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April 30th, 2024
How entrepreneurship@UBC Can Fuel Your Startup Dreams

How entrepreneurship@UBC Can Fuel Your Startup Dreams!

Ever dreamt of turning your brilliant idea into a thriving business? Maybe you've got a game-changing platform idea or a revolutionary product that'll disrupt an entire industry. But we know how daunting the path to entrepreneurship can seem, with endless questions and hurdles at every corner.

However, with the right tools and resources at your fingertips, you too can embark on your entrepreneurial adventure. We recently had the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurship@UBC, your one-stop destination for all things startup. They recognize the barriers entrepreneurs can face, and have the programs and resources to support at every step of the journey.

"Aspiring entrepreneurs need to focus on building a strong network and embrace challenges as opportunities for innovation"

Read on to hear from Michelle Sklar, Head of Venture Growth Strategies at entreprenuership@UBC, and recent winner of a BC Business Women of the Year Award. Michelle has 25 years worth of extensive experience in building and scaling businesses. Her passion for fostering entrepreneurial thinking, and her belief in the power of networking & storytelling in business inspired her to join the entrepreneurship@UBC team.

Explore how Michelle and her team at entreprenuership@UBC propels empowers aspiring leaders like you to navigate the exciting, yet challenging, road to building a thriving business.

michelle sklar

         Michelle Sklar, Head of Venture Growth Strategies, entreprenuership@UBC

(Please note all responses have been edited for readability and concision)

Q: In your opinion, what are some significant roadblocks in an entrepreneur's journey and how does entrepreneurship@UBC help mitigate/resolve some of them?

A: From limited access to networks, lack of mentorship, and insufficient resources to navigate the complexities of starting and scaling a business, an entrepreneur’s journey can take many shapes. Entrepreneurship@UBC addresses these challenges by providing a rich and vibrant ecosystem where entrepreneurs can make vital connections and access mentorship from experienced professionals with different backgrounds including sales and marketing, manufacturing, fundraising, IP and more.

Q: What are some specific initiatives at entrepreneurship@UBC that entrepreneurs should keep a look out for?

A: We host monthly networking events such as our Women’s Innovators Meetups, and events focused on supporting underrepresented communities through the Black Advisory Hub. These initiatives offer opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals, gain valuable insights, and access resources tailored to their unique needs.

Q: Can you share a memorable success story or milestone from your time at entrepreneurship@UBC?

A: There are so many to list! One of my favourite milestones will certainly have to be our marquee events. For instance, our Entrepreneurship Immersion Week (EIW) happens annually and brings together storytellers and movement builders from across our ecosystem to share their insights on the strategies and tactics that helped them transform their ideas into impact. Last year, we welcomed over 500 participants across 3 days and 25 sessions to our 2023 Immersion Week. Each year, we get bigger and better and can’t wait to share what’s in store for 2024.

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Q: What initiatives or projects are you currently working on/involved with at A: entrepreneurship@UBC that you're excited about?

A: Our big project right now is our Investor Showcase coming up on May 7th. This event highlights 17 high-potential, investible ventures across a range of industries currently going through the entrepreneurship@UBC program. Our ventures have participated in rigorous training and mentorship to help prepare them for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship as they endure the riskiest stages of venture creation: building networks, establishing market traction and accessing capital. A company’s investor is one of the most important relationships they will have, and we’ve seen our innovation ecosystem come out and champion our founders time and time again as they embark on this next stage of their venture-building journeys. I’m excited to be coming together again on May 7th to witness their journey to date.

Q: Winning the BC Business Award is a significant achievement. What does this recognition mean to you?

A: Community building is not a one person job, it really takes a village of a supportive community to bring everyone together. I’m pleased to have been recognized with this award, but this award truly goes to my community who foster innovation, diversity and inclusion.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, who are just starting out?

A: I think aspiring entrepreneurs need to focus on building a strong network and embrace challenges as opportunities for innovation – attending events such as Vancouver Startup Week is a great start! I also strongly believe in the importance of storytelling and would encourage entrepreneurs to leverage their unique experiences to create meaningful stories and connections with their audience.

Q: Finally, what's the north star for the future of entrepreneurship@UBC and its impact on the local community and beyond?

A: What a great question! At entrepreneurship@UBC, we are propelling the incredible innovations coming out of UBC into the world, working towards democratizing entrepreneurship, helping ventures build strong brands and make the right connections to propel their venture forward.

Thank you Michelle for sharing her incredible perspective, the rest of the entreprenuership@UBC team for their input. We're thrilled to have them on board as one VSW 2024's main venue sponsors and are honoured to have the opportunity to feature them. Look out for many events we're excited to host in their Robson square space during the week.

Ticket Reminder! Spots are filling up, so grab your VSW 2024 tickets today.

The world awaits your groundbreaking ideas! As Michelle emphasized, a strong network and the ability to craft a compelling narrative are crucial tools in any entrepreneur's kit. With its diverse ecosystem of mentors, resources, and events such as upcoming Investor Showcase on May 7th, entrepreneurship@UBC is ready to equip you with everything you need to transform your vision into reality!

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