Do you have those friends that you just KNOW are going places? They’re empowering, kick-ass, know what they want and how to work for it. Our girl Lauren (or LD as we call her) is a business STAR — and does all of this with a smile on her face. We think you all deserve to know her, so let’s get started!
We sat down with Lauren, co-president of Startup Laurier, to talk all things Laurier and to learn more about the club and their upcoming event, “Entrepreneur’s Exchange,” happening Feb. 1.
Name: Lauren DeSouza
Program and Year: 3rd Year BBA, Entrepreneurship Option
Source: Sarah McCann
Ok. Lightning Round…
Fave Laurier study spot: Fourth floor of Laz Hall
Best Laurier memory: Too many to decide, but definitely a toss-up between joining Startup Laurier and roommate memories from each year of university
Fave bar: Duke of Wellington
Fave class taken at Laurier: Entrepreneurship 200
Homecoming or St. Paddy’s: Homecoming!
Biggest role models: Michelle Obama
We know your biggest focus here is Startup Laurier. Can you tell us a bit about what Startup Laurier is?
Absolutely! Startup Laurier is Laurier’s entrepreneurship club that is focused on inspiring students to make the leap to become an entrepreneur and give them all the resources and mentorship they need to get there. Living in a technology hub like Kitchener-Waterloo, there are an abundance of opportunities for students to take an idea and launch a business. We aim to host events, competitions and programs that inspire everyone’s inner entrepreneur.
Tell us about your upcoming event, Entex.
Entrepreneurs Exchange is our flagship event of the year that brings together the entrepreneurial spirit of Laurier and KW under one roof. We have a night of networking, workshops to build entrepreneurial skills and a speaker panel to inspire students that entrepreneurship is a very viable option. This year’s theme is building blocks — we’re hoping to provide opportunities that will be a step towards success for each and every attendee. EntEx will be held on Feb. 1 at 5:30 pm, so if you’re looking to make a new connection or be inspired by extraordinary entrepreneurs, we would love to see you there.
P.S. one of the speaker panels is a powerful female entrepreneur who is also a Laurier grad — come support her!!
You can buy tickets for the event here.
How has being a part of this club shaped your experience at university?
Being a part of Startup Laurier for the past two and a half years has provided me more opportunities than I have ever imagined. It has allowed me to build close relationships, meet exceptional people at Laurier and in KW and has even inspired me to start my own business — I can’t thank this club enough! The greatest thing about this club being centered around entrepreneurship is that everyone we come in contact with is willing to help and contribute to a student’s success as they take on their entrepreneurial journey. The business and life lessons I have learned along the way are ones I will appreciate for the rest of my life — same with the friendships.
Do you have to be in BBA to join?
You most definitely do not have to be in BBA to join, as we are very focused on being a campus-inclusive club. Being an entrepreneur does not require a business degree, it requires passion. We have students on the club from various faculties and it enhances the quality of everything we do, so we love having a diverse team!
Are you involved in anything else on campus?
At the moment, Startup and launching a consulting firm is keeping me pretty busy, so I am currently only involved with Startup, but have loved working with C3 Innovation Labs over the past few months!
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in this area?
To any young woman wanting to become a female entrepreneur: you can do it. I cannot stress enough that no time is better than now to take the leap to becoming an entrepreneur. Why? Because K-W and Laurier are extremely supportive and looking to provide any resources to female entrepreneurs; from community panels to female-only networking events, there are many opportunities for you to meet mentors and co-founders that can help you become successful. Now is the time to take action — becoming an entrepreneur as a student or recent graduate is when you will receive the most amount of resources to support your business. If you have an idea that you are unsure of or don’t know how to take the next step, I would be happy to set up a time to discuss how you can become a powerful entrepreneur!
Biggest goal currently?
My biggest goal at the moment is to launch my consulting firm. Currently, I’m working on establishing the business and learning how I can play a key role to help entrepreneurs launch a great venture. While a little scary to take the leap, I cannot contain my excitement to see people’s passions come true when they see their ideas become reality. If you or anyone you know has an idea that they don’t know how to launch, please reach out!
Socials for Startup: @startuplaurier