Key Components to Launching your Business

Staff Writer: Niki Non   |  Photo Credits: Becky Chang

Cue a rainy, Saturday morning at The Network Hub. In the hippest niche you will ever encounter is where Startup Studio, eProject’s 12-hour startup bootcamp, is being hosted. The creative space was meant to promote ideas – with hanging light bulbs in place of regular fixtures, an open area concept, and art pieces scattered across the studio. Students fuel their learning throughout the day with a constant flow of tea and coffee, as well as plenty of artisan bread to munch on. I had an inspiring day attending an event at the Startup Studio and talking to three others about their experience.

Kicking off the day was the first workshop: Idea Validation, led by Hussein Hallak. As a head instructor at Launch Academy, Hussein is an expert in building successful startups. In his presentation, he addresses the necessary and rudimentary tools to help structure your revolutionary idea. Some questions he addresses are:

  1. What is your Business Model, and how is it different from your Business Plan?
  2. What is the Lean Methodology?

Building off the basics was Fayaz Ashraf, a Senior Front End Engineer at Slack Technologies Inc. His area of expertise is in UI/UX Marketing, which essentially involves the digital marketing of your products. He addressed UX, or user experience, which involves the type of marketing scheme you’ll build, journey mapping, and lots of customer research. This is in contrast with UI, or user interface, which is the website that acts as the main platform hosting your product.

The third and final workshop was headed by Brittany Hobbs and Arpy Ashgraf. The duo from the marketing and advertising company PH1 cover Pitching: Turning Good Ideas Into Great Ones. This workshop provided a structured model for your business mission, following a Principle, Product, and Impact framework. Feedback is also essential to refining anything – from your pitch to your entire business!

I caught up with Celine Chen and Colby Evans, students and attendees of Startup Studio, as well has eProject’s very own Theo Guevara, to get their take on the event.


How would you explain the workshop in your own words?

Celine Chen

StartUp Studio was a day full of great, inspirational speakers and hands-on workshops that covered several aspects of what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to launch your own start-up. What I think was great about this event was that no matter what stage you were at in your entrepreneurship venture, whether you’ve started to work on a business plan or still had no idea what to do, there was something everyone could take away from the experience. It’s always been my dream to become an entrepreneur and StartUp Studio really kickstarted my drive to be proactive and seek out more opportunities.

Colby Evans

It was a very beneficial workshop that helped me learn the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur.

Theo Guevara

The workshops were designed to teach students real tangible skills that they can apply to their own business. Digital marketing, idea validation, and pitching are skills that aren’t taught very often in a classroom.


What was the most memorable part of the workshop?

Celine Chen

While there were so many amazing things I took away from Startup Studio, one of the most eye-opening pieces of advice that really changed my perspective was from Jayesh Parmar: he recommended that we work for a startup. I never saw the value of this because at Sauder, so many of us chase after internships and jobs at big name companies. At a startup, however, the experience is unparalleled as we would be able play an integral role in the company’s growth, learn all sorts of skills from doing various jobs, and have the potential to make significant impacts to the company’s success.

Colby Evans

A long but dense workshop with tons of information presented by successful entrepreneurs. One on one conversations with the professionals were available during the lunch and dinner breaks


What single characteristic of the speaker do you wish to adopt?

Celine Chen

All the entrepreneurs that shared their experiences with us had one characteristic in common: relentlessness. Each one had to go through several challenges and unpredicted problems before they reached success. They bootstrapped, worked incredibly long hours, cold-called potential clients and investors, survived on little funding, and failed again and again. However, their work ethic, passion, and drive were rewarded with the success they have today; and for me, that is incredibly inspirational.

Colby Evans

The most memorable speaker was Fayaz Ashraf because he offered unique strategies to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Theo Guevara 

What I admire most about the speakers is their ability to explain such complicated material in ways that anyone can understand. With any startup, the most important factor that leads to success is the people they recruit to join the team early. Conveying messages that are universally understood is crucial to reaching the right people.