Toronto, a vibrant city

Toronto is empowering youth with a special edition Startup Weekend in May 2015 #SWTOYouth

The Back Story
On a crisp Canadian morning in January 2015, two siblings sat down to a refreshing breakfast of cornetto with jam and cappuccino. As the aroma of freshly ground beans wafted through the air, the sister leaned into the mahogany table and excitedly explained her life-changing experience as a volunteer and participant during Startup Weekend the prior year.

“It was such an empowering experience to bond and network with talented people from across Toronto. With only 52 hours to share ideas, form a group, and launch a lean startup, it was as if every team member knew their purpose and was committed to delivering the minimum viable product by Sunday. We pivoted five times, used more sticky notes than I’ve ever used in my entire life, and delivered an awesome presentation to the judges. I want to give back to this community. Are you in?,” said the sister, a digital marketer in the online higher education space.

Her brother, a talented educator, eagerly nodded his head and replied: “That’s awesome! You know, my students always have a difficult time learning about high-level business concepts. This sounds like an excellent way for people to learn more about starting their own business and what it takes to be an entrepreneur while working in a team-based environment. Do you think that this group might be willing to host an event for youth?” And so began the journey of two Canadian siblings to introduce the concept of Startup Weekend to the youth of Toronto.

The Issue: Retiring Boomers & Competitive 21st Century Job Market
With over 5 million residents, Toronto is a booming, multicultural city with over 140 languages and dialects spoken. Half of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada, with 22 percent of the population aged 15 to 24. With an alarmingly high number of boomer business owners reaching retirement age, only a few have developed successions plan for their businesses.

While the Canadian curriculum provides students with a basic theoretical framework of business, it does not provide youth with sufficient transferable skills to succeed in the 21st century job market where innovation, teamwork, flexibility and communication are valued. Many parents are looking outside the classroom to ensure their children are ready to thrive in the future where many careers do not yet exist.

The Solution: Inspiring Entrepreneurial Greatness in Youth
This May, the two siblings and their inspired organizing committee will lead Startup Weekend Toronto – Youth Edition. This event aims to empower Grade 7 to 12 students to learn transferable business skills through Startup Weekend’s proven experiential, hands-on learning model.

By providing youth with the lessons of entrepreneurship, we can set them up with a competitive advantage later on in life. This special edition will focus on raising enough sponsorship to keep event ticket costs affordable and the event venue centrally located within the city to encourage maximum accessibility for everyone.

Our local community and youth will also benefit by:

● Fostering entrepreneurial skills such as innovative thinking, effective communication, and teamwork
● Building strong community and peer connections through networking and event participation
● Developing transferable skills with a strong emphasis on experiential education
● Understanding business concepts such as ideation, lean launch, pivoting, product development, minimum viable products, presentations, customer validation, and more
● Enhancing students resumes for future educational (i.e. post-secondary applications) and professional endeavors
● Celebrating Toronto’s diverse pool of talent and future entrepreneurs

Your Awesome Contribution: Every Small Action Helps
While sipping their cappuccinos that crisp January morning, the two siblings formed Startup Weekend Toronto – Youth Edition. With a simple action, you can join us in changing the lives of Canadian youth by:

● Spreading the news about our special edition event using the hashtag: #SWTOYouth
● Connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter
● Emailing us at torontoyouth@startupweekend.org

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What To Do When Things Go Wrong

What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Dear L Think Crew:

You’ve put a lot of hard work and planning into preparing for today. You are excited about the opportunities that this will bring your career or personal life. Everything has to go just as planned or scheduled to ensure you don’t lose focus. And then disaster strikes! You forgot a key document, a family member says something terrible, or you have toilet paper dangling from your pants in front of an important group at work. Now what?

As Murphy’s Law states: ‘If it can go wrong, it will!’ But there are some techniques you can use to help you cope when things don’t go as planned.

