HustleMe - think millennials meet Dragon's Den or just think win dollars for your start-up.
HustleMe will take over the Moustache Club at 7 p.m. on Jan 20 108. Eight start-up entrepreneurs rap off with one winner scoring $1000 for their business idea. The judges listen to all pitches and move a certain number forward through each round until one emerges. Winner gets a sweet grand. Nice prize, I was going to enter, but instead I said yes when asked to be a judge.
We talk about creativity here at SlowCity.ca and its mostly art and music, theatre, photography, the ARTS as they say but being an entrepreneur is also being creative. We are seeing more and more young people looking to themselves to build a future, looking at themselves as a resource, knowing the factory is over, knowing they are going to have to hustle to build their future. HustleMe also hustles. They are building their future and they are building ours. I like HustleMe, it is a pretty rad platform.
I contacted the previous winner, Samantha Stahkle of Ominous Games ( a winner if ever there was one) and asked her about her experience with the HustleMe event.
How has winning HustleMe helped you?
"HustleMe opened up a lot of opportunities for our team. Apart from helping fund our company's trip to the MIGS conference, HustleMe was our first real pitching competition, providing a lot of valuable experience and giving us the skills and confidence we needed to help take our business to the next level. Since HustleMe, we've gone on to pitch our business at Ignite Durham, where we won first place in the student category, and for UOIT's academic incubator start-up competition, helping us to secure more funding for our business. We also made a lot of valuable connections at the event, meeting people that have helped us to better understand aspects of our business such as merchandising and marketing."
Why did you first enter HustleMe and how did you hear about it, get involved?
"The decision to enter HustleMe was one made by our whole team - as a young, mostly-bootstrapped startup, it was an opportunity too great to pass up. Personally, I've always loved public speaking, so the experience also sounded like a ton of fun, which it was. I heard about the event through a friend from UOIT, Andrew Aultman, who is also pitching at the next event, I believe. So we owe him one for that!"
Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
"That's a really complicated question, something which formed the focus of my first-round pitch, actually. I think it's a combination of just being passionate about your craft, and having the right people to guide you along the way. Over the past few years in school, my interest in game development naturally evolved into a desire to self-start, and thanks to our mentors at UOIT, our team had the resources and knowledge we needed to actually become entrepreneurs. For me, I think a big part of it is family, as well - my mom has always encouraged me to carve out my own path, and go for my dreams - what better way to do that than starting out on your own?"
What entrepreneurs do you admire?
"I could list off any number of Silicon Valley visionaries here, but the people I really admire most are the ones I've seen pursuing entrepreneurship firsthand. Several of my fellow students at UOIT have their own ventures, and knowing the commitment it takes to run a start-up, I have the utmost respect for them. All the great people I've met locally through organizations like Spark Centre and Start-Up Durham are so impressive - it's amazing what just one person can accomplish with a lot of effort and a lot of heart. But the entrepreneurs I've always admired the most are my mom and dad, Lana and David, who started a business together a few years before I was born. Growing up, I had the unique privilege of watching their business grow, as my mom sat with me on long nights poring over ledgers and explaining the basics of business to her curious little kid. I never really had to look outside my home for role models, and I'm incredibly grateful for that."