Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2012

Charles Atkinson, VP of Strategy and Development at HP Canada, stands infront of a room full of potential young entrepreneurs. Charles holds an artifact: a chest box full of notes with his childhood goals. These are the goals that helped him stay focused on his road to a VP position.

"Integrity, perseverance, commitment, and a dedication to excellence," he coaches the university students at Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2012, excellently hosted by University of Toronto Mississauga and it's DEM Society.

On a Saturday night, there were a million things that these students and young entrepreneurs could be doing. But they chose to attend the YEC.

The event ran from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and was launched by the Mayor of Mississauga herself, Hazel McCallion.

The event featured a series of keynote speakers, like the COO of Mobilicity, the Director of User Design at Kobo, and the President of MacLaren McCann, among many others. The VPs, Co-Founders and CEOs helped students get inspired in entrepreneurship and believe in their assets. Most importantly, students got to see what it is like in the prosperous world of good business, from the guys who had already taken that road.

The participants gave back to the community and learned something from the students themselves: initiative and potential for innovation.

"[Because you live in Canada and have all of your needs covered], You are the one percent," Michael Hyatt, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BlueCat Networks, says in one of the best speeches of the evening. "Only work on your strengths and hire your weaknesses."

Students had plenty of opportunities to network with the showcased businesses and ask questions. Especially during the two hour lunch break which featured a buffet and free poutine. Beautiful cupcakes with the DEM logo were also served at breakfast.

The YEC event was a great opportunity for everyone. One idea to take away was that the key to a lifetime of happy work is commitment, persistence and more commitment and persistence.