Next36: Congratulations to Eve Staszczyszyn who made in into the program Next36
The Faculty of Social Sciences would like to congratulate Eve Staszczyszyn, 4th year student in International Development and Globalization, who made it into the program Next36 and who will be part of the cohort in May 2020!
In January 2020, Eve Staszczyszyn, was accepted into the program Next36, a prestigious Canadian program, bringing together some of the brightest minds from across the country.
In this Q&A, Eve has agreed to answer some of our questions.
Can you tell us more about Next36?
I describe Next36 as a hybrid of an accelerator and entrepreneurial boot camp training. It is a program based at NEXT Canada in Toronto, however virtual this summer 2020, that fosters Canadian entrepreneurial talent through education and venture support. The program breathes a 24/7 hustle mentality and the learning curve is steep. Cohort members grow their ventures and learn about entrepreneurship and life from diverse founders and faculty. We are taking classes including “Strategy and Innovation” and “The Economics of Entrepreneurship” from renowned professors and working in smaller groups with entrepreneurial leaders to meet our venture objectives. We also receive tailored mentorship, participate in several funding rounds, and access resources, such as legal consultation, that are vital to launching a successful startup. At its core, NEXT is a community of individuals who lift and challenge one another to build leading innovative Canadian companies.
What made you decide to apply to Next36?
One of my friends who is a Next36 alum -we became friends chatting in a co-working space (never underestimate lunchroom chats!), had always spoken about the tremendous learning opportunity Next36 offers. I have been inspired by his ridiculously bright thinking, how successful he is in business, and his strengths in speaking with people. He’s the one who introduced me to the program and encouraged me to apply, so I said why not!?!?
In the past couple years, I have grown to loving entrepreneurship and its energy. After working at a couple startups, becoming involved at uOttawa’s Entrepreneurship Hub, and dabbling in a project of my own, I thought Next36 would be the perfect next step. I wanted to be challenged and to be uncomfortable, because I knew that’s what actually promotes growth...I got a little more than I expected with the conditions these days. I also wanted to be in an incredibly conducive space for out-of-the-box-believing and solution-based thinking. The NEXT community offers a conducive space for me to blend my passion for entrepreneurship and meaningful change, specifically in the mental health and wellness field.
Now that you made it into the program, what would you like to accomplish in the program? What is your idea that you wish to turn into a reality?
I am determined to come out of the program with a tangible solution for the campus mental health space. I am currently working on WellnessWorld, a digital wellness portal that supports students in better navigating resources and services, while gaining actionable insight for institutions to optimize their wellness networks. Alongside my Co-Founder & Partner-In-Crime Livia Han, our team is creating a digital tool that promotes self-awareness, increases resilience, and contributes to holistic wellness for students and campuses. The way the digital wellness portal is conceptualized is certainly subject to pivot; in fact, I hope our iterative process will bring about the best version of a wellness solution which will actually make a difference for students.
At the same time, I hope to go through the most - as in I hope I get to feel the extremes of the entrepreneurial reality and work through it. I am both spooked and looking forward to the challenges ahead, especially in these extraordinary conditions. No matter where things go venture-wise, I hope to build a skill set that will make me a stronger leader, a better teammate, and a resilient founder. And of course, I hope to create lasting connections and friendships with those in my cohort, in the NEXT community, and everyone I come across. I am really excited to be part of the NEXT community and to not only be supported, but support others in any way that I can.
Ultimately, I hope that I’ll come out of the program with a growing social enterprise that creates real solutions for people, an enhanced skill set that will prepare me for future entrepreneurial and life obstacles, and a foundational network that I will benefit from and contribute to for years to come.
On building a venture during covid-19...
I am optimistic and opportunistic at the time. There is no discounting the challenges and tragedies occurring. However, we always have the chance to witness and be a part of possibility. In this unprecedented time, there are shifting social tectonic plates. With extraordinary change as we are experiencing now, there is a demand for extraordinary products, services, and solutions. This time is especially teaching me the importance of speed and awareness - in these early stages, I ask myself: how do I build a venture that meets the needs of today and how do I use predictive powers for it to also meet the needs of the evolving future? While the resources may be scarcer, the opportunities may be greater.
What advice would you give other undergrad or recent graduates who are considering applying to Next36?
Do it. Entrepreneurship is a liberating, challenging, and exhilarating realm. It is full of possibilities for creativity, collaboration, and creation. A lot of the time, your work involves connecting with people who bring you closer to reaching your goals, so don’t forget to lift others in any way that you can too.
In terms of advice when applying and interviewing for Next36:
- Be ready to prove yourself - know your value and know how to express it.
- Drop your ego - it accelerates the learning process, especially when your core is being questioned.
- Embody grit - now and always.
And just be open to whatever comes next ;)