Editorial

Smart Start Youth Summit is great for Ottawa’s youth entrepreneurs

“If you have an idea, what lengths are you willing to go to sell it to someone?” This was a question posed by Zainab Musa (founder, Wingd.ca) at the recently concluded Smart Start Youth Summit 2017.

To some, this may appear as an easy question. Of course, I’d go to any lengths to sell my idea, if I truly believe in it. And this is the catch, ‘truly believing in your idea’.

Last week, a group of young, conscious minds came together to build an opportunity for youth in Ottawa to believe and realize their ideas.

Participants in the YLAC event came together to network with successful young professionals from different disciplines, exchange ideas and most importantly, engage with tools to grow their ideas.

With an estimated attendance of about 100 curious and brilliant young minds aged 13 – 24, the 2-day summit was everything expected to spark fire in the bellies of Ottawa’s next group of potential young leaders.

Participants were grouped into teams and assigned to various mentors who had volunteered to share their success stories, as well as provide answers to challenging questions faced by these young minds.

One of the participants, a high school student interested in putting smiles on the faces of the less fortunate, had pitched her idea about making art highlighting the sufferings of Ottawa’s homeless in order to bring much needed attention to the city’s growing challenge of homelessness.

A simple idea: “Make art revealing the daily lives – and struggles – of Ottawa’s homeless people. “

She sought solutions to a problem she witnesses daily, and the mentors’ role was to develop that idea to ensure it would be sustainable to all parties involved.

She was just one of dozens of engaging young minds provoking the limits of creativity in providing more for the Ottawa community.

Ottawa may be well established as the political hub of Canada. However, there is a growing youth population within this sphere that can lead the entrepreneurial narrative and transform the way we engage as a community.

Smart Start Youth Summit 2017 may be over but it has unearthed a reality echoed by Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“Youth are the leaders of today. Keep pushing for the things you care about. You will change the world”, she said.

%d bloggers like this: