As a part of a five day Career Readiness Week, Conestoga students got a chance to attend an interactive session with Bruce Croxon, a well-known Canadian entrepreneur and a former star of TV series, Dragon Den.
Readiness Week was organized from Nov. 4 to Nov. 8. to help students build professional confidence.
Croxon is the founder of a dating website, Lavalife, and local entrepreneurs joined him on Nov. 6 at the Venue in Doon campus.
“I do not speak to a lot of students; generally, it is people who are business owners, but I think some of my life experiences might be helpful for the stage you guys are at,” said Croxon while addressing the students.
The 59-year-old entrepreneur and TV personality highlighted some hardships students can face, especially in the decision-making process for the future.
“The amount of pressure we are under is incredible. We need to make up our minds early and figure out what we need to do,” he said.
“ I am still working on it.”
Croxon’s conversation focused on his story behind becoming a digital pioneer by co-founding Lavalife in 1988.
He also talked about what it takes to be a successful businessman and how he ended up being a part of the Dragon Den show.
Lavalife was a tech start-up, and Croxon turned it into the widely known brand in online dating, with over two million users.
“It was 15-years of hard work, and I learned a lot, growing the company. It was sold to a public company in the U.S. for $180 million, which was at the time fantastic Canadian outcome,” he said.
“All of this led me to the Den show.”
He gave the audience an insight into the show.
“We had 240 business pitches in about 20 days. They were about 40 minutes in length and were edited down to seven minutes that you see on TV.”
Some key takeaways from his talk included: the importance of “open-mindedness” in business and the quest to learn new things.
“Think carefully, whom you go to work with, whom you hire, whom you decide to take money from; (it) is enormously important.”
Around 60 students, more than half of whom were from the business school attended the event and got a chance to meet with other local entrepreneurs including Jade Billo, an owner of Big Liss Yoga, Chef Thompson Tran from Wooden Boat Food, and David Gardner who owns Plato’s Closet in Cambridge.
Billo’s message to the upcoming entrepreneurs is, “Just go for it, especially as early as you can, as cheaply as you can, and if it fails, it fails.”
Daniel Paun, a first-year student of International Business Management, aspires to be a successful businessman and looks forward to attending more events like this one.
“It is interesting to have personalities like Bruce Croxon and be able to talk to people I don’t see in class regularly is fun,” Paun said.