By Edo Odozor
Over the last couple of years, there has been an entrepreneurial boom amongst young people. With a changing economy, people have gotten creative with figuring out ways to make money. Side hustles are common and several young people work more than one gig on top of going to school to become student entrepreneurs.
Let’s be real here. Working on a startup, side hustle, creative venture or whatever you call it is a real JOB. At first, you may not even pay yourself out for a longgggg time.
On top of this hustle, you have the education hustle — your degree.
What if I told you that your education hustle can lessen the load of your side hustle? I’m talking less financial stressors, being a part of a community of student creators and having access to tools and knowledge that can set you up for success.
Basically, balancing the two isn’t easy, and if you have other commitments and are a living human being, all of these things combined can be very stressful. Fortunately, you go to a university that supports entrepreneurs and their passion projects. Ryerson is an innovative university that provides student entrepreneurs with various supports to help them be successful in their ventures. So let’s get into them, shall we?
The Digital Media Experience Lab (DME)
This place is a personal favorite of mine. Every time I go there, I learn something new from being around fellow creators, coders, entrepreneurs, and artists.
The DME lab is located on the third floor of the Student Learning Centre – SLC 308
Everyone who enters this space brings something unique when they walk through the doors. This space has Mac desktops that are perfect for working on creative projects. Each mac is decked out with the full range of Adobe products, so whether you’re working on editing videos or creating the next big global visual marketing campaign, you’re adequately equipped with top of the line software programs.
For creators, architects or innovators, there are also 3D printers that you can use to create prototypes, models of projects or your next big invention. You just need to be a Ryerson student, do their one hour 3D printing course and you have access to these golden pieces of equipment. You can also sign out canon cameras, tripods, and GoPros.
For tech nerds and podcasters, you can sign out rode microphones and USB mics for recording anything your heart desires.
Also, for entrepreneurs who sell online, or need to get good product photography, the DME has photo lightboxes that are portable and can be signed out for use in the space. I used these for my online store — naijhair.com — for the eyelash pictures and I saved a ton of money by borrowing their equipment.
Every. Penny. Counts.
For people who want to learn new things, there are different workshops that you can attend at the DME Lab. Ever wanted to learn how to code? What about how to do data visualization?
Also, you can attend a workshop that can teach you how to code in different languages, how to knit, make costumes, develop a VR game and more here. Basically, if you love to nerd out on anything business, art or STEM or want to learn anything STEM, this is the place for you.
The Ryerson Zones are the physical spaces where the university really supports entrepreneurs. If you want to be an entrepreneur and don’t know how to get started, you need to check out the different zones.
If you are an entrepreneur and need support, you need to check out the zones.
Or if you want to HELP an entrepreneur and get experience working in a startup, you need to check out the zones.
What are these zones that I speak of?
They are distinct spaces dedicated to launching startups, helping out big ideas and providing support for real-world experiences. Additionally, there are 10 zones at Ryerson with different focuses. From Fashion to Biomedical zones, there is something for everyone. Read more about them here.
Do Inkbox, Nudestix, and Knixwear sound familiar?
They all went through the Ryerson Zones. With the help of top advisors, support systems and a community of entrepreneurs, you can too, become a well-known venture!
The Sandbox is a division of the DMZ and is a place that fosters entrepreneurship at all levels. Conveniently located beside the Digital Media Experience Lab, on the third floor of the SLC, the Sandbox offers several programs and workshops that are geared towards supporting the entrepreneurial process.
Additionally, the StartUp School sessions teach innovative skills and provide entrepreneurs with toolkits for success. Learn how to manage investors, be financially sound in business and pitch to investors from industry leaders who are experts in entrepreneurship. The sessions are free, you just need to register beforehand on their eventbrite page.
There are other programs at the DMZ Sandbox such as the Student Grant Program, a funding program that offers up to $10,000 for projects that positively impact the Canadian economy and society. Read more about all the programs here.
Ryerson Student Groups
Furthermore, going to school in a major city means you’re bound to find a community that shars similar interests. Student groups geared toward leadership and entrepreneurship are no exception.
Ryerson has a diverse selection of student groups, such as the Ryerson Women in Leadership (RWIL) that bridges the gender gap within leadership while providing tools for individuals to become great leaders.
Another great group is the Ryerson Toastmasters group. Challenge yourself and learn how to hone in on your public speaking skills. Basically, you learn how to captivate rooms and be apart of a great community!
Learn more about the rest of the business and entrepreneurial student groups here.
Finally, if you are willing to take a course in entrepreneurship, or maybe minor in entrepreneurship, there are several courses that are perfect for you.
There are courses for everything involving business and entrepreneurship such as accounting, finance, business law, branding, marketing, and management. If you want to learn about entrepreneurship and get the cold hard facts, these classes are ideal for you to add to your schedule. Read the list here!
Overall, there is truly something for everyone, so take advantage of the support that is being offered! Lastly, let us know in the comments if you’re an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur-in-training.