For Chris Dudley, success for young entrepreneurs means engaging on an international scale.
“In today's market, we believe that entrepreneurs need to think big, they need to think global,” explained Dudley, Director of Seneca’s on-campus innovation hub, HELIX.
On Monday, Aug. 20, Dudley was one of several speakers at an event which celebrated HELIX in the Great Hall at Newnham Campus.
“Your first customer, first partner, first supplier or first investor may be down the street, but they could also be halfway around the world and we want to give them [HELIX participants] that exposure,” Dudley explained to a crowd of students, alumni, HELIX participants and supporters.
Since its launch in 2015, HELIX, has engaged more than 7,071 students through 596 events — accelerating more than 200 youth-led ventures in the process. Housed at Seneca’s Newnham Campus, HELIX is a free program available to students, as well as community members.
HELIX participants (a.k.a. HELIXers) have attended innovation events in Mozambique, France, India and more. Most recently, HELIX sent two participants to Cascais, Portugal to be part of the European Innovation Academy (EIA).
“The real, real experience for me is the network,” said HELIXer, and founder of Nautilus Innovation Labs, Chris Navarro, after returning from the EIA. “You have people from universities like Stanford, Berkley, and you have people from Google, all in the same place.”
HELIX sends entrepreneurs to events like the EIA thanks to support from partners including the cities of Markham, Toronto, as well as the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Scotiabank and the Regional Municipality of York.
Several members of HELIX’s advisory board also attended the event including Balinder Rai and Jonathan Wheatle. “These young entrepreneurs have put their ideas into practice and some of them are already expanding… It’s good to see,” said Wheatle. “HELIX gives young entrepreneurs support in developing their entrepreneurial ideas into successful, sustainable and scalable ventures.”