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My tremendous time with Illuminate

Hi everyone! My name is Ashkan and I am a Grade 8 student at Upper Canada College. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x MidtownTO’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about Fintech and the great experience that I got on the day.


To start with we heard from Alina. She told us about her experience at university, IB school programs, etc. It was not only very helpful but very insightful on what the future will look like ahead. It was good to understand what the future and pathway are like ahead and to hear someone's story. It was a pleasure learning from someone with such knowledge. Her methods of teaching and telling us stuff were really interactive, special, and unique in a lot of ways. I felt that everybody was engaged, there were also challenges for craziest hair, etc to engage everybody in the conversation. Then we got a motivational talk from Salim Naran about Fintech. I found this especially interesting and Sal's story was also truly motivational. Sal told us about how he got fired twice before he found his love and passion for Savvy. I was not aware of how important fintech is to our banking systems before Sal spoke to us today. I was stunned by the fact that over 100 billion dollars are investing in fintech every single year. In addition to all of that, I learned about the history of our banking systems here in Canada. Sal also told us about how fintech is being used around the world. For example, in Europe, the governments are trying to push it out so it's used more. He also used graphs and statistics to back up his points and help us understand the concept better. Sal ended his presentation in a fabulous and inspirational way. Sal's advice is critical for anyone looking to achieve anything big. Think big, be passionate about what you are doing, collaborate with the right people, no excuses just work hard, etc.


The other guest speaker that I would like to touch on is Razor Suleman. He talked to us about his different companies and told us many different interesting stories. One of the main ones that stood out for me, was that a Wayne Gretzky card that he sold for cheap 30 or so years ago, was recently sold for one million dollars. This shows us the increased value of products over time and it shows us that everybody makes mistakes. He talked to us about keeping a low-budget business at first at this will help with the financial support. He also mentioned keeping your business to yourself when you first start off. This is because with other people there are many more things to deal with and you even risk being fired. He also told us the importance of having a passion for the thing that we are doing, just like Sal mentioned as well. He even told us a story of how one of his companies didn't reach its peak because he wasn't passionate about it.

For me one of the things that stood out was connections. Razor talked about the importance of connections and relationships to increase the size of your business and get a larger audience to work with.


To conclude I would like to thank Alina, Razor, Sal, for providing this wonderful experience for me today. I would also like to thank the regional heads who helped and supported this conference. I look forward to coming back in the future.