Studentpreneur aims to empower and encourage all University of Saskatchewan students’ entrepreneurial pursuits by backing them with educational and financial support.
The new project is led by Abhineet Goswami, U of S Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance. The initiative will have four components over the year: speaker sessions geared towards skill development, a physical market for students to sell their product(s), focus groups that will answer students’ specific questions and a connection summit where students can pitch ideas to the broader community and win financial support.
Goswami says he wanted to create an inclusive space to provide support for students with business ideas. He felt that, other than the Edwards School of Business, there was not enough support for students to realize their business goals.
“[The project’s goal] is bringing increasing opportunities for students to start businesses to empower themselves,” Goswami said.
He is currently receiving input regarding what students are wanting from Studentpreneur via a survey before he plans to launch the project.
“I am expecting answers from the survey,” Goswami said. “So whatever response I get from surveys, sessions will be based on those survey answers.”
The speaker sessions will be the first component and will focus on skill development more generally. Goswami says they will be open to all students, whether or not they own a business.
The physical market, pandemic permitting, will happen on campus with mentors helping students with marketing and sales.
“This can really give [the students] an idea of what they need to serve,” Goswami said, referring to teaching students how to cater their products to the market.
On-demand topics will be covered in the group sessions, where students from all backgrounds will be able to connect after starting their businesses. These sessions, being on a smaller scale than the speaker sessions, will allow students to explore ideas and questions specific to their area of interest.
“There is a lot of coaching that is hidden,” Goswami said. “The small sessions will be about running the business.”
Inspired by Dragon’s Den, Goswami is planning on holding a connection summit. Students will pitch their ideas to judges to win financial support and one-on-one training sessions with U of S alumni.
Goswami aims to take a holistic and diverse approach with Studentpreneur. He wants students to not only walk away with monetary gain, but with the knowledge and skills necessary to take that gain further.
“It will also help students to expand their horizons by getting connected to other business leaders,” Goswami said. “They’re not just getting money, [but] they’re also getting training for their business.”
Having designed the Studentpreneur logo himself, Goswami describes the two wheels as interconnected, representing education and work, whereas the dollar sign represents the monetary value of that connection.
“Your education is working together with your job opportunities,” Goswami said. “Rather than finding jobs, [you] will be more able to create job opportunities for [yourself] and for others.”
Goswami ultimately wants to enrich students’ university experience and reminds them that their “journey has just begun.”
“Students really feel that they’re lost in university and sometimes they really want to start [doing something],” Goswami said. “This initiative can really help them to start their journey. So, their university journey or their life journey … has just begun.”