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Industry 4.0 and the Future of Entrepreneurship

Hey everyone! My name is Arjun Rastogi and today I had the pleasure of listening to two distinguished speakers at Illuminate x MidtownTO's regional conference discuss Fintech and the future of entrepreneurship. As a Year 11 student attending a primarily student-led conference, I had no idea what to expect, however, I was left with lasting messages and ideas that I will seek to apply to my future.

The first speaker was Salim Naran, the Founder and CEO of Savvy, a mortgage and lending solutions company in Canada's financial services industry. He noted that the Canadian banking system has changed very little over the scope of his 20+ year career, and how many companies have become complacent in offering poor User Experience and Interface as a result of this. Sal went on to discuss the implications of Industry 4.0, and revolutionary technology with the potential of industry upheaval. He additionally explained how heavy government revolution has left the system ripe for a new change, and that disruption is needed to accelerate growth within the industry. He concluded by stating that the key to entrepreneurship is making everything easier for the consumer to access and eventually consume and that regardless of the industry, startups should seek to provide services that bring ease of mind to consumers to be successful.

The second keynote speaker featured was Razor Suleman, a successful serial entrepreneur and CEO/Co-Founder of Elevate, the world’s fastest-growing technology festival. Before discussing his success in entrepreneurship, he explored his beginnings in the practice, ranging from marking up and selling hockey cards as a kid, to selling university merch and clothing in direct competition against the university book store. He pointed out that "the big guys", or companies dominating industries become "fat and lazy" with little reason to innovate. Razor's primary principle throughout his career was seeking to provide a service "better, faster, cheaper" than these big guys, which gave him many competitive advantages.

He would then move on to his time at Achievers, where he founded and built a company earning $100m+ in revenue before being acquired for $150m by a group of Silicon Valley investors. He elaborated on the startup of a business, and how everyone should pursue their passions. Razor said that the Product/Founder Fit is "the most important thing to consider when starting a business", and that your success will be driven by your commitment to the company. He concluded by stating that as long as you remained driven and passionate about your startup, equity dilution should never become a possibility in your business' growth phase as you will essentially be "giving away your baby".

Both Razor and Sal took different paths and had different careers in entrepreneurship, yet they applied principles they learned along the way to both achieve success in their respective fields. The central idea of "better, faster, cheaper" and "making it easier for the consumer" has been pioneered by companies across a variety of industries, most notably Amazon and Walmart. What struck me most, however, was the passion and drive both Razor and Sal had for their startups, and how they would have not "hustled" if it wasn't for their desire to see their creations succeed. While I had understood that having an interest in what you pursue was important, I had no understanding of the direct connection between the two. Sal and Razor allowed me to see how being interested in what you do is directly proportional to your success, and that without that passion, the drive to be better than competitors won't be there.

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