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Paula Zalba

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at McGill

According to the 2013 Quebec Entrepreneurial Index, 21.2% of Canadians intended to start a business. In Quebec, this number was only 14.8%. Only 6.3% of Quebeckers have actively been involved in creating a business over the last 12 months against the 9% national average in Canada. Aware of this reality and looking to tap into a vast network of creative intelligent young adults, McGill University has been fostering entrepreneurship since 1988 with the creation of the Dobson Centre. The Centre is responsible for the development and teaching of all minor and concentration core courses in Entrepreneurial Studies at the university. In 2009, the Centre introduced the McGill Dobson Cup (MDC), a competition that allows innovators to seek start-up funding, mentorship and acquire business skills while growing at both the professional and personal level. Winners of their profit division can receive $40,000 of prize money for their start-up company idea(s) and a $20,000 prize goes to the winners of the social enterprise division. In the past three years, MDC has helped create 32 enterprises, 76% of which are still active today. Unlike most accelerators (that is, agencies which provide start-up capital to early-stage companies), MDC winners do not forfeit ownership of a portion of their company nor do they pay any fees in exchange for the prize money. On Friday, January 31th, I attended the McGill Dobson Cup Start-UP Boot Camp in the Bronfman building. The event brought together students, lawyers, Dobson Centre staff, McGill Dobson Cup judges and mentors, past McGill Dobson Cup winners, investors, as well as successful entrepreneurs. The main objective of this one-day fee-free activity was to familiarize participants with the Centre and get them talking about entrepreneurship, networking, as well as encouraging them to take part in the competition. An equally important component of the day… Read More

Malcolm Gladwell comes to McGill

And so there was I. Sitting in a sold-out room at McGill University, only meters away from my favorite writer whose books I fell in love with years ago. Thanks to the support of one of The Prince Arthur Herald’s editors, I was able to book a spot less than 48 hours before the 2013 Seagram Lecture featuring Malcolm Gladwell. I wasn’t there only as a Gladwell fan, but also to gather material for my first article for the PAH. I was invited to join the PAH staff team by a friend after he read an article of mine in which I expressed my views on Obama’s America and its similarities with the populist Argentina my family and I left behind upon our immigration to Canada. Encouraged by an American friend and fellow McGill student, I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where I met a blogger who asked me to write and also published the aforementioned piece. So, before I go any further, I would like to publicly acknowledge how lucky I’ve been to meet these fantastic individuals and thank them all for these great opportunities. The idea of being part of the PAH was so exciting that I decided to join. However, I have to admit that after being given the green light, I couldn’t find a topic I was passionate enough to regularly write about. This happened at a very crucial moment in my life. I am a Finance student, so one would think my degree means I am set for life. I thought so too. However, as I began my third year at McGill, I realized I still had never come close to investing a penny in the stock market, my interest and passion for school were slowly fading, and I had no clear career… Read More