2023 RBC Inclusive Entrepreneurship Recipients: Embracing Adaptability and Resilience

Being an entrepreneur, while rewarding, can be extremely daunting in the face of uncertainty. There are many barriers that our Fellows have to overcome in their entrepreneurial journey, many of which our Fellows have never experienced before. This year’s winners of the 2023 RBC Inclusive Entrepreneurship Awards spoke to us about moments where they felt that uncertainty and tackled it head-on with the support of their peers and the support of RBC Future Launch, emphasizing the importance of resilience in the face of the unknown. Here are their responses:

“As an ex-research scientist, I often find myself overthinking or entering a state of analysis paralysis. Some of the best moments I had as a VFC fellow were planning spur-of-the-moment activities such as playing/teaching squash despite not knowing all the rules, running a gyoza-making party, or inviting everyone out for a cold dip after sessions. As entrepreneurs, uncertainty is just a part of the job. Deep thinking solves many things, but not all; the playful things that come out in the spur-of-the-moment can be just as productive, and if not better, sometimes. Hence embrace spontaneity, and if nothing comes out in the moment, sleep over it!”

  • Maria Denk (Montreal, Quebec)

During the workshops and seminars, I learned about emerging trends and developing a growth mindset. But a conversation I had, during a wildly successful networking event with 10 years worth of VFC alumni visiting, had me reflecting on the motivations that pushed me to apply for this fellowship. I was listening to Mark Dhillon chat about navigating different ventures by doing what he loves and I realized that becoming an entrepreneur needs a now-or-never push from me. It’s easy to dream of a “someday I’ll start my own business” moment but balancing your family’s and culture’s definition of success with your own is already a tough hurdle to jump. What truly impacted my perspective is learning how to treat every hurdle and failure as a step in the right direction and that’s what made many of the VFC crew strong risk-takers and ambitious leaders.

  • Aranyah Shanker (Toronto, Ontario)

Reflecting on my time as a Venture For Canada Fellow, a standout moment that profoundly impacted my perspective as an entrepreneur was the opportunity to participate in the Product Launch Challenge Workshop. This experience not only deepened my understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset but also exposed me to the challenges and excitement of building a product from the ground up. This workshop pushed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to think creatively and critically. It also reinforced in me the importance of innovation, resilience, and adaptability in the world of entrepreneurship. I saw firsthand how great ideas can be transformed into viable products with the right combination of passion, strategy, and teamwork.

  • Star Lewis (Markham, Ontario)

“A pivotal moment during my VFC Fellowship was listening to Micah, former founder of Nama Clo, at a speaker panel. Her insights on adaptability and the personal growth aspect of entrepreneurship were eye-opening and resonated deeply with me. It highlighted the transformative nature of entrepreneurial endeavors, both professionally and personally. Interacting with diverse, insightful thinkers and seasoned alumni at Venture for Canada was a treasure trove of learning. It instilled in me a robust sense of resilience and fortified my commitment to my entrepreneurial goals. Each conversation was a step towards a more nuanced understanding of entrepreneurship, allowing me to align my vision and actions more effectively. This journey has been transformative, reshaping my perspectives and approaches in the entrepreneurial world. The blend of experiences and insights has been invaluable, offering a balanced approach to navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship. It’s been a defining phase in my career, solidifying my resolve and shaping my trajectory in the vibrant realm of business innovation.”

  • Fawziyah Nabeelah (Mississauga, Ontario)