I recently attended Impact Entrepreneurship’s National Conference in Toronto, which upon reflection I can confidently say has been a formative experience for me. The conference is a forum for 300 selected delegates from High Schools and Universities across Canada to gather for two days of esteemed keynotes, interesting workshops and valuable networking. I met Cameron Herold (Co-Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK), Anthony Lacavera (CEO of WIND Mobile), Mark Rudock (most recently of Viigo), Razor Suleman (of I Love Rewards) and Albert Lai (of Kontagent) among countless others.
I also had the privilege of eating dinner at the Saturday evening gala with the founder of ShapeCollage, Vincent Chung. Vincent has created one of those products which solves a simple problem, and solves it really well. His company’s software creates professional-quality photo collages (like the name suggests) in forms of various shapes which have been used worldwide in everything from published books to (much to my surprise) KCS’s missions page.
Jonathan Kay, as the “Ambassador of Buzz” at Grashopper Group held a particularly interesting workshop on ‘New Marketing,’ leveraging the virility of the Internet and focusing on creating relationships with customers and would-be customers through modern communications tools.
An interesting side note is that this man was chiefly responsible for the wild popularity of a video on entrepreneurship that Grashopper created which hit the Internet in early 2009 – a video I watched probably due to his efforts in employing the new ideas, concepts and techniques he discussed in that workshop. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s below:
Grasshopper also recently launched a successful petition to Barak Obama to name November 19 (the last day of Global Entrepreneurship Week) as National Entrepreneurs’ Day in the US.
The importance of networking and creating a passionate, motivated team with good culture stand as themes which rang throughout Impact National Conference. I believe every keynote speaker touched on at least one aspect of these themes, some developing extensively their respective importance.
A few highlights from the Keynotes (click on the images for full articles):
Cameron Herod’s “Emotional Rollercoaster of Startups”
Mark Ruddock’s “What VCs Want”
Impact was founded by Kunal Gupta, a Shad Valley alumni and Waterloo Software Engineering graduate and founder of Polar Mobile. If you’ve used the TIME, Macleans, NBC, CBS, and a host of other Apps on your mobile device, you’ve used Polar’s platform.
The conference reminded me of a somewhat suppressed passion I have in entrepreneurship; in it’s true form. Perhaps unwittingly, it has always been my goal. Impact has brought that goal into sharper focus; it is this which I refer to as a formative experience. The ramifications will be lifelong.
Chance favours the connected mind. – Steven Johnson, TED