Returning for a third year on September 21st, the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto St. George campus, hosted Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations—the second installment of a three-day event. The Entrepreneurship 100 events, as described on event’s official website, are “a live-only experience, connecting curious people with diverse entrepreneurs.”

The first part of Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations took place on September 21st and was headed by Nat Korol—founding partner of Hyphen Co., Sam Dumcum—trainer at I-CUBE UTM, and Fotini Iconomopoulos—owner of Forward Focusing. As Leo Mui, manager of entrepreneurship initiatives at the Impact Centre describes to The Medium, the event was “focused on people who wanted to work for themselves as well as others.” Mui adds that the event was designed for current students, recent graduates, and alumni, so that “they could get a better outlook of the market and receive guidance for setting up their own businesses.” The speakers for the event were Mayrose Salvadore—co-founder and current executive director of Pueblo Science, Ian Adamson—owner of Greenhouse Microgreens, and lastly, Morgan Wyatt—co-founder and CEO of Greenlid Envirosciences.

In an email to The Medium, Salvadore describes her journey towards entrepreneurship, and her role in the Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations.

“I started Pueblo Science after finishing my Ph.D. in Chemistry at U of T because I wanted to help remote communities like the place I grew up in, in the Philippines. I believe that improving the quality and access to good basic science education can end poverty in remote areas of the world,” says Salvadore. She describes how access to basic science education has the potential to improve the health and economic prospects of communities. Along with access however, Salvadore describes how education also has to be effective: “Many children are being taught basic science in a very theoretical way, as a result, they think that science is abstract, hard and not relevant to their daily lives. As a scientist, I know that science is about understanding the world around us and it is our duty to make sure that the next generation follows our footsteps and be able to solve problems facing their generation.”

As part of the Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations, Salvadore was part of a panel discussing social entrepreneurship. As a co-founder of a charity, she shared what inspired her to launch and propel the charity to reach seven countries in seven years. The charity has impacted 3,000 teachers and 250,000 students so far. “I’ve been lucky to be able to benefit from many generous volunteers, willing to put in their time, expertise and resources to help Pueblo Science further its mission of educating the next generation of innovators. Being a speaker is one of the ways that I can give back. I also hope to inspire some of the students or alumni attending the event to start their own social enterprise, or support the existing ones by volunteering,” says Salvadore.

In the context of discussing the challenges and benefits of social entrepreneurship, Salvadore says: “I will focus on the lessons I’ve learned starting and leading a charity. Also, I will discuss whether becoming a charity is really the best path for an enterprise to be sustainable and grow. Is it advisable to immediately obtain your charitable status as soon as you start your social enterprise? Finally, I will talk about becoming a social millionaire. I call one person impacting a million others, a social millionaire. That is very possible in today’s connected world.”

Salvadore hopes the event will “inspire the students to take action and help make our world a better place.” She further states: “They can start their own social enterprise or volunteer with the existing ones, like Pueblo Science. It will also allow them to learn from entrepreneurs and get […] validation for their ideas. Talking to someone who has already faced all the roadblocks can really make a huge difference for someone just starting off. Role models and mentors are priceless.”

The panelist discussions for this week, as Mui mentioned, also highlighted “the degree to which business skills are needed in a not-for-profit organization to ensure smooth sailing.” In contrast to the events organized  in previous years, Mui describes how “this event is informal in comparison to other entrepreneurship events hosted around the city and panelists [this year] hail from a diverse background and are a mere four or five years older than the attendees, so that they have a better chance to relate to them and ask for advice.”

Apart from the advice given by the panelists and questions being answered, Mui also hopes that the attendees and panelists enjoy their time, and that “they gain insight on the skills and attitudes needed by entrepreneurs […] like time-management, self-drive, and tenacity”.

The last panel discussion is scheduled for October 5, and is  titled “Is my idea any good? A conversation on conceiving, assessing, and pivoting business ideas” that will, as Mui describes, target “those who want to improve their business idea or make sure that their ideas will bear fruit in the future.”

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