UBC student earns a top spot with Canadian entrepreneurial program
Steve Buzinski, a fourth-year Bachelor of Management student at UBC's Okanagan campus, is one of a select number of undergrads from across Canada participating in The Next 36: Canada's Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative, an elite business program which aims to launch the careers of the country's most promising and innovative students.
Buzinski competed with more than 1,300 undergrads from across Canada in a rigorous national selection process to earn one of the 36 coveted spots. The program runs from December 2010 to August 2011 and gives student hands-on experience launching new product ventures.
"It's such a cool and exciting opportunity," says Buzinski. "This May, I move into residence at the University of Toronto to live with 35 other bright, creative minds from across Canada. All of these people are incredibly interesting and talented. I'm excited and very humbled to work with all of them."
Over four months, the participants take a full course-load of award-winning classes within the specialized area of entrepreneurship, and will be introduced to and mentored by some of Canada's most accomplished business minds.
Each of the 36 students receives a $25,000 scholarship that covers the entire cost of participating. They have been grouped into teams of four or five, and each team has been provided with $50,000 seed capital enabling them to build a viable business by inventing, launching and selling a new product or service focused on the mobile communications environment.
The students are working with their teams remotely until the end of the current academic year, after which they will live together at the University of Toronto's Massey College to complete the remaining 16 weeks of the program. At the end of August, the teams' businesses will be judged by a panel of investors to determine which group has developed the most successful venture.
The other three members of Buzinski's team live in Ontario. He says it's been a challenge but he has been conferencing through Skype and other resources they have been given.
"Going to Toronto and being together will really let us hit the ground running," says Buzinski, hinting their project involves an application that tends to a Canadian student demographic.
"We've been crunching ideas since December -- working on the creation process, implementing market research, creating business plans and learning everything about the mobile landscape we can, specifically regarding smart phone application in Canada and the world."
Buzinski anticipates The Next 36 program will bring him outside his comfort zone, and he is looking forward to pushing himself and expanding his boundaries.
"I want to take in all the information I can from the mentors, the other 35 and the experience,” he says. "I've been challenged and have already learned so much."
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