U of O students to boost social benefit of business at conference this weekend

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A group of students at the University of Ottawa is trying to make the world a better place through entrepreneurship.

(Stock image)

By Jacob Serebrin

And this weekend, they're spreading that message through a one-day event called the Legacy Conference.

“The goal of the day is to give every attendee information on the different types of entrepreneurship,” said Ajmal Sataar, the co-president of Enactus uOttawa.

It’s a local branch of international non-profit Enactus, which promotes entrepreneurship in an effort to make the world a better place.

Mr. Sataar says he hopes that everyone who attends the conference will feel “inspired and empowered to start their own enterprise.”

While the theme of the conference is the “triple bottom line” – that’s when a company is not only profitable but also creating a positive social and environmental business ecosystem – “it’s not just about for-profit businesses, it’s about enterprise,” said Mr. Sataar.

“You could have a not-for-profit that has a revenue-generating business model.”

The conference is targeted at students and other young people, said Mr. Sataar, who is in the fourth year of a finance degree at the Telfer School of Management.

“A lot of young people are hearing that there aren’t enough jobs,” he said. One of the solutions, he says, is entrepreneurship. But that won’t work if young people don’t know how to be entrepreneurs, he said.

That’s why the conference is focused on having attendees “learn from successful entrepreneurs.”

Among the speakers will be Vinod Rajasekaran, the executive director and co-founder of HUB Ottawa; Nick Quain, the co-founder and CEO of CellWand and Nazim Ahmed, who is the co-founder of CanvasPop.

The Enactus group at the University of Ottawa doesn’t just organize conferences though, said Mr. Sataar. The team also comes up with ideas to help local charities apply entrepreneurial lessons.

The group recently worked with a local organization that helps refugee women learn how to sew. He said the problem was that there weren’t enough jobs for people who had completed the program.

The Enactus uOttawa team suggested that instead of just providing training, the organization could start making products, creating jobs and lessening its need to fundraise.

That idea helped the team win two prizes at a competition where Enactus groups from Ontario universities competed on the quality of their ideas.

Tickets for the conference, which takes place Saturday at Ottawa City Hall, are $50 for students and startups and $100 for professionals.

Organizations: Telfer School of Management, CellWand, CanvasPop University of Ottawa

Geographic location: Ottawa, Ontario

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  • Legacy Team
    March 21, 2014 - 16:42

    The website for our conference is www.legacyottawa.ca and you can use promo code lega20 for $20 off! Email us at legacyconference@enactusuottawa.ca for any questions/concerns.