Community beyond the GreenHouse experience

Rachel and Richard smiling together at a Blue Jay gameOne of the amazing but perhaps unexpected benefits of the GreenHouse experience is that the connections you make do not end when you finish the program. In fact, new connections seem to pop up even after graduation.

For example, Rachel Thompson (founder of Marlena Books) was in GreenHouse in Spring 2015, and Richard Yim (founder of The Landmine Boys) was here Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. They were introduced at some point during that year and now are good friends and huge baseball fans – specifically Blue Jays fans. When I recently won Jays tickets in a raffle, I immediately thought of them and passed the tickets along. They were thrilled and had a great time at the game together (even though the Jays lost)!

The connections are taking place in other cities as well. Christina Hassan, founder of FullSoul Canada, and Varnit Karumuri, who now works at Celero Solutions, both live in Calgary now. They got together for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant to discuss Christina’s experience in law school and Varnit’s job in financial technology. Their significant others joined them, and now they’ve all become good enough friends that the Hassans are going to Varnit’s wedding!

I, myself, was in GreenHouse for its first three terms and I have been the Program Coordinator for over two years now. I would say that that entrepreneurship is hard, and that social entrepreneurship is even harder.  Peer-to-peer support is vital in helping students on their journeys. It has been a pleasure to watch our alumni support each other in various ways in each other’s ventures, as well as personally. It’s great to see that our students know that once they are part of this community, they can always remain part of this community.

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