Hey everyone! My name's Daniel Lu, I'm in grade 11, and I had the pleasure of listening to two distinguished speakers at Illuminate x MidtownTO's regional conference and practice some business skills in an amazing Case Study competition. I was a bit anxious when signing out for Illuminate Midtown as I had never done a business competition before. However, my doubts quickly evaporated with the first keynote speaker! The knowledge and skills I gained from experienced entrepreneurs was simply amazing! My experience with Illuminate was unparalleled and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
Salim Naran - SAVVYY
Sal gave a very insightful presentation of fintech as a whole and its development within the Canadian market specifically. I had never before imagined that there were so many different startups all vying for a place in this rapidly evolving, but profitable market. He gave many great stats and easy to understand explanations! As someone who took a very unconventional path before starting his own smart business, Sal's experiences were really enlightening to listen to.
Razor Suleman - Entrepreneurship
One of the key takeaways I had from Razor's presentation is that the role of the entrepreneurship himself/herself is one of the most important aspects of a successful venture. You can't simply hire someone else to manage stuff for you and hope the business turns out okay. Moreover, Razor taught us that it's important to maintain ownership and an active stake in your businesses. Venture capital and other funding can take away your ability to build a mean, lean startup and hinder your own success/profit.
Now, onto the case competition!
The competition was an awesome opportunity for us to apply everything we learned from the speakers in one hour! We created a cool solution to help increase profits in supermarkets and restaurants through "smart AI stocking" while also reducing food waste. Alina even helped us learn the term "social-enterprise model" to describe our startup. Overall, it was nerve wracking to present in front of a distinguished panel of current Deloitte analysts but it was really fun! I even learned a ton about AI modelling and subscription based pricing from my own teammates.
In conclusion, Illuminate was a super amazing way to learn about entrepreneurship in a fun, rewarding way. It also offered a ton of exposure to invaluable knowledge and current entrepreneurs/analysts/business stars!