It’s been a tumultuous journey these past 11 weeks but our time in the Startup Garage is coming to an end. We’re now in the home stretch doing everything we can to wrap up our as yet unfinished projects and meet the goals we set out to accomplish at the outset of the program. August 31st will mark our official “graduation” from the program; a term that couldn’t be more appropriate to describe our exit.
If nothing else, the Startup Garage has been an incredible learning experience and oppourtunity for us to start our business. While I could extoll the virtues of a post-secondary education and the subsequent knowledge and skills which it has imparted on us until I’m blue in the face, there is something to be said about getting out there and doing it. In this respect, the Startup Garage has proven invaluable.
If the Startup Garage were a university, then its mentors are amongst the most insightful professors I’ve ever known and it’s seminars, the most interesting classes that I’ve attended. Assignments vary from the mundane to the intense as deadlines are ever present and similarly stressful. Let’s not forget about our classmates, in this case our fellow starups in the Startup Garage summer 2012 class who are always willing to lend a helping hand. Really, the only difference I’ve noticed between the two is the need to actually show up to the office to be successful (I’m mostly kidding).
Needless to say, entrepreneurship has exposed us to so much more than what we had ever suspected and forced us to learn skills that we never thought we’d need. Adults will tell you that life is a perpetual learning experience, and as students on the verge of burning out we eagerly dismiss them hoping that we might one day take a break from the strenuous activities that typically accompany learning such as reading, writing, and thinking. I’m here to tell you that, once again and much to your dismay, the adults were right and you won’t magically stop learning after university.
The difference between the kind of learning that happens in a university and the learning that happens in a startup is that you never doubt the utility of works completed while working in a startup. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot writing my essay on the Cuban missile crisis and I’m glad that I can point to Vietnam on a map but, in and of itself, I’ve never felt that I’ve benefited from knowing these things. Fortunately for us, our startup experience has allowed us to pursue our passions and interests and has been rewarding in a variety of tangible ways.
Graduation from the Startup garage will mark an important milestone for both MyOfficeTool as a company and us as its employees. Graduation represents the culmination of our efforts for the past three months and the combined knowledge that we’ve accrued during that time. As was the case with our individual university graduations, come August 31st we will be both personally and professionally infinitely better suited to enter the business environment than when we started.
Graduation is being held at the Telfer School of Business at the University of Ottawa, beginning at 9 am, and will culminate in a business pitch competition between all the Startup Garage participants. We’re very excited about the prospect of putting our learned skills to the test against our fellow startups in a friendly competition. Feel free to wish us luck, though we like to think that it’s our competitors who are going to need it.