Behind The Scenes With The Next 36’s Student Entrepreneurs: Week 1


Have you ever considered starting your own company while still in school? Have you wondered what it would be like to take an idea from inception to a real life product?

Join us every week for an inside look into the experiences of four students at The Next 36, giving you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a student entrepreneur.

The goal of The Next 36 is to help launch the careers of 36 of Canada’s most promising and innovative undergraduates.

“When I heard of The Next 36, I knew this was the program for me as it was a perfect opportunity to gain entrepreneurial skills through both a rigorous academic program, and through practical application – a blend which could not be found anywhere else.” —Salima Hirji, third year sociology student, University of British Columbia

The program identifies these students through a rigorous national selection process, and give them the academic foundation, practical skills, role models and networks to become Canada’s next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

Students should expect to be pushed out of their comfort zone, gain skills vital to entrepreneurs and nation builders and have their expectations for themselves increased dramatically.

Every week at The Next 36 brings its own flavour of challenges and rewards. As a finance student, I was extremely excited for our classes this week on Entrepreneurial Finance, which was taught by Harvard MBA professor Ramana Nanda.

For those with a commerce degree, its really intriguing to see the difference between evaluating the success of a large, established company versus a new start-up.

While it seems exciting to raise capital from angels and venture capitalists, we have learned that you need to do a significant amount of due diligence to effectively navigate the world of venture-backed financing.

In parallel, Pilwon Huh, co-founder and Development Lead, has been managing a team of developers, leading to our completion of a major milestone in our development cycle.

Here are a few questions that our closest followers have been asking us throughout the summer. If you have a question that you would like to be answered that we haven’t covered, we would be happy to answer it if you leave it in a comment below!

Why did you join The Next 36?

Salima HirjiSalima Hirji (Calgary, AB)

Third year sociology student – University of British Columbia

When I heard of The Next 36, I knew this was the program for me as it was a perfect opportunity to gain entrepreneurial skills through both a rigorous academic program, and through practical application – a blend which could not be found anywhere else.

Further, I was excited to be placed in a team composed of individuals from different backgrounds, providing a chance to learn from their talents and unique points of view.

The addition of experienced mentorship to the program was also a huge draw, as rarely would I get an opportunity to interact with reputed Canadian business leaders on such a personal level.

What has been your favourite class so far?

Pilwon HuhPilwon Huh (Toronto, ON)

Fourth year computer science student – University of Waterloo

Coming from a non-business background, I have been excited for every class as each one is teaching me something completely new.

The Economics of Entrepreneurship (taught by Professor Reza Satchu, co-founder of The Next 36), has been especially valuable to me as it focuses not only on studying successful entrepreneurial ventures but routinely exposes me to real life business leaders and entrepreneurs, allowing me to learn from their experiences to increase my probability of success in the future.

How do you separate personal life and business life when you live together?

Daniel RodicDaniel Rodic (Toronto, ON)

Fourth year finance and economics student – Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto

Sometimes it’s difficult to prevent one from spilling over to another, as our living room serves as both our primary meeting room and our place to socialize with one another. While it wouldn’t be surprising to see start-ups founded by roommates in university, this isn’t the norm within the start-up community today.

As a team, we have an understanding that as deadlines approach (which happens very frequently), we need to focus on driving results – but we also have made a conscious effort to ensure that each one of us enjoys our own personal time when necessary. Creating a balance between the two is necessary to ensure that our venture succeeds.

What is it like to work with experienced mentors throughout the program?

Amy BerardAmy Berard (Kamloops, BC)

Fourth year marketing and public relations student – Thompson Rivers University

As students in The Next 36, we have all established a strong network of contacts through each of our activities. But the mentors we have access to through this program is an opportunity none of us would ever have experienced this early into our careers.

Our advisors are extremely successful Canadian entrepreneurs who bring guidance to our venture and a perspective that has helped us shape our vision. They have pushed us incredibly hard at times to see what we can accomplish, but they have also been our strongest advocates within The Next 36.

It is incredibly inspiring and humbling to work with such skilled individuals and be fortunate enough to receive their expertise and time as we create our first venture.


We can’t wait for next week!

About the author

Daniel Rodic is a third year finance student in the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto, a member of The Next 36, and co-founder of DineWithMe, a mobile venture founded out of The Next 36 that makes it easier for you to eat out with your friends. Daniel has experience in project management and team leadership in the non-profit, public and private sectors. While his expertise is steeped in strategy consulting through his role as President of the Rotman Commerce Consulting Association, Daniel has gotten exposure to the technology side of business as an Analyst in Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services practice. He has since been recognized as a promising entrepreneurial mind, advancing past 700 students in Canada to earn the title of “Impact Apprentice”.