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Unlocking Entrepreneurship at UBC

Unlocking Entrepreneurship at UBC

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just about building start-ups” Nilay Yuce says emphatically “It’s about being prepared to make a positive impact in your organisation and being able to spread that vision and enthusiasm to colleagues, investors and the public.”

Nilay speaks from experience. She enjoyed a highly successful career as an entrepreneur coming from the game industry in her native Turkey before coming to UBC to study an MBA.

“I’m proud of what I achieved in my company and industry, but I also felt like I was starting to repeat myself. I chose Vancouver partly for the city but also to meet new people, refresh my ideas and experience a different business culture. In Turkey the entrepreneurial landscape is very small. That has some advantages like becoming a success story easier, but it’s also limiting in terms of growth chance and learning curve. In Vancouver it’s definitely easier to find like minded people and to get support for your ideas.”

Given her background, it was not surprising that Nilay chose to become the president of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club at Sauder School of Business. “We run through Sauder, but our events are open to all UBC students. Our target audience is composed of 3 kind of people: the ones with an entrepreneurial mindset, those with enthusiasm to innovate in a company and the ones who love to problem-solve. The kind of skills you can learn here are relevant, even if you aren’t interested in creating a start-up or commercialising your ideas you can still learn pitching your ideas or promoting your personal brand in the job market, the skills that matter in almost every career.”

Nilay’s fellow organizer Mustafa Sabban also arrived at Sauder after success in one career. Working as a Petroleum Engineer in Saudi-Arabia he began to take and interest in property development as an additional source of income and quickly found that his passion lay in business and innovation, which put him on the path to Vancouver and Sauder.

“When I arrived at Sauder I was really set on a career in property, but I’ve really seen so many other possibilities in tourism, lifestyle and business development. I think a lot of students are in a similar position, even grad students aren’t set on a path, so we try to put on events that aren’t specific to one sector of business. At one of our recent events a senior Product Manager took us through the whole process of marketing and developing a product and then working as an ambassador for your idea. You really got a sense of the enthusiasm you need to be a successful entrepreneur”.

Next month the Club is hosting their signature event for students across campus. In its 6th year, Reboot Startup Weekend is a unique business competition that gives students the chance to try an revive real orphan technologies developed at UBC.

Orphan technologies are ideas, technologies or products that have been abandoned by their developer so that for some reason, they can not make it to the market. The aim of the competition is to revive those technologies by finding ways to bring them into market (by repositioning, retargeting, resegmenting or even changing the usage/technology of the product).

Students have 48 hours over the course of one weekend to learn about one of these orphan technologies, develop a comprehensive business model and pitch their plan to a panel of judges. The participants will receive coaching and mentoring from local entrepreneurs and MBA alumni before presenting in front of the judges. The top three teams will receive awards.

“This year’s event is going to be bigger and better than last year.” Nilay says enthusiastically. “We have more mentors, more sponsors and more participants. The one thing we need is students to take part and to throw themselves into the experience. You don’t have to be studying business or even want to be an entrepreneur to join us, just want to problem solve and learn.”

Mustafa nods agreement. “There is a cash prize for top three teams but honestly the coolest things about last years Reboot was that the winning technology was picked up and will hopefully find it’s way to market. I’d love to see some of the ideas that participants come up with this year, finding similar success.”

“The coolest thing about last years Reboot was that the winning technology was picked up and will hopefully find it’s way to market. I’d love to see some of the ideas that participants come up with this year, finding similar success.”

Reboot Startup Weekend will take place on Friday, November 16th to Sunday, November 18th, 2018. In order to participate, contact Nilay Yuce ().

Study Room, Thea Koerner House, UBC

GSS Loft, Rm. 4202 of AMS Student Nest, UBC

Leon’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Thea’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Penthouse, Thea Koerner House, UBC