Amy's Blog: Diving into the startup world

AmyI describe this week as my dive into the startup world. Not only was I working on my own startup, I was also training as a social entrepreneur to work for other local enterprises through the GreenHouse co-op program.

One of my favourite things about living at GreenHouse is the exposure to knowledge and creativity from those around you. Lexi, the program coordinator, sends out weekly updates filled with helpful events and opportunities. Eventually, it makes you think carefully about the ones you want to use your time on and narrow your scope. At some point, you’ll discover the GreenHouse co-op program, and like me, you will apply for it and find yourself in a startup haven.

Initially, I was concerned about time because I realized that working on both my startup and others consumes a lot of time. Sure enough, I found myself experiencing entrepreneurs’ block, where I realized how much work goes into each project and how small I am in the larger scheme of things. My project was on idle for the duration of the week. Instead, I immersed myself in my co-op training and learned about startup culture, entrepreneurial skills and personality.

Surprisingly, the training was necessary to put me back on my feet and think like the CEO of any social enterprise. I spent the weekend brainstorming about my career, how my startup fits into my path and how my experiences working for startups could be beneficial to me. I began to understand the importance of planning and reflecting.

"The idea is that we cannot solve the bigger issue overnight, however we can tackle a certain aspect of it while always keeping that bigger issue in mind. It’s about consistently zooming in and out to view the issue from a holistic perspective."

For instance, I am concerned with food security and the sustainability of food today. However, I narrowed my project down to the UWaterloo campus, and if my model is successful, I could use it as a template for other campuses. Momentum escalates quickly once you have a solid grip of your project.

This week, I learned that my plans can always change as I discover more about my project. Prior to GreenHouse, I did not consider researching more about food on campus. However, hearing from other startups made me realize that in order to tackle the issue, I must consistently make the effort to learn about the issue and not rely on assumptions. Strong solutions come out of a wealth of knowledge and resources. That is a valuable lesson for every social entrepreneur.