"Diversity our Strength" is the motto of our great city, as well as a testament to how Toronto is a city filled with a wealth of diversity. It houses 2.7 million immigrants- 47% of the total population, as well as over 50% of its population is part of a visible minority. Despite this, Toronto is increasingly unaffordable- especially for radicalized people, and students from lower-income schools, do not have access to information to prepare them after secondary school. My team and I want to fill in this gap, particularly geared towards the business field, as extracurriculars focused in this industry can cost a lot of money and time; resources many students don't have much of.
Welcome to Scarborough
Scarborough is where I and most of my team leads reside. It's a small yet diverse place, with tons of food options, and a fantastic community. I am proud to call this borough home, yet this borough has been neglected for quite some time. Whether it is the Scarborough RT fiasco and how we still don't have good transit in this area, or how it has more poverty than the rest of Toronto; given our roots in this great borough, we wanted to give back. Considering we are already interested in the field of business, why not there?
Let's be honest. Business is expensive
Let's say you apply to a business school. You'll need extracurriculars, which both take time and money. Many business students also take part in DECA, which though is an exceptional experience and awarding, costs upwards of 80 dollars just to attend. This price is extremely steep, but that just includes the ticket price- you'll still need to account for accommodations in downtown Toronto, money for their strict dress code, and time to study and practice. There are fantastic online business competitions, but we wanted to do something further.
How we're going to do things different
We aim for our conference to be accessible yet viable for the next generation, hence why we chose the topic of e-commerce. To achieve accessibility, we decided to do a $5 refundable deposit, which keeps prices low yet at the same time keeps attendance rates high. This conference will give a chance for lower-income students who might not think business is for them to participate in a case study, get to see workshops and learn more about numerous industries. Furthermore, participants will also get to meet friends and socialize, forging potential life-long relationships!
A team needs to include diversity and people from various socioeconomic backgrounds to hear everyone's perspective and form a rational decision on how to move forward. To do this, we must give everyone a chance, and we also allow them to find a potential path that they might not be interested.
I was like this too. I never knew that I would be so interested in business until I attended a free online business conference hosted by my school's business club. It later led me to get a leadership position in that club, where I get to contribute my own opinion and perspective, and get to hear the vast and interesting stories of all my team members, too. This helps us determine the best decision for a certain problem.
Let's give everyone a chance
Toronto is a great place for opportunities and to thrive. However, many don't get the chance to explore different fields due to money or their postal code. Our aim for this conference is to give at least someone a chance to learn, grow, and find a pathway in their adulthood because diversity and inclusion is our City's strength.