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Global Student Entrepreneur Awards: empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs

Being a full-time student can be challenging. But being an entrepreneur on top of that is straight up mastery. That’s why at Intact, we’ve decided to get involved with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Award (EO GSEA), a competition that empowers students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. Student entrepreneurs who take part in GSEA are usually between 19 and 22 years old and building their business models through a financial and social lens. But the most impressive part is how they’re building their businesses to have impact.

Building success on strong foundations

EO GSEA supports student entrepreneurs through mentorship, recognition and connections to take their businesses to the next level. Karim Hirji, Senior Vice-President, International and Ventures for Intact Insurance was a guest speaker and judge at the GSEA Canadian Finals.

Karim was inspired by all these new ideas and innovations. One student entrepreneur came up with his business idea at 15 years old when he found his mother unconscious. A heart failure that could have been fatal encouraged him to design a watch that catches the slightest heart anomalies in addition to calling an ambulance and sending the data to the hospital instantly. Genius! From GSEA to the Dragon’s Den, he’s well on his way to building a fantastic business.

Through this award program, countless other brilliant, motivated entrepreneurs with equally groundbreaking ideas will be catapulted to the next level.

Positioning Canada as a global leader

Our Canadian economic landscape is rapidly transforming, and we believe that youth entrepreneurship is an important driver. Not only are young people coming up with innovative ideas, they’re also rethinking business models entirely and putting a greater emphasis on impact.

Canada’s future is bright, and we’re getting better at cultivating strong relationships with the change makers of tomorrow, but there’s still a long road ahead, according to Karim. We need to build a strong startup ecosystem nationwide if we want more Canadian companies rising to the top. That’s why we’re starting with young entrepreneurs – the business leaders of tomorrow. Their leadership, innovative ideas and success are essential to help position Canada as a global leader.

Aspiring to a better future

“Giving is receiving” the old adage goes. Our partnership with EO GSEA is exactly that: a two-way street. Just ask Robin Monnière, Vice-President, Marketing for Intact Insurance, who judged the Canadian semi-finals. He also came back inspired: “It really re-energized me and gave me a lot of hope about our youth and the ideas they’re generating.”

EO GSEA is clearly a hub of new talents who should become part of our vibrant innovation ecosystem. We’re seeking to engage with these disruptors of tomorrow. Who knows? This may lead to technology or talent acquisitions or to the development of new partnerships. That’s what we call a win-win partnership.

“I could see their passion and energy coming through loud and clear,” says Robin. That’s what we call thriving through change. It means being able to innovate and challenge the status quo and having the mindset of a disruptor while focusing on impact.

By partnering with the EO GSEA, we’re embracing this new vision and learning from Canada’s future change makers. We need to keep challenging our beliefs if we want to stay relevant and find opportunities for future growth.

You too will be impressed with this video on the GSEA Canadian Finals.