Student Success

Students take initiative to form entrepreneurship club

An idea hatched by Dhillon School of Business student Doyin Adepoju last summer has gained a strong foothold in a few short months. He had just taken Management 2800 — New Venture Start-Ups — with Bruce Thurston when the idea came to him.

“I thought we needed an entrepreneurship club in this school,” says Adepoju. “I am an entrepreneur and that’s what I’m in school for so, once I’m done my degree, that’s what I’m going to chase.”

He talked to Thurston about it and from there, was introduced to Steve Craig, director of external relations with the Dhillon School of Business and to Brandy Old, Agility program coordinator. Then he set about creating a team and contacted his friend Tabby Ndhlovu, also a Dhillon School of Business student. They added Tobi Dada, a kinesiology student, to the group and created an executive team of 11 to tackle the job of forming a club. While the U of L already has a club for social entrepreneurship in Enactus, the group wanted to make the club open to all kinds of entrepreneurship. Abs and Money Entrepreneurs was born.

Students interested in entrepreneurship attended the recent launch party of the Abs and Money Entrepreneurs student club.

They envisioned the club as a place for students to build a network of contacts, learn entrepreneurship skills and help them either land a job after graduation or start their own business.

“We believe anyone can be an entrepreneur as long as they have a vision and we believe that students should get the opportunity to get connected within their industry,” says Adepoju.

 “At the end of the day, whatever job you go to you’re going to have to learn how to connect with the different people,” says Ndhlovu. “We also want to provide help to students in whatever ways they need, whether it’s help with schoolwork or personal skills, we want to be able to give those resources to any of our members. We’re going to go above and beyond to find the perfect resource for them.”

Adepoju became the club’s president, Ndhlovu the vice-president and Dada, vice-president development. Along with other members of the executive, they’ve been busy getting Abs and Money Entrepreneurs up and running.

“We bring in speakers and we also have different workshops where we bring in people from different industries,” says Adepoju. “That way, students get practical experience and next semester we will enter a lot of competitions as a club, such as the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge. Our goal is to take those practical skills that we’ve been learning during the first semester and use them during the second semester. We’re also partnering with Enactus because they enter different competitions, too. That way, our members get those practical skills they need, like feeling confident enough to speak in front of a huge audience.

“We also had Jason Bacon (BMgt ’13) come to speak. He’s an entrepreneur strategist at ATB Financial. He talked about the first steps people need to take as an entrepreneur, basically, validating their idea and making sure that it’s what the public wants, not that you think it’s good.”

“Many people want to be entrepreneurs but no one ever tells them how to go about it and how much work they need to put in,” says Ndhlovu. “Nobody talks about the middle part of being an entrepreneur where you have to struggle and fall a thousand times, which is what we are trying to let our members know. They can be an entrepreneur but they should also know what it takes and everything that comes with it.”

They’d expected maybe 50 people at their first meeting but almost twice as many showed up. Abs and Money Entrepreneurs recently held a launch party, also well-attended, and has signed up more than 130 members so far.

“We knew that it was going to be impactful but we didn’t know it was going to be this impactful,” says Ndhlovu. “So many people attended our launch party.”

Despite the work, they admit they are having a good time.

“I’m loving it,” says Adepoju. “Every hurdle we’ve passed and the momentum we have right now, it’s hard to not be excited.”

“It feels like a family,” says Dada. “Some of us just met each other but it feels like we’ve known each other for a long time. It’s hard to see a team of 11 that gels so well.”

They are looking for additional members and have been putting the message out through social media like Instagram and Snapchat. They’ve also developed a website so people can sign up. The club’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at Markin Hall in Room M1090.

The club’s executive is also planning a formal gala — the An$ Money Ball — with dinner and dancing for Jan. 12. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

The club decided to donate 15 per cent of its profits from the gala to the U of L WUSC (World University Service of Canada) Club and its student refugee program and to the Global Partnership for Education, an international organization focused on getting all children into school.

“The reason we’re doing that is because we believe education is the way to sustainability and with sustainability comes innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Adepoju.