Pain Is Part of Growth
When we are being pushed by external factors in new directions, it can be incredibly painful. In the moment, we may not realize that we are being forced to re-evaluate our perspective, expand our viewpoint, or just grow in an area that we may not be comfortable with. Embrace this struggle, be patient, and learn from this experience.

This Too Shall Pass
Remember that we all pass through each moment in life with the ability to embrace the opportunity to make a difference. If things are going well, enjoy it. If they are not going so well, learn what you can, but realize that this moment too shall pass. Remember to smile and laugh through the journey.

Your Scars Are An Achievement
When you go through a painful process or learn a difficult lesson, there may be emotional scars left over from this experience. Many times it can be easy to worry or be fearful about this scarring. Instead, embrace it as an achievement or milestone that you have passed. You will be sure not to repeat it.

Be Happy, Be Yourself
It is easy to forget that we only have one opportunity to live our lives. Others may be having a bad day, feeling under the weather or just like to drag other people down into their negativity, but don’t give into this. Be happy, be yourself, focus on your goals. Be enthusiastic about the moment and smile, while others worry and frown. You can’t control other people’s feelings, but you can control your own.

Repeat A Mantra
To stay centered and focused when things are not going well, repeat one of these four mantras inspired by the Tiny Buddha blog:

*Keep your head up and your heart open
*Go slowly
*Don’t sweat the small stuff

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What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women

What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women

Dear L Think Crew,

Mandraa TV recently held their launch event by inspiring ‘Wild Wealthy Women’ Seminar held on March 1, 2015 in Scarborough, Ontario. Founder and entrepreneur Sumu Sathi focused on inspiring female leaders in social entrepreneurship. I felt empowered by this event and I wanted to share some key messages from the keynote speakers to inspire you on your path towards leadership and entrepreneurship.

Dare To Dream
Lita Mae Button, also known as Bad Ass Button (@BadAssButton), shared her personal struggles to find her true calling in life – professional boxing. She stressed the importance of daring to dream to ensure that the best thing you do in life is succeed. You cannot match the feeling of empowering yourself. You must foster a mindset of fearlessness to ensure you keep pushing forward through any obstacles that might appear in your way. Lita’s mentioned five D’s to her success: Dedication, Drive, Determination, Desire and Discipline.

You Are What You Believe
Leyla Razheghi, Business Strategist with DivaGirlPreneur (@DivaGirlPreneur) inspired us to focus our talents so we can build our empire. People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. What you do simply proves what you believe. To build your empire, ensure that you focus on finding your passion, living a life of excitement, finding a network of positive and passionate people who are willing to invest in you, network yourself, be persistent, take risks, trust your gut, and above all build a community to give back.

Network Like A Pro
Manjula Selvarajah (@manjaselva), engineer turned journalist, has truly demonstrated professional success in her multi-faceted career. During her interactive workshop, she shared her keys to success – effective networking. To help change our perspective on networking, she encouraged us to expand our posse beyond our current community and company. At networking events, focus on what you can do for other people with no expectations in return. Have one specific career goal per event, but also have fun and become a connector. Start small, make meaningful connections by thinking about what you can offer the other person, create a system to help keep track of and connect with key contacts, and invest in doing a little networking every week. Finally, focus on giving and sharing what you know without fear.

Seek Knowledge To Succeed
Ruby Latif (@rubylatif), also known as Toronto Mayor John Tory’s secret weapon, empowered us with tools and resources to help us become better leaders and entrepreneurs. As a business and political consultant, she is passionate about grassroots community engagement and creating connects with diverse communities in Toronto. Her key tips included: reaching out to Enterprise Toronto, Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE Business), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), MaRS, and Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) to learn more about starting your own business.

Savour Your Food
We had the opportunity to sample some delicious food and savour our drinks in our workshop. The food and drinks were provided by:

*Chanile Vines from Vinesplay treated us to tips on how to savour our wine,
*Esther Williams from The Frosted Cake Boutique, and
*Chef Ramanaa from Shiraz Gourmet showed us how to add some Tuscan-flavour to our Italian food with fresh ingredients and an eye to detail.

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