By Harlan Nemerofsky
Students and young professionals attended StartMeUp Ryerson’s second business marketing lecture of the year in Kerr Hall East.
StartMeUp Ryerson, run by Students In Free Enterprise Ryerson, is a program designed to provide young entrepreneurs with free business education resources.
Wednesday’s event, Building your Brand, featured guest lecturer Mark Elliot, co-founder of Venture Accelerator Partners Inc., who gave the audience tips on how to develop a brand.
“So the first question is ‘what is your brand?’ A brand is something that’s made up of your customer service, company culture, user experience and product,” Elliott said. “Your goal should be trying to help someone solve a problem, to make something better in your customers’ lives.”
He also touched on the importance of marketing yourself through social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, how to beat out competitors through quality and price, and how to make a 30-second elevator pitch.
“I think it’s really important to know who your consumer is, so if you’re selling a product like diapers, who is making the buying decision? It’s not the child using them. It’s the parent buying them.”
Audience members shared their business ideas, which ranged from South Asian restaurants to a career-launching website for aspiring musicians.
“I was actually amazed by this class,” said 29-year-old Hasan Bazaid, an IT Project Management student at the Chang School of Continuing Education.
“I come out of this learning how to frame my ideas more specifically, and how to study my customers as well.”
Michael Spiar, who graduated from the Chang School’s Publishing Certificate program last year, took a lot out of the lecture.
“It was quite helpful,” said the 29-year-old freelance writer and communications consultant. “I liked the structure of learning how to define your business and how to set yourself apart from the competitors, coming up with a value proposition, and finding a slogan.”
Harpreet Sandhu, StartMeUp Ryerson’s director of operations, said the event was a huge success.
“I think the event was great. With everyone I’ve been talking to, people seem to have learned how to figure out their value proposition and how to position their brand,” he said.
StartMeUp Ryerson will continue it’s business sessions next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the third floor atrium of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre. The event, Driving Sales With Social Media For Startups, is one of five Global Entrepreneurship Week events being held from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16.