So what does a student entrepreneur look like? Is it the picture of a business student in a suit professionally pitching to a team of senior executives? Is it the sight of an exhausted engineering student wearing jeans and a shirt sleeping in their campus lab? Whatever our views might be, there will be a student entrepreneur somewhere out there that fits into your picture of what a student entrepreneur is.
However, for this blog, I’d like to celebrate the achievements of one of our best Toronto student entrepreneurs. His name is Vincent Cheung and he’s a PhD student at UofT and the founder of Shape Collage, one of our clients. And, as of early May, he’s the winner of MaRS’ 2010 UpStart competition for the best business plan.
Shape Collage is a company that offers a computer software program that allows users to arrange photos in various creative and custom-shaped collages. Shape Collage has already had more than 1.5 million downloads from users in 200 countries in the span of about a year which is nothing less than amazing!
Anyone can argue with the numbers and how relevant those are but at the end of the day, Vincent has successfully created a company that has more than six figures in revenue, won multiple awards such as the Richard Ivey Business Plan Competition, been named the Ontario Regional Student Champion and he is now competing in the world’s biggest student business plan competition in Texas! It makes it all that much harder to argue against the download and membership numbers with Shape Collage’s six figure revenues, multiple awards and the fact that his company was always profitable from the start even when downloads were free! Not even Facebook can claim they were profitable to start! Whether we see Vincent in a business suit professionally pitching to a team of senior executives or sleeping, exhausted in his computer lab after working away at his software company, Vincent is indeed a great example of a student entrepreneur at its best.
Now imagine if all of our students out there realized the true potential of entrepreneurship and what it can hold for them in the same way Vincent saw it. We would be able to create that much more wealth and jobs for everyone to benefit! There is no doubt that we need to promote entrepreneurship to students in order to create a culture of entrepreneurship and we at MaRS are working hard to further the culture of student entrepreneurship through partnerships with universities and colleges in the hopes of creating more student entrepreneurs like Vincent.
Charles Lim is on the information and communication technology (ICT) Advisory Services team at MaRS. He provides support and business analysis to technology and energy sector start-ups. See more…