You don't need experience to make an impact
What could you accomplish if you had a problem that you cared about, and that affected millions of people? What if you had the freedom and resources to actually solve it?
Distinguish yourself as a leader in innovation
If you want a great career, you need to stand out from the crowd.
The Zero Experience differentiates you. You’ll build a network of experts to support you, solve problems affecting millions of people, and learn how to make your visions a reality.
There is no other guided experience in UW that offers these benefits – if you’re a student and want to become more employable, join the Zero Experience.
"I'm starting to think this was one of the best things I've done in my university career . . . I will always recommend this program to my peers."
Tap into your innovation potential
We all get asked the same question; “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether it’s choosing a university, a career, or in any conversation with relatives, that question pops up.
The answer we think in response is usually simple; “We don’t know.”
The Zero Experience lets you find out. You’ll try analyzing problems, interviewing industry mentors, designing new solution ideas, leading tightly knit teams of peers, and applying all these skills to your personal goals and growth.
There is no faster way to grow as a person than to attempt making something worth creating. We are here to give you that opportunity in the Zero Experience.
"Honestly, this is the best experience for me so far since I came to Waterloo… Don’t regret any moment of work here."
What will you be doing?
You start by choosing Billion Dollar Problems that fascinate you and joining a team of peers from all faculties.
Then you and your team start learning about them! Who is affected, why does it matter, and how have others failed to solve them? What can you do differently? You’ll begin developing your own solutions, testing your ideas with local entrepreneurs, professors, and people who urgently need your help. Through them you can grow your network, receive feedback, and make an even better solution. At every step along the way we’ll help you apply those skills to your career goals and life, and so will the mentors and friends you’ll meet along the way.
This isn’t school: in the Zero Experience, you get what you put in.
Some students emerge from the program with new ventures funded for tens of thousands of dollars. Others emerge with a wide network of professionals with equally wide career opportunities. Some emerge with profound changes to their worldview and personal goals.
Everyone emerges with something special and something new.
"It would be hard to find a program like Zero Experience that allows you to accomplish both personal and professional goals at the same time. This program just has something. It is so well organized and inclusive that you will find out even though there are different people with different goals in this world, it is possible to work it out and do something amazing (actually, that is the key)."
How much work is it?
A single three-hour workshop and one hour of individual goals to accomplish every week. That’s it.
On every Monday (beginning Jan 18th) from 6-9pm Eastern Time, we hold workshops, host guest speakers, and run Q&As to teach you the valuable skills you’ll need that week and how they can be applied in your own life. If it’s not immediately valuable to you, we don’t teach it. You’ll also have time every workshop to sit down with your team and achieve milestones like a full analysis of your Billion Dollar Problem, a unique solution blueprint, and more.
Throughout the rest of the week, you’ll only have to commit about one hour of work to your project, though we give you tons of extra goals and resources if you choose to go further! You can do this work whenever is easiest for you, whether its late at night or squished between classes. We know school can be busy and stressful, and we’ve accounted for that in this program.
You’ll need to attend most of the workshops throughout the term, since your team depends on your presence, but it’s totally fine if you have to miss one or two! If you’re in an extremely different time-zone or have a frequent conflict, we’d encourage you to apply in a future term.
- Week 1: Introduction (How to innovate, and an introduction to the Zero Experience)
- Week 2: Problems (Finding a niche problem and what makes it urgent)
- Week 3: Networking (The power of your network and how to talk to people)
- Week 4: Analysis (Analyzing problems, accepting feedback, and advancing your career)
- Week 5: Reading Week Break
- Week 6: Ideas (Brainstorming ideas and how to make your goals achievable)
- Week 7: Solutions (Deciding on the best solution and learning what you don’t know)
- Week 8: Planning (Solution storyboards, planning timelines, and what makes a great leader)
- Week 9: Storytelling (Conveying your vision and accomplishments in a compelling story)
- Week 10: Summit (Presenting your story to others and reflecting on your journey and goals)
Zero Experience Co-founders
Co-founder of the Zero Experience
Co-founder of Scope Photonics
UWaterloo Nanotechnology Engineering Alumni (2020)
Within the Zero Experience I love teaching about storytelling and how to wrap your ideas into a compelling narrative; a strong story lets you sell yourself in interviews, pitch ideas at competitions, and get promoted for your solutions. My focus is on fostering a close-knit community within the program, along with coaching students in networking, leading teams, realizing personal goals, and making great things happen.
Outside of running the Zero Experience I’m the CEO of Scope Photonics, and an avid reader/writer, cook, improv actor, and an extremely poor guitarist.
Co-founder of the Zero Experience
UWaterloo Computer Science Student (Grad 2020)
I love collecting small insights that people spend years developing; it’s fascinating how much they translate from one person to another. The Zero Experience is an attempt to share those insights in a way that actually makes them applicable. Most of my life I’ve been teaching in one way or another - from teaching my classmates when they struggled, to teaching computers how to interview. My hope is that sharing these ideas will let people do what they want, not just what they have to do.