Global Entrepreneurship Week has always been a time when exciting things happen. Local communities of entrepreneurs and business leaders congregate to celebrate each other’s work and explore ideas together.
London’s BizInc hosted one of their Entrepreneur’s Night events in honour of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Students from Western University met local entrepreneurs as they gathered on campus to share ideas and stories. This time around, there were two mini-keynotes.
Larry Lau from ATMOS Marketing, an internet marketing company that was recently nominated for the London’s Business of the Year award in the Small Business category, spoke to students about how this is the perfect time for them to start a company—if anything does happen to go wrong at this time (which happens to the majority of startups), there’s less at stake than if there were mortgage payments, car loans, and a family to feed.
While most entrepreneurs are skeptics of the formal education system, Lau pointed out the advantage it offers: it’s a great chance to meet peers and potential strategic partners.
As he surveyed the room, Lau also advised students that if they don’t plan to put the work and hours into it, they shouldn’t waste their time with a startup. While most entrepreneurs and startup successes make the path seem smooth, it’s actually one that involves a lot of sacrifice. In this case, it could be a social life, school marks, or spending money.
Michael Lewkowitz from Igniter, an organization that creates digital and social technology, flipped his presentation and chose to involve the audience for the majority of his time on stage. As his presentation progressed, more and more hands went up, and he highlighted this fact: as soon as one entrepreneur or one startup shares an idea, the excitement becomes contagious. This event was more about sharing the excitement and spreading it to the London entrepreneurship community.
In retrospect, this idea brings up Andy Yang’s mention of community in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It serves as the mechanism that connects people, naturally sparking curiosity and questions.
Lewkovitz then asked the rest of the audience to list some of the biggest barriers preventing them from doing a startup right now. Finances, technology, and time were amongst many others obstacles that students brought up during this session.
Despite not having as developed infrastructures as neighbours Toronto and Waterloo, London’s entrepreneurial community is starting to blossom. Events like Entrepreneur’s Night and Startup Drinks are popping up throughout the town, which are connecting business leaders around London together.
As David Tubbs highlights in this article, community is the essential part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that allows startups like Vidyard to sprout out of Waterloo, or Interaxon to develop out of Toronto.
The London ecosystem is starting to take shape. Keep your eyes peeled for what may happen in this growing community of entrepreneurs, social change leaders, and artists.