Mawji Centre opens Blue Book program

by | Sep 22, 2022 | News

In 2021, NAIT’s Mawji Centre for New Venture and Entrepreneurship began a new initiative to foster entrepreneurs and help support them throughout the development process. The entrepreneurial blue book program is available to all NAIT students enrolled in at least one credit course and it can be completed at their own pace following the academic year. 

NAITSA’s Student Involvement Coordinator, Chris Black, began the blue book program during his final year in the bachelor of technology program.

“I originally did business analysis through DMIT (digital media and IT) and then I went straight into the bachelor of technology program right afterwards,” said Black. “Even through my DMIT program I was very interactive with a lot of the [business] start-up community … and technically in my third year [at NAIT] I was working full-time with a start-up.”

Black says he learned about NAIT’s new program through his connection to the start-up community: “I was able to see what I didn’t know from real-world experience … and I identified where there were some missing competencies. That’s where I heard about the blue book [program], pitched an idea and it went well.”

Since its inception in 2017, The Mawji Centre was created to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset throughout NAIT. Many of their initiatives give students the resources they need to start their businesses. The entrepreneurial blue book program offers a more in-depth advantage to students, giving them training and resources, along with the chance to connect with professionals to learn from.

“The ones [guest speakers] I did attend were great because … I prioritized any of the ones were [about] my identified deficiencies. I’m not great at marketing … and that’s also okay but attending a conversation about marketing – I got a lot of value out of that just because it allowed me to absorb some of that information, and more importantly, experience from someone who does it professionally,” said Black. 

“You don’t know what you don’t know until you start getting into things and then you start understanding ‘Oh I thought I was good at this and I’m not – where can I get some more information?’ So for me, it was about learning from that experience [and] from folks that I would have no other way to connect with and get that information from.”

Upon completion of each task, students are rewarded cash for their project, which amounts to $1,000 by graduation. The final step of the program involves a student showcase: “I actually quite liked it, the first couple of pitches, because you’re keeping it quick – within a minute, tops 90 seconds – to get your idea across. By the end, I was just rattling it off … and you very quickly learn the vernacular that rings true with your crowd. The crowd was a lot of tech folks and investors.” Black advises that students’ ideas don’t always resonate with some attendees of the showcase. However, many interested investors will reach out after the showcase for further details.

Black completed the entrepreneurial blue book program in March of 2022 but has decided to hold off on his business launch for the opportunity to continue networking and learning. “It’s one of those things that you still get support even when you’re done it [the program] … I keep them in touch with what I’m working on. So even though it was “over”, it’s not really over because I graduated from that program and there’s still resources that I can utilize.” 

The Mawji Centre is located in CAT309A. Students interested in the program can apply via the Mawji Centre’s webpage and this year’s cohort will launch on September 22. 

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