wayne Chang for accepting the brightest students into his class. Wayne is no ordinary professor, he is a great personal and professional mentor. As Wayne says:

This class is like a startup. At the end of the term, as a class you will grow and you will all know each other."

I really do encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to apply for BET 300 because the class is a huge first step to make an idea into a reality.

The spring 2014 BET 300 class "selfie".

About Tawny

Tawny TramTawny Tram is a fourth year Speech Communication and Management Studies student and the aspiring entrepreneur behind ClosetShare. In spring 2014, Tawny lived in the Velocity Residence and took the Conrad Centre's BET 300: Foundations of Venture Creation class. She is Co-President for UW Apprentice and works with E Co-op alum company, Hydrated World.
 

ClosetShare will give students the opportunity to share a piece of their closet with other students by consigning their clothes and accessories.

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