2023 RBC Inclusive Entrepreneurship Recipients: Entrepreneurship Thrives in Community

As we close this series, Fellows the importance of embracing diversity, adaptability, and accepting failure as a lesson in your entrepreneurial journey. These moments during the Fellowship program shaped the way our Fellows interact with each other and how they take on new challenges and push themselves as they embark on new chapters. As the last part of this series, we spoke to our RBC Inclusive Entrepreneurship Award winners about pivotal moments during their time in the Fellowship Program that shaped the way they think. Many of our Fellows pointed to moments of building small communities amongst themselves and how these experiences changed their approach to entrepreneurship:

“There are small moments every day that inform and refine my thinking about what it means to be entrepreneurial. What’s shaped my perspective most has actually been the time after training camp, as we’ve been looking for roles, accepting offers, and taking on our first weeks in the Canadian startup ecosystem. That I don’t hesitate to reach out to other fellows for advice and support (or just great conversation) shows me over and over again what entrepreneurship can and should be. No entrepreneur operates in isolation; entrepreneurial ambition can and should co-exist with the desire to help others succeed alongside you. This idea was embedded in our training and is one that we’re all carrying forward with us.”

  • Andrew Fullerton (Vancouver, British Columbia)

My journey as a VFC Fellow has been filled with incredible experiences and growth opportunities, but one standout moment that had a profound impact on my perspective as an entrepreneur occurred right at the beginning of the program. It was a moment that taught me the true meaning of inclusivity and the power of a supportive community. When I initially joined the program and met my fellow cohort members, I arrived late and worried that I’d be on the outside, assuming everyone would have already formed their friend groups.

To my pleasant surprise, I was met with a warm and inclusive atmosphere. It was clear that everyone was not just supportive but actively engaged in building a supportive community. I was met with a warm welcome, and every interaction I had that afternoon showcased that everyone in this program was here to support one another. This moment shattered my fears and highlighted the importance of a collaborative and inclusive environment in entrepreneurship.

It was a transformative experience that shifted my outlook. It showed me that success in entrepreneurship isn’t solely about competition but about fostering a network of allies who celebrate each other’s accomplishments and offer support during challenges. The VFC community embodies this ethos, and it continues to influence my entrepreneurial journey, reminding me of the power of inclusivity and mutual support.

  • Faizan Khan (Milton, Ontario):

“There is no one moment I could elevate above others. The profound impact the VFC community left on me is meticulously woven from hundreds of looks, encounters, taps on the shoulder, articles read before falling asleep, panels, pieces of advice, recommendations, comments, jokes, and challenges. VFC exposed me to many curious and bright minds who, each with their own bit, showed me varying facets of entrepreneurship, from glam tech innovation to mundane ventures with strong fundamentals. I also got to understand that acquiring an entrepreneurial mindset happens in many areas and environments: at boot camps, as a startup employee, building your own business, hackathons…

My perspective of entrepreneurship as a form of curating freedom did not dramatically change; however, the way to walk the path of entrepreneurship absolutely did.”

  • Zuzana Navratil (Montreal, Quebec)