Jumpstarting bright student ideas

Sep 11, 2012

Chantelle Buffie (centre), JumpStart program manager, and the JumpStart team

A group of Simon Fraser University students is at work helping their peers start businesses by “jumpstarting” their entrepreneurial thinking.

A new eight-week accelerator, called JumpStart, targets individuals with ideas that could be launched into businesses, providing support and resources. Five teams have been accepted into a pilot program.

“JumpStart is for students who are unsure about getting their ideas off the ground and simply don’t know the next steps,” says Chantelle Buffie, program manager and a student at SFU Surrey. “I was in that position last year – however, I was fortunate to be surrounded by amazing mentors. Jumpstart is my way of giving back.”

Beginning September 15, two local community entrepreneurs will lead the weekly Jumpstart sessions on topics specific to start-ups, such as product-market fit, sales and metrics, and pitching. Speakers include Rick Perreault (Unbounce), Devon Brooks (Blo Blow Dry), Amit Sandhu (The Ampri Group), and Narges Nirumvala (Executive Speak).

Interest in the idea is high. Buffie anticipated receiving up to 10 applications to start but had 25 in hand at the deadline, including two from graduate students.

“It shows there are a lot of aspiring student entrepreneurs out there with the next big idea in mind,” Buffie says.

JumpStart organizers hope the program inspires projects that could turn students into prospective candidates for the SFU Entrepreneur of the Year (SEY) award. SEY is the signature entrepreneurship program hosted by the not-for-profit organization, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).

For the past four years, the annual competition has recognized SFU students with established businesses, with previous winners including Milun Tesovic (www.metrolyrics.com) and Matias Marquez (www.buyatab.ca).

For more information on JumpStart and SFU Entrepreneur of the Year, visit www.sfusey.com

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