What it Takes to Win C3
As a budding entrepreneur full of nothing but raw ambition, fantasy business ideas, and inexperience, I could not have been more excited to open my acceptance email from C3 Inspire informing me I had been given a spot in their semi-annual Inspire event. C3 is an organization bridging the gap between entrepreneurial talent at WLU and UW. They also focus on both business and social ventures. The Inspire event functions in the same way a startup weekend does, in which upon arrival you sort through other attendees like they are books on the shelf at the library and choose your team. You then have the better part of a full day to devise an idea, rough business plan, and prepare a pitch to present to the panel of judges. At roughly 4 o’clock the pitches began, and my group was fortunate enough to be the last one standing after two separate rounds of pitches. We won!!
Do you ever have those days where you feel like a complete sponge? You become absolutely immersed in your surroundings and absorb every piece of information you can. This is how I felt during the event. Throughout my day as a sponge, I found three main takeaways:
1. Your team is everything.
One of my business profs told me you’re always better to have an A team with a B idea, than a B team with an A idea. I never truly had the chance to test his theory until that day. Our team came from all different backgrounds- business, tech, environmental studies, and even philosophy. Half of us were from Laurier, the other from UW. The greatest thing I noticed early on about our team was that deciding on an idea was like talking with your best friend; it wasn’t hard. We were on our way to contending as a top team.
2. Don’t get carried away.
Once you have your idea, it’s near impossible to not go off on tangents. The first things that jump into your mind are either the astronomical success your venture could have, or the obvious problems you will encounter. You can’t do this. Whenever one or two of our team members would present ideas or problems that did not directly affect the core idea of our business, one of us would gladly remind them where our attention should be aimed. Stay focused on what the end goal is. At the end of the day, you needed a defendable, viable idea presented in a clear and persuasive fashion to the judges. This was something our group was able to do, which allowed us to be successful.
3. The Pitch.
No matter what stage of venture development you’re in, you always have to be ready to pitch. For anyone in the process of founding a startup, be ready to pitch until you’re blue in the face. The pitch is an integral part of any new venture. For a two minute pitch like we had at C3, we followed this basic format:
- What’s the problem you’re trying to solve
- Your solution you have created to the problem
- How your solution works
- How do you make money/ benefit the community
Following a general format like this allows you to present your idea in its clearest fashion.
C3 is a dynamic organization with so much to offer. The ability to bridge the gap between Laurier’s business talent and Waterloo’s technological know-how provides students with an unprecedented opportunity. I would recommend all C3 events to students looking to become a part of startup culture. It’s certainly a good place to meet a co-founder.
VP of Marketing at Startup Laurier