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The Role of University: Engaging and Connecting Researchers and Entrepreneurs

On Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, Telfer School of Management hosted an event called The Role of University in Entrepreneurship, a group of researchers and successful entrepreneurs discussed how universities could support new and existing entrepreneurs.


Moderated by Louis Barriault, the event’s discussion panel included Steven Daze, Dom Herrick Entrepreneur in Residence at the Telfer School of Management; Peter Jaskiewicz, University Research Chair in Endowed Entrepreneurship, Telfer School of Management; Samantha Fulton, CEO of Profunda Analytics; and Sue Abu-Hakima, CEO of Amika Mobile Corporation.


Although the panelists looked at entrepreneurship through different angles, they all shared a similar view: building a network is essential when starting or growing a business. Their emphasis on the importance of networking in the business world actually confirms the purpose of this event. Universities can encourage and support entrepreneurship by bringing together incubators and experienced entrepreneurs. 

Two other topics dominated the discussion: the specific challenges faced by young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs.

Young entrepreneurs: Young business graduates are motivated and eager to create innovative business ideas. Believing that they have what it takes to launch a new venture, young entrepreneurs however tend to forget how competitive the business world can be, explained Samantha Fulton. Overconfidence can be dangerous. Her advice to young entrepreneurs? Find a mentor: accepting that your have to reach out to someone more experienced is not a sign weakness, but an opportunity to learn.

Women Entrepreneurs: While entrepreneurship generally comes with a host of challenges, female entrepreneurs have to go the extra mile to succeed. A trailblazing entrepreneur who had to overcome many obstacles in an industry dominated by men, Sue Abu-Hakima reminded us that even today women still face resistance, especially from investors, who are more likely to fund start-ups developed by male entrepreneurs.

Connecting People and Removing Challenges

Telfer Management School did not simply connect entrepreneurial and academic minds. By offering a safe space where entrepreneurs could find support, share innovative business ideas, and expand their social network, the event also helped remove some of the obstacles entrepreneurs face in the business world.