Summer vibes at GreenHouse

Renata BurnsThe sun is shining, the convertible tops are down and the geese and their goslings are touring the campus. That’s right, it's spring term here at UWaterloo!

That means lots of old notebook burning and ice cream scooping for many UW students, but unfortunately not for those of us that have a spring study term. Also not for those of us doing a St. Paul's GreenHouse fellowship this term, but we are totally okay with that! That means I will be working on my startup called AdNature, while taking a full course load and taking care of my new puppy, Heidi. That may seem crazy overwhelming but I like being busy because it keeps me motivated.

What specifically motivates me is the team at GreenHouse, their insight, and the great community feel. To kickstart the term and get energy levels running high, we do a three-day bootcamp together. The bootcamp consists of coffee, free lunch, and most importantly, cool speakers.

The first speaker was Allyson Hewitt, who is the Director of Social Entrepreneurship for SiG@MaRS, as well as many other impressive titles. She talked about how crucial it is to merge disciplines such as we are doing in my program (Environment and Business), how important it is to look for others in your field globally, and to be proactive about things like incorporating your company to be ready for any legal issues that may arise.

Allyson Hewitt and GreenHouse students

The second speaker was David Rose, Associate Director of the MBET program at the Conrad Centre, who gave a critical approach to each startup’s business model and helped us define our customer segments and value propositions. 

Thirdly, Heather Galt, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Communitech, talked about her experience as the VP of Marketing at KiK and how to tell your business’s story well so people retain info from it.

Then Ben Firman, the Marketing Director at 80-20 Growth, spoke about his excellent sales record and how to sell the right way. He explained that everyone is a sales person and that you need to keep a positive attitude and that failure can be turned into something positive.

Lastly, Jordan Moat and Cameron Hauck from Libro Credit Union came to give helpful tips on how to access funding and how to deal with personal and business finances.

Heidi the dogWhile I gained all this powerful knowledge from the GreenHouse speakers, I was in and out, like many others, attending classes and unlike many others, taking my puppy outside.

From downloading all my syllabuses, buying my text books, working on AdNature and keeping my puppy happy, it was a hectic week.

So why do all this and risk burning out? The reason being is that, admittedly, I am obsessed with my problem and finding the right way to fix it. I am a nature lover and think exercise is the best way to relieve stress and have fun, therefore everyone should get a chance to do it.

This doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with me, but I want to share my experiences in nature with the world and, in the end, create a better world. That is what all of us in GreenHouse are aiming to do with our products, is make the world a better place.

So I encourage you to stay motivated doing what you enjoy and get out and enjoy those summer vibes!

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