Last fall

SFU mentors mind Surrey high school students’ business

University program helps teens launch their own micro-businesses and learn entrepreneurial skills.

by Allen Tung

Thirteen high school students took their first steps into entrepreneurship thanks to a group of mentoring students at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.

In fall 2015, students with Enactus SFU worked with students from Surrey high schools to help them turn their ideas into micro-businesses through their pilot program, called Bright Ideas, led by program manager Ricky Au.

With the help of SFU student mentors and a $100 start-up loan, high school students created small businesses for selling a variety of wares, from scented candles using recycled jars, to cookie dough and cake pops.

Bright Ideas began its second cycle on Feb. 3. Eight new teams are currently planning their business ideas and will attend workshops to will learn about all aspects of business, receive feedback on their progress and gain presentation skills.

“Bright Ideas is a mini business incubator for high school students,” Winona Bhatti, president of Enactus SFU, a student group that promotes entrepreneurship and manages a slate of community-based, social enterprise-focused programs.

“We act as mentors for the students and also bring in speakers to motivate and help them to learn what makes a successful business.”

Last fall, three students from Kwantlen Park Secondary School launched a venture called Sweet Sensations.

Their product was a line of decorative mason jars filled with dry cookie mix to be used for baking or as kitchen-counter décor. They sold for $5.

Sweet Sensations had just six weeks to sell their product and repay their $100 loan. Not only did they meet their deadline, they also generated $477 in revenue.

“There’s a real buzz among these students once they see how good ideas have very real potential,” says Bhatti.

Ten per cent of students’ profit – once the loan is repaid – went to charity with the students keeping the rest. The Sweet Sensations team donated about $50 of their revenue to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

The students have since closed Sweet Sensations to focus on school, but are interested in pursuing business at SFU once they graduate.

With a membership of nearly 200 students, Enactus SFU oversees nearly a dozen programs, including Count on Me, a financial literacy program for at-risk youth, and Banner Bags, which has the mission of educating high school students on how they can be more environmentally friendly.

In January, Enactus SFU launched a new program, called Refresh, aimed at drying blemished fruit from grocery stores that would have otherwise been disposed. Their goal is to employ at-risk people and approach grocery stores to buy back the dried fruit.

Enactus SFU will be at SFU’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Surrey Open House on March. 2 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. to showcase Bright Ideas and their other innovative programs. Find them in Room 3290.

SFU Surrey to celebrate 50 years

Simon Fraser University will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an open house at its Surrey campus next month.

The March 2 event, set for 4:30-8:30 p.m. and expected to draw about 3,000 people, is to include interactive activities and information on programs offered at the campus while “celebrating SFU’s diversity and community connections,” according to a release.

Exhibits showcasing research and innovation – including digital art, wearable technologies and unmanned aerial devices – by faculty and students will be another highlight, along with a variety of cultural performances.

Located in Surrey centre for 14 years, the campus is home to more than 7,500 students, along with research in such fields as clean energy and health technology, and myriad community partnerships.

“SFU’s goal is to become Canada’s leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement,” said Matthew Grant, SFU’s community engagement director,

“Through this event we celebrate the myriad community-university partnerships that have resulted in enriched learning opportunities for students and amplified research accomplishments, and led to beneficial outcomes for organizations, businesses and residents, locally and beyond.”

The campus is located at 13450 102 Ave.

For more, visit www.sfu.ca/surrey/engage/visit-us/open-house.html

 

